Sunday, 22 February, 2015
Did I ever tell you guys the story of Bertje, the dog I had when Martin and I met? I may have done, if so, just scroll past, cause I’m telling it again.
Bertje came from the rescue centre, and when I got him I was still living in student digs. They said he was 5, but he turned out to be a lot older than that, probably about 10, if several vets’ best guesses were anything to go by. I lived in Delft and used to walk him in a park behind the flat we were in.
Now Bertje was very protective of me (as Martin once experienced when in the early days he came to see me when I was ill and aul’ Bertje would not let him near me at all), and despite the fact that he was severely dog aggressive to some dogs, he was a good boy.
Bertje and I went to general obedience classes, where he learned how to be slightly less aggressive towards certain types of dog (he really really hated Scottish Collies) and one of the things I found quite endearing was that his recall (when he wasn’t storming off to kill a Scottish Collie) was pretty bloody good, but he absolutely refused to be sent away.
Anyway, we always hung around after classes to watch the “police” (private protection) dog training, aul’ Bertje and I. I had no plans to enroll him, but it was good fun to see how these dogs (which included a small herd of chihuahuas!) did their work.
One afternoon I was walking him in the park, it was getting dark already and at some point a man steps out from behind some bushes with his trousers down to his knees and his unmentionables ready for action. Purely instinctively I shouted “Bertje, stellen die vent!”, which was the command given to the dogs in police dog training to attack the guy in the suit.
And to my great surprise, Bertje went.
Despite the fact that he would never obey if I sent him forward, away from me, he pulled up his lips, bared all his teeth and went for the guy. And that’s the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone run with their trousers on their knees.
Aul’ Bertje got some super treats of course. He learned what to do simply by observing other dogs and reacted when he was needed. He was A Good Boy