Our backyard fence installation last spring has helped Bella to exercise and keep her girlish figure. Although Bella attended a dog obedience class when she was younger, it seems that the only commands she remembers include “Sit” and “Lie Down.” “Fetch” or “Bring It” and especially “Come” seem to have been lost in the translation. She may respond, depending on her mood and surroundings, but for the most part the only two ways Bella will come when in the yard involve food rewards and the mention of Ron’s name. I understand the treat motivation and do find it sweet that Bella has such affection for her human daddy, but really, the mere mention of his name and she obeys?
Bella played with an old tennis ball for many months until it met its demise under the lawn mower. When my cousin Joan visited last summer she bought Bella a new ball. This one had feet and a squeak mechanism. At first Bella wasn’t interested, but she soon became fast friends with this toy. Again, the only reason she will return the ball to me in this fetch game is to retrieve a snack morsel from me. Bella has exhibited a love of running, whether a ball is being chased or she just feels like moving. I believe this exercise will keep her slim and benefit her overall health. My first dog Too-Sweet (a dog who always came when called) used to accompany me on trips to a park in Providence RI. There she would run happily and occasionally try to herd the softball players. She was half Old English Sheepdog and genetically programmed to do this. Bella also likes to run in a circular fashion. Since I am usually the only one outside with her, she runs around me. Having no idea of her ancestry, I just assume she is showing off her ability to speed around the yard in an effort to please me. She does. Occasionally after much galloping about Bella collapses to the ground and relaxes.
Our bird feeders attract the squirrel population and they in return attract Bella. Every time the door is opened and Bella is invited to go outside she first races to chase any squirrels that might be lurking around the feeders. The rodents always win, but Bella does get close. They scatter under the fence or up a tree and seem to not mind the exercise either.
Bella is extremely jealous of any other animals having food when she does not. My usually sweet and kind dog Bella will attack the cats should they try to get to a scrap of food before she has a chance to scarf it up. The above caricature shows Bella preparing to engage the squirrel in a game of tag and then reward herself with his walnut. Maybe I have trained her well.