Health, beauty and fitness writer Lucia Ferarri – who has worked for Harpers Bazaar and London’s Evening Standard – continues her new puppy blog series. This month, Momo has been busy attending puppy classes, joining in scrums and making friends…
Momo’s love of rugby was established very early after weekly squad training and spectating at my son’s Hammers rugby club, and also at his school in Barnes who happily allow dogs and puppies pitch-side providing they are on a lead.
Obviously, this involved quite a lot of intense lead pulling and straining of the neck accompanied by Darth Vadar breathing which I now know how to control with a pocketful of dog treats. Instead of lip glosses and Extra chewing gum, all my jeans and coat pockets contain Nature’s Best chicken treats and a rolled-up emergency poo bag.
Momo’s cheeky scrum half disposition continued in his puppy training classes with the brilliant Nina Bondarenko. I love this lady for several reasons – her name for starters is as brilliant as her Superpuppy classes on Wednesday mornings in a leafy church hall in St John’s Wood. Also, her approach is wonderful – a combination of relaxed, upbeat, no-nonsense Australian know-how with lightning quick reflexes which provide quick and impressive results whether it’s a beautifully behaved Rottweiler or a Bichon Frise.
Nina’s background is in fact training working, protection and detection dogs – she’s also a breeder and judge of Rottweilers. Hell, she’d be brilliant for teaching me how to keep in check any cockiness fluffy little Momo may develop.
All her training is based on rewards and fun. Thankfully not an old-fashioned dog whistle in sight! When someone recommended I buy a whistle to control Momo, I couldn’t help but feel I would look ridiculous controlling something the size of a Build-a-Bear with Von Trapp whistle commands.
A couple of weeks on, I was definitely glad I had a specialist trainer on-board to monitor Momo’s ego as he soon moved from rugby player to rockstar when he started accompanying my daughter to her all girls prep school.
Morning drop-off made him feel like Mick Jagger as he would be greeted by a swarm of screaming girls all clamouring for a stroke or a cuddle.
Help arrived in the shape of shaggy-locked, Cavapoo Archie whose dishevelled curls aren’t too dissimilar to Robert Plant back in the day. It was instant bonding as the two little guys released themselves from the girls’ clutches to kick back in the outside seating area of the local Gail’s. First friend found!