This weekend, I decided that now was the time for a very late (by 2 months) Chelsea Chop. As you may be aware, Anya loves to grab a piece of plant material and race off with it. This was therefore a possible recipe for her to have great fun. However, I have been working on the problem with her and I seem to have made a major break through.
So, how have I done this? By introducing Anya to my new favourite gardening tool – a trug. Many of you may well use these anyway to carry removed plant material to your compost bin or otherwise dispose of it. I certainly had, but I had never through of it as a way of stopping Anya from playing the unwanted game of stealing plant material.
You may be aware of the concept of “Owning your Garden“. The trug just helps me concentrate this principle into a very focused location. I started by putting a few twigs at the bottom of the trug. When Anya showed interest in them, I used the Ouch command. When she moved away from the trug, I rewarded her with a treat. Once Anya showed that she had started to understand that the trug was mine, I put more plant material in the trug and repeated the same exercise.
We have now reached the stage where I can have long branches sticking out of the trug and Anya understands that anything in the trug is mine and she won’t steal them. This picture is not staged. She was not put in a sit stay beside the trug. I just happened to notice her sitting by the trug taking absolutely no interest in its contents.
So we seem to have found a method by which I can have Anya out in the garden and do large amounts of tidying. Make no mistake, if I put even the smallest amount of plant material on the ground, it would immediately be picked up and paraded around the garden as a trophy. However, she seems to understand that if something is in the trug it is MINE!