Rodders can be a little angel and come back when called or he can be a complete nightmare and go deaf on me and refuse to return, this is usually when there are more exciting things to be doing like saying hello to other dogs.
One of the joys of the 5 o'clock club is that the dogs all get on and have a great time playing and running after each other. The other dog owners are all great and seem to know every dog in the area so can warn me if there are any particularly aggressive dogs in the vicinity. If I have warning I can make sure that Rodders is engaged in something either with me or one of his play mates and know that he will not run off.
A week or so ago there was a lady walking two jack russell's along the opposite edge of the rugby field, one on a lead and one off and I was warned that they didn't socialise too well with other dogs at all, especially the one on the lead. Rodders seemed to be OK and was staying close so, foolishly, I didn't put him back on his lead.
All of a sudden he spotted them and ran off towards them to say hello, taking Higgins with him. Higgins came back when called but Rodders just kept going. I was walking towards him and calling him but he was still running towards them. Luckily he had enough sense to know that these dogs were not friendly and he backed off. The little horror still wouldn't come back to me though and went off to have a sniff around the rugby posts. When I caught up with him he got put on his lead and marched back across the field where he was made to sit rather than interact with his friends.
Last week we saw them again and they were quite a distance away walking along the fence around the main rugby pitch. Again I didn't put Rodders on his lead, you would think that I would learn.
Rodders was playing happily when one of the other dogs, Teddy, spotted them and started heading towards them with Rodders happily trotting off after him. Teddy came back when called, Rodders didn't. By this stage the two dogs were about three quarters of the way along the fence and the woman walking them could see that Rodders was not coming back despite me calling him. She picked up the more aggressive dog and walked briskly away with her other dog following but stopping to sniff every now and again, he wasn't in any rush to go home it would seem. Rodders said hello to the other dog, looked at me and decided he would rather follow them.
I kept calling him to come and was walking towards him all the time. I am aware that running towards him isn't a good idea and I know that walking away from him works when there are no other dogs around but I was worried about him actually getting off the field, especially as this was traffic side and not the Nicky Line side.
By this time I had got almost the full width of the field and the woman was off the field and on the path still trying to get her other dog to come to her. All of a sudden Rodders hearing came back and he realised that I was calling him. He stopped, turned, looked at me and came trotting over as though he had been listening all the time.
Again he was put back on his lead and marched back across the field and made to sit at my feet while his pals played.