To the true dognostic, the average dog is a being of minimal intelligence, like a mollusc or a traffic warden. It is, therefore difficult to explain the devious and cunning attempts by Dizzy, The Tervueren from Hell, to exact retribution for my success in training her to perform her less attractive duties outside. In short, she behaves as though she's paying me back for getting her house broken by getting mine broken as well.

It isn't just her habit of going from the lounge to the kitchen by way of a sudden spectacular leap through the serving-hatch, scattering expensive dinner-ware in all directions. Nor is it her desire to stalk the two goldfish who live in the muddy pond in the patio, and the great smears of black sludge she leaves on the carpet afterwards. I won't even mention her attempts to become intimate with my eighty-year-old mother, although I must admit to enjoying the expression on the face of my Dutch friend Theo when she quietly placed one jaw on either side of his hope for future generations and waited.

No, it's more the aggressive affection that wears you out, the knowledge that every return home involves hysterical yelping leaps, and, worse, an assessment of the damage done in our absence, as though to punish us for leaving her with only a lethargically flatulent Boxer for company. Actually, it must be admitted that the said f.b., Toots, was much the same in her adolescence, so perhaps, as the Dragon Lady says, she'll grow out of it.

In the meantime, however, following the excavation of the hall carpet, the Dragon Lady ruled that Dizzy must not in future be left in the house unsupervised. She should instead, if all else failed, be brought with us in the car and left, with one of our grandson's shoes to chew, while we completed our business. In vain did I point out that

(a) Our grandson has two feet and

(b) the last time she suggested this it referred to Toots' late father Honky Cat, a bloody eedjit if ever there was one, who had the same vandalistic tendencies when left at home alone, and so was taken in the Volvo to Monkstown dog-show and in one half an unsupervised hour consumed the roof-cloth and half the steering wheel, but where was I? yes, anyway, we tried it the other night with Dizzy.

Do you know the price of a set of seat belts for a Volvo? I am assured that another dose or two of parazone will fix the smell, but in the meantime, does anybody know where I can find a good home for an over-affectionate Tervueren? Or, indeed a slightly used Dragon Lady, one careful owner, never raced or rallied.


An increasing number of Irish judges are being invited to judge on the Continent. It is a matter of concern to those of us who favour closer European ties that so few of our judges are able to converse with foreign exhibitors in their native tongue, relying on grunts and gestures to convey their wishes. A very few phrases, memorised and politely delivered in the appropriate language, will do wonders to cement international understanding. To this end, Dognostics Corner introduces a new feature, the Travelling Judge's Phrase book.

This week, French.

Dog or Bitch? C'est 100f pour le Premier Prix.

How old is your dog? Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

Walk your dog straight down and back Votre visage ressemble a la derriere d'un gorille

Do a triangle please Un soixante-neuf, s'il vous plait

What a beautiful expression Merde

Well done! Les culottes a bas!

Thankyou for inviting me Ou est le bar?

Bonne chance!