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South Africa are playing Uruguay in the SWC. I was more interested in watching Yanky dreaming, legs and paws twitching … the one foot even waving as he was caught in the throes of sleep.

I am fascinated at the size of his paws. At one month shy of his second birthday, I am assured that he won’t get any bigger. But looking at his paws, I can’t help wonder if he will. He is huge. Sitting in front of me, he can almost lick my face. I just have to bend over slightly and he’s there. He stands a good couple centimeters taller than his sister.

After a day of walking round a semi-busy shopping mall on a public holiday and then an afternoon of hectic obedience work, concentrating on our tone and getting things right the first time, I sat down to dinner and was once again amazed at the challenge that Yanky was throwing at me.

In a way, I am glad that I don’t remember much of my class with Fayth. Because I don’t have anything to compare to. It’s like a totally clean slate. But at the same time, I don’t remember battling with Fayth like I do Yanky.

Back then, we had the distraction of three dogs running round loose – Jazz, Gunner and an old fat Labrador whose name I keep forgetting. This time, we have a large cat that occasionally appears. I shudder at the thought of Yanky’s behaviour, had we had loose dogs to contend with.

But then, it’s only been three days. We were introduced on Monday and yesterday they moved in. Remarkable progress if you think about it.

The only thing that Mandla and I are concerned about is Yanky’s tendency to pull on the lead. Some of it is distraction. A lot of it is that he needs to know where Yala is. He also prefers to be a leader and does not like seeing his sister ahead of him. And then it is just general willfulness.

Mandla put him in a haltee* for a few minutes, to try it as a possible solution. The pulling stopped, but now that I think of it, it was like he became despondent and unhappy. I am actually not keen on using it on him again and will only try it at a very last resort.

But all in all, considering his size and potential strength, he is just that – a gentle giant.

* A haltee is like a halter for a horse and is used to focus the dog on the task at hand. It is not a type of muzzle.

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