Rosie Millard: Thrifty living

Want to save a fortune? It's all in the training

Rather like a high-level diver precariously peering down from a wobbling board, I find myself in the black for the first time in at least five years. I keep checking my account, and worrying about when the next cheque is going to hit it, as if I expect the figures to suddenly veer back into OD status, where they have sat since around the turn of the century.

Interestingly, being in credit has made me far more thrifty than when I was 40 grand down. (Now that a week-long round of champagne celebrations is over). Indeed, I am renouncing costly temptation with more zeal than St Francis of Assisi. All those nice things which I used to fall for, I now see as a trap into revitalised debt, and do you know, I just don't have the energy any more to work my way out of it again. So I give up the morning muffin. I go home for a salad rather than hopping into Pret. I persuade Mr Millard to cook supper rather than ring for a pizza. And instead of doing anything excitingly Continental this summer we are going to Cornwall for a week. (Unless of course I can swing a free holiday, sorry, piece of travel journalism, which has become far more tricky to do now I have so many children.)

Anyway, now we have a family pet, a terrier puppy who revels in the glorious cross-populist name of Disney Mourinho, going abroad is not good, as until he has a pet passport we will have to leave him in kennels. Very costly.

On which subject, can I usher in the latest in my concurrent series of bourgeois exploitative targets? Let me introduce you to the Middle-Class Rip-Off #34 – the dog trainer. When I was young, nobody trained their dogs. We all had dogs, or at least a dog. They slept in baskets, they were walked on leads. They ate Pedigree Chum. That was it.

Nowadays, dogs still have baskets and leads and eat the same rubbish. But dogs these days must be trained. When I turn up with Disney M at the school gates, fervent dog owners line up to brainwash me. "Oh, you have a dog!" say mothers, fathers, teachers, even the lollipop man. Well, bingo for observation. After this comes the follow-up. "Are you getting it trained?" No, I say. I'm already half killing myself struggling to train four small human beings. I'm training the dog myself. They look at me as if I am out of my mind. "You? People don't train dogs any more. You need a professional. Because an untrained dog will take over the house. You need to show the dog who is boss!"

Well, I do that already, I say. If Disney Mourinho jumps up, I push him down. If he does something unspeakable on the kitchen floor, I slap him. Must I pay £90 for a six-week course to learn what seems to me to be information straight out of the School of Bleeding Obvious? Apparently, yes, I should. If you have a dog, you must admit you haven't got a clue, sign up for professional help and hand over your Mastercard.

"Oh, but puppy training is so marvellous!" is usually what comes next. The spokesperson for the day, who is clearly on some sort of commission, then runs through what goes on at these classes. It's always the same old shtick. Training courses are all about "psychologically entering the brain of the puppy", which I now learn is a pack animal, and teaching it that it is not the leader, but the runt of the pack.

Typical pearls you might glean from puppy training include these blinders. When you come home at night, do not enthusiastically greet the dog before saying hi to anyone else in your family. Well, call me sentimental, but obviously you don't start slobbering all over a dog before doing the same to your children, let alone Mr Millard. Unless you are totally mad.

You should also stand in its basket, occasionally. Why? Who knows? "Treats", which you must spend a small fortune on, must be doled out at all times, and for ease kept in a handy pouch hooked on to your belt, in which you also must keep the poop bags, a brush, a leash and probably also the pet passport. You must feed your dog after everyone else has eaten. And don't let it sleep in your bed. That's it. The rudimentary commandments of contemporary dog training. Read this column, and pass on the highlights to your nearest dog owner. Within a week, we'll have brought the pup training world to its knees.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Tax Manager / Accountant

    £35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...

    Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - City of London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - Cit...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Debt Collector - Multiple Roles

    £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks