Rosie Millard: Thrifty living
Want to save a fortune? It's all in the training
Saturday 16 June 2007
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.
- 1 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof