Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Puppy love

May 9th, 2009

EVERY PUPPY is different when it comes to training. The command which Inka has had greatest difficulty in understanding and learning has been “Sit”. He seemed to think that he was being punished and every time I gave the order he almost crawled on his belly in apparent contrition.

No matter what was going on in his mind it was Caroline, our fish lady from Gourdon, who seems to have solved the problem. Each week when she calls she has a dog biscuit for Macbeth and as soon as he hears her van driving up he's sitting by the door in greedy anticipation. Inka quickly picked up the canine vibes that there is a wee treat every Tuesday morning, and the two of them are out of the door as soon as it is opened and making big cupboard love eyes at Caroline.

Macbeth has to sit before he gets his biscuit and Inka soon got the idea and sits down too. I don't know what's been wrong with my biscuits but if this is how to succeed in dog training, I'm all for it.

Last Monday the Doyenne and I took ourselves and the dogs off in the car, over the Cairn o' Mount and into darkest Aberdeenshire. It wasn't the best Bank Holiday weather but it was good to escape the tyranny of the telephone.

At the foot of the Cairn, on the Aberdeenshire side, at the turn-off for Aboyne we passed the vintage wooden AA telephone box. I can't think where there's another now, and thinking back to how often they were vandalised it's amazing this one has survived so well. As well as the familiar yellow AA logo it has “Glen Dye Box” and “Box 753” painted on its sides. I wonder if it's a listed building – perhaps it should be.

It was on then to Finzean and driving up the hill out of the village there's a splendid view off to the left over the Forest of Birse. It's a good place to walk dogs but we were headed off into the hinterland. You're soon down onto the South Deeside Road, and driving alongside the river we watched the salmon fishers gracefully casting their long lines over the water for the king of fish. Any fish they catch should be returned to the river under the conservation practise of  catch and release' which is intended to protect future salmon stocks by allowing more fish up to the headwaters to spawn.

Take the initial letters of six of the Angus glens – Prosen, Ogil, Lethnot, Isla, Clova and Esk and you get the word POLICE. Not life altering news, but it was a policeman who told me and it's the sort of thing you'd expect a policeman to know. And it's just a long enough story to round off this week's piece!

Written on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at 1:57 pm for Weekly.