Saturday, September 12, 2015

Amy and Andy: caught ya!

I have GOT to get these two into some sort of agility or ball game or something. They are incredibly agile. Today I found out how Andy has been stealing the cat chow. It sits on a buffet - about 40" off the ground. He simply jumped up ON to the top of the buffet! No leap, no start, just POP! And he is on top of the buffet chowing down on cat food!

Of course, that got a good response from me, you bet. Ha. Anyway . . . at some point we will conquer these issues.

Today I also took a page from their book. Having watched them, and trying to work with how they think, respond, and work - we went off-leash on the run. And they had such FUN!

But, pretty scary, right? After all, they've only been home here a few weeks, right? Yup. All true!

But here is what I've watched. In their first days in our yard, we watched them check out the fence, looking at it. We could see in their look that the thought was "Hi fence, no problem! I OWN you!". And, a couple days later they demonstrated exactly that. And then did it a couple more times. So, we increased our vigilance, and changed our patterns a bit to not offer temptation and opportunity.

But they still had opportunity. Every day. If they WANTED to run, they were certainly capable of it. At any time. If they had been our old hound, Sara? They would have been gone and gone and gone and gone. Without either replacing our fence, or walking them on leash whenever outside, they could escape if they wanted. And we have to know that they knew that.

But, when they did jump the fence, the did NOT try to run away. They just explored the yard a bit.

So, today I decided to give things a bit of a test. I loaded Amy up with the e-collar and GPS unit. Put on their leashes. And then walked out the door and told them to come along.

Keep in mind, I've been watching them closely. They do NOT like strange places. When I take them someplace in the car, they do not want to get out when we get there. They are pretty smart about guarding the car - they haven't done that until the situation warranted. Like at a store - they have not alerted to the many people around. But the other day I was harvesting sumac at night on the Cisco parklands. Some people walked by - and they alerted. That level of discrimination is pretty amazing, if you ask me.

But back to the place thing - so I've seen they aren't keen on going adventuring outside the "known". And they much prefer to be moving along under their own guidance. Independent, yet also they strongly want to please.

So, let's see if we can work with that. Let them wander the front yard (not fenced), dragging their leashes. And, they wandered across the street. Ok - call them back. And they immediately respond and come home. Great! We ARE in business! Actually, I did the same thing a 2nd time, to validate the 1st. Got the same response. When they got farther away, they were more willing to come quickly when summoned. Good. Because we are STILL working on simple "stay" commands!

And I said to myself "allright, let's take this out into the field". We went out on our run route to where we have big fields around. They were on leash until then. I drop the leashes, and sprint away on the bicycle. They run to keep up! Excellent!

We went through a couple of miles of similar exercises. Me sometimes going a bit farther. Sometimes I stayed a little closer - it depended on their focus. When they were focused on something other than me, I stayed close.

However, all in all, it was a VERY successful training session. They had much more fun than just a run on leash for a couple of miles. They got to enjoy the "doggie picture show" ("Smells At An Exhibition"). And they got to chase me. Definitely required more from them than usual. And they appreciated it.

I'm happy I get to actually ride a bit. They are happy they actually get to be real dogs for a bit. It works.

Not it is time for their dinner. C ya!

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