Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Bad Girl

with 5 comments

First off, I’d like to admit that I am feeling at fault for failing to successfully train our dog, Delilah, to come when called, to stop barking on command, to treat our cat, Pequenita, with respect, and most importantly, to stay on our property. After months of confining her to a leash, hoping it might condition her to the boundaries we want her to respect, late last week I began to give her a few opportunities to be free of the leash when outside with me.

She did spectacularly well for two days. Yesterday, she failed miserably. As a result, all privileges have been revoked, effective immediately. The urge to follow natural instinct is strong with this one.

It’s not so much the fact that she strayed from our property, it’s that she distinctly snubbed me when doing it. She sure knows how to push my buttons. I was furious.

IMG_3231eAfter I unclipped her leash, she walked with me for a few steps, then bolted ahead and made a mad dash and a left turn, ignoring my calls. When I caught up to where she had made that abrupt turn, I was able to spot her out in our neighbor’s field, sniffing around in the snow.

I called to her and she looked up at me, but then quickly returned to whatever scent on the ground was commanding her attention. When I tried again, she gave me a stare that spoke volumes. Then she turned and sprinted for the woods at the edge of the field.

It was that moment that felt the most disrespectful. I called and whistled to no avail. I got in my car and drove around the border of the woods. There was no sign of her, so I came back and went to work cleaning the paddocks. Delilah failed to reappear.

She had been gone two hours when I finally heard her barking at something near our front door. I was already back in the house having lunch by that point. I opened the door and called her in. To her credit, that time she came, probably because she was thirsty. I gave her the cold shoulder for the rest of the day.

At least her high intelligence helped her to recognize that I was unhappy with her. I have no idea if she understands why. Hopefully, she will get a clue when she realizes she is back to being on a leash again, every time we set foot outside the door.










Written by johnwhays

March 3, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. Looking at her photo, she seems to be saying, but you set me free what else did you expect? Have you tried practicing with an extended leash? That said, our dog Michelle also reverts to playing with the cat even after having been scratched badly and bitten a number of times. You’d think she’d learn her lesson. And when she sees a stray dog, she will chase it unless I can anticipate her reaction, but, once the chase has begun, she is deaf to the world. We have also had one episode with an escaped chicken although she now seems to be getting the idea that they are friends. In many ways, the two dogs are quite similar. Michelle will heel, though. She also prefers women to men, which we think may have had to do with some type of early experience, too.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    March 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    • Delilah seems to be responding well to the command to “SIT!” which I think is currently our version of heel. We did work with an extended leash for quite a while. My sense is that she always felt the drag and knew she wasn’t free, so not much difference from a shorter leash.
      Our main hesitation about getting chickens is figuring out how we will teach Delilah they are off limits to her.
      I have a strong belief that she knows she disobeyed me. Her behavior since that day has been noticeably compliant, sweet, and well-behaved, as if in compensation. That’s not enough to earn her the chance to run free from me, though. We’ll work our way back to that slowly.


      March 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm

  2. Soooooo frustrating! I know exactly what “stare-then-run” game you are talking about. We had some success with Bubba when we took him to Katie K-9 training in Hugo. She uses pinch collars which have pros and cons. We find he did pretty well on-leash and even off if we had the collar on and practiced regularly. When we don’t practice and he’s not on-leash he reverts back very quickly to his own ways. He is quite stubborn and I wonder if it is possible to train all dogs to obey off-leash…we put in many hours with so-so results. But he is good with kids, so we tend to overlook some other flaws since that is our #1 concern here.


    March 4, 2015 at 10:36 am

    • Training just never stops, does it? They have no difficulty reverting to their instincts. It’s frustrating to think I have to put forth so much (non-stop) energy to squelch her natural inclinations. I am contemplating the use of electronic devices to assist me in my next attempt to teach her the behaviors we seek.
      Like you, we appreciate the good moments enough to be willing to overlook some flaws.


      March 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      • Best of luck and May The Force Be With You! 😉


        March 5, 2015 at 7:37 am

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