Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘runaway dog

Four Tattletales

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Our lovely dog, Delilah, took advantage of Cyndie’s decision to allow some time off leash in the afternoon yesterday, while she shoveled away the accumulation of Wednesday night’s snow. After a couple of successes, in which Delilah returned to Cyndie when called, there came the great escape once again.

Out of sight in a blink.

Cyndie hollered and whistled for Delilah. She walked through the barn and found the horses in the paddock, looking at her while she made the ruckus. They’d witnessed this routine enough times before that they knew what was going on. Cyndie decided to drive the roads in search of our wandering canine. She hiked up to the house to get the truck keys, but was stymied by a dead battery.

That’s an ongoing occasional drama for another time.

She went back up to the house to get her car to widen her search. Down the road, when she spotted a flock of turkeys luxuriating in a field, she knew she was in the wrong spot. No dog in that vicinity.

As she returned to our place and pulled into the driveway, she spotted all four horses, now in the hay-field, lined up and facing one specific direction. They didn’t even turn to look at her, as is their usual behavior, but rather, maintained their intense stare in that single direction. They were clearly signaling a message for Cyndie, compelling her to look at what they were seeing. She turned her head to follow their gaze and immediately spotted the bright orange flash of Delilah’s vest across the street, in the neighbor’s field, past the snowmobile trail leading into the woods.

Cyndie described how it was the distinct posture of each of the horses which made the message so clear. They were not lolling around aimlessly, or relaxed in the stance of a nap, but instead were straight and tall, flexed as if on a specific mission. She would totally have missed that Delilah was in that direction, had it not been for their help.

The horses had totally ratted out our dog on the lam.

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Written by johnwhays

January 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

Disappearing Delilah

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My inability to master the art of dog training is revealed in our lovely canine’s increasing confidence in behaving any way she pleases. Just two days ago, I was lamenting our failure thus far to stop Delilah’s behavior of jumping up on people engaged in hugs during greetings or departures.

She just wants to participate in the hugs, of course, but her nails on unprepared backsides are not something we feel our guests should have to deal with when they are otherwise occupied. Both Cyndie and I recognize that we have failed to gain the upper hand on demanding compliance with our instructions. The formula of training by way of rewarding good behavior, as opposed to a focus on punishing bad behavior, evades us when it comes to the current challenges.DSCN4015e

Cyndie has been doing a heroic effort of conditioning Delilah to stay close to us when we allow her the freedom of being off-leash, frequently calling her back for check-ins and rewarding her with treats when she promptly complies. It had been working well for quite some time, until I distracted Cyndie in the barn yesterday when I sought her assistance installing my first half-sized slow-feeder box in Cayenne’s stall.

That brief period of our distraction from Delilah’s whereabouts led to the hunter girl wandering off in search of irresistible prey beyond the borders of our property. Cyndie didn’t want to give up without a fight and scoured our trails, blowing her whistle and calling Delilah’s name.

She even drove the truck in a search of the roadways immediately surrounding us. The only thing that came out of that effort was a texted greeting from George, after he saw her drive past their place. Once again, Delilah was in the “dog house” with us. From past experience, I knew our dog would eventually show up at one of the doors, happy as could be, covered in burrs, and clueless to the level of transgression she had pulled off.

After a long spell, just as I expected, Delilah did return home. We treated her matter of factly, allowing her a long drink at her water bowl, after which, Cyndie took her outside to remove the burrs.

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I don’t know how, but she seemed to recognize our displeasure. Her behavior for the rest of the day and evening was akin to her having put herself on a “time-out” all on her own. She didn’t demonstrate any of her usual playful behaviors, repeatedly seeking attention by bringing a ball or other toy to us, or simply walking up and putting her head in our laps.

She demurely laid low the whole time. I can only hope she was using that time to think about what she had done wrong, and was feeling entirely remorseful. Sadly, the other possibility is that she was just so exhausted from having had such a fantastic getaway that she needed the rest and was saving up her energy for the next opportunity to do it over again.

Trust me, she is back on full-time leash protocol again, and will be for the foreseeable future, whether she understands the correlation, or not.

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Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2015 at 6:00 am