Friday, August 1, 2008

Invisible Fence, Day Three

Okay, so today didn't go so well. We live a long way from anywhere, and we try to keep to a minimum our trips to stores, etc. Blame Al Gore, therefore, for the following story.

Mimi has one leash, which is short (4 feet). That was an deliberate decision when we first kitted her out; it's that much harder to influence an exuberant puppy/adolescent with a longer leash. When we realized we were supposed to get a longer leash for the underground electric fence training, we put it on the mental list of things to get "the next time someone's going to a store..." Which will be this afternoon, when I go to Montrose on business. But I needed to do my part in training and exercising Mimi this morning.

The training was going well. She hesitates when approaching the white flags, and has refused to approach white flags she's been trained to back away from. So far, so good. But we have over 1100 feet of underground electric fencing here, which means a lot of white flags. Meanwhile, she's super-rammy as a result of less exercise in the past two days, which only compounds the problem we surely had after two days of her being kenneled. I walked her, did some training, walked her some more, and then let her play with her blue tire. which is suspended from a nice springy branch of a centrally-located ash tree.

Have you seen the viral email "diary of the household dog & cat?" Don't know who wrote it, but it's pretty funny. The dog's response to everything is "_______ My favorite thing!" (e.g., "Breakfast! My favorite thing!" "Car ride! My favorite thing!") until you get to "Bath. Bummer." The cat, on the other hand, starts "It's Day #987 of captivity," plots his escape by weaving around the owner's legs as he's at the top of the stairs, and comments, "The dog is allowed to leave the house, but then voluntarily returns. He is obviously retarded." I laughed for days remembering that last line.

Well, Mimi would surely write "Playing tug-of-war with the blue tire! My favorite thing!" if she kept a diary. I suspect some of the other entries wouldn't be quite so benign, but that really is her big treat. But, if you can imagine it, it's hard to let her do her leaping & playing while keeping her on the short leash attached to the choke chain. All those contortions don't help. So the following things happened on my watch this morning: she slipped the choke chain, she bit me (TOTALLY NOT HER FAULT -- my hand was too close to the blue tire), she ran off, and yes, she ran through the underground electric fence field. The electric collar is still shrouded (it's not yet been three days) sop there was no electric shock and there wasn't much I could do. She did hesitate at the white flags, for what that's worth.


I will get the longer leash this afternoon. Barn door after escaped horse? I guess, but we'll need it tomorrow when we do distraction training.

"Initial stages of underground electric fence training! Not my favorite thing!"

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