We finally trained the pups to stay in the backyard even when the gate is open.
The book says such training is accomplished by making your pet believe that any time he does anything you disapprove of he will be caught. In effect, we humans should seem to be everywhere all the time.
Even with a family totaling 10 this isn’t easy, but we made it one Sunday morning. We put the pups in the yard and went on the paper route without noticing the gate was open.
When we returned an hour later we saw Abe and Dink about a half a block from home. I stopped the car and both boys jumped out brandishing papers and scolding the pups.
By the time the pups flew into the front yard I was out of the car waiting for them. They dashed into the backyard with such speed that none of us got close enough to even lay a paper on them.
Since then they have stayed in the house or in the backyard, and nothing could tempt them to explore further.
Great? Well, not completely.
Occasionally we have to take them out, like to the vet for their shots. Those first visits were relatively simple. They were small enough to carry easily, and we cornered them in the house.
Last week it was rabies shot time. Abe and Dink were in the yard. We planned to call them into the house, corner them, and then carry them out to the car.
The little kids were so thrilled about the dogs taking a ride that they ran out to tell them about it. The dogs apparently weren’t so thrilled.
Impossible as it may seem, those six-months-old animals must already associate the Vet with shots because when the kids said “to the Vet’s” both dogs left vapor trails as they shot under the shed on the back lot.
We spent thirty minutes trying to get them out. They ignored the coaxing of the kids. They shook a bit but refused to respond to Bill’s voice of authority. They wouldn’t even come out for the meat scraps I offered them.
Bill decided that action would be more effective than words. He turned the hose on them. That did it. Fortunately the back door was open. They ran through it without even looking.
Once they were in the house cornering them was no problem. Carrying them was something else. Boy have they grown. They now weigh about 50 pounds each.,
While we drove to the vet’s, both of our brave watch dogs sat in the car and shook. They didn’t even yelp when they got their shot. They just sat there in their puddles.
On our way home we decided the dogs wouldn’t be so afraid if they could ride somewhere other than to the vet’s. So we took them to visit their “grandparents.” (The parents of the couple who own the collie that is our dog’s mother). The dogs recovered their watch dog tendencies and barked at the people.
By the time we stopped at the grocery both Abe and Dink looked so menacing that the boy wouldn’t load the groceries in the car.
But, when we returned home, both pups looked at the front yard and refused to get out of the car. Because they loved to ride? I don’t think so. I think they still remember the morning when everybody seemed to come from everywhere to chase them home.
When we finally managed to get their feet on the ground, they took off like race horses, passed the front door, and skidded to a stop at the back door where they flopped down and panted with relief.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her columns, Back Around the House and All Around the House. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.