a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Walkies and not walkabouts

Monday, July 07, 2003

Walkies and not walkabouts

I still think that probably the prong collar is having a little bit of an effect maybe. I know that sometimes it pinches her because when she really yanks (like 7 or 8 times in a row when walking by a fence with a dog behind it) she throws in a little extra yelp. It feels more like she's trying to figure out how hard she can pull before it crosses the line from uncomfortable to painful.

I almost think I'm having more luck with the walking-into-her method (how many methods have I tried?). That's where, when she starts to get ahead of me, I just step firmly in her direction, expecting her to back off to get out of my way, and if she's not out of my way, I run into her. If she's *really* not paying attention because she's too distracted by something, she sometimes gets her feet under mine while I'm stepped and gets her toes stepped on. I am not attempting to do this. I am just attempting to maintain control of my space and of where the Walk Entourage is heading.

She did a lot of tugging this evening and also a lot of very nice walking not too far in front on a loose leash.

Not gone walkabout
Sometime last week (before the yard guys came), I drove home, pulled into the driveway, and was greeted by Jake before I had completely parked. No, he's not supposed to be loose in the front yard.

A couple of times before, I've found the far (less-used) side gate open, and so I checked it again. Wide open. I don't understand it. I believe the preceding weekend my dad and I had unloaded some bricks through that gate, but since he's the one that got called the last time my dogs got out and had to come over to round them up, we were both pretty careful about the gate. Plus I've been trying to double-check it every time the yard guys are here.

I don't know how or why the gate comes open. I'd hate to have to put a lock on it to keep traffic over on the other side, but if it's somehow coming open in the wind (seems unlikely--new gate, new latch), this is going to keep happening.

Seeing Jake, I leaped out of the car in a rush of panic about Tika--who, you might recall, likes to escape at the slightest gap in your defense of the gate or door if she sees something exciting (cat/squirrel/imagined cat/squirrel) and charge out across the roads. I started calling her name immediately, before I even got to the gate. I stuck my head through the open gate, calling her frantically.

Like a sweet little girl, she came charging around from the back yard, where she was supposed to be, to greet me cheerfully. I was so relieved; thought that maybe she hadn't discovered the open gate.

Yesterday, coming back from our walk, I passed a couple of our neighbors (who don't see my dogs much at all). They sort of pointed and nodded, and one said, "THAT's the dog who was hanging around here the other day!" I mentioned the open gate episode, and they said yes, maybe that was it, because she really just hung around right in that area, mostly near that side of my house, and was a very nice well-behaved dog.


So she DID get out, but (unlike our late lamented Sheba) did not have any real desire to go exploring. I guess that's a relief.

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