Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Tails" from the Doghouse ...
Escape attempt #2...
Wandering around the cemetery today I took the leash off Barnaby to let him do the "Born Free" bit. He responded well to this freedom, he returned to us after no more than 20 minutes of screaming, gobbled a treat and fled again. Once he'd tired himself out, he jogged along in front of us until we got to the exit. He stand some trees that needed urgent investigation, so we stood and waited, then called and he back - to us - then past us! Then set off at a fair clip down a lane, eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. We yelled and shouted, then shouted and yelled - made no difference, the bloody dog set off across a field with the easy kind of lope that indicated he could keep this up until he hit Mexico.
I set off in pursuit, having asked Management to go home and fetch the car. I walked the length of the lane, only sign of dog was huge paw prints in snow. I followed these across the field and on nearing the far fence, spotted the big galoot chasing horses! I climbed the fence carefully, it was barbed wire! I fell off it carelessly, flinging out my hand and inserting barb off wire into hand - I said "Botheration" without using any of those letters. I scrambled through an area of bush unexplored since time immemorial and through a gap in the fence - where I fell over again. I looked up to see horses and dogs tail disappearing over the hill. So I struggled to my feet in the blood encrusted and set off again. Barnaby was having great fun nipping at horses heels, they in turn were having great fun trying to kick his head off! I called to him - not an ounce of notice given - I pleaded, begged, cajoled and entreated - complete waste of time. Eventually he tired and set off for the farm, stopping on the way to explore a large shed - it was here that I managed to trap him, eventually he realized he was trapped and consented to be caught.
So just to set the record straight, I tore his head off then tore him apart limb from limb, once that was over, i tried to find a way out of the field. no such luck, everything that looked like a gate wasn't, including the man gate, eventually I sent him through a gap and I climbed over, just as the horses arrived and he set off for them again, thus pulling me off the top of the gate and headfirst into the deep and crisp and even. I clambered to my feet and whipping out me BBQ lighter, set him on fire and kicked to within an inch of his life - from the other side! - Once that was over we set off across the farmyard, with the beast of boundless energy thinking was all so much fun and bounding up and down like squirrel on caffeine down the lane - just as Management arrived with the car - i bundled him in and sat in the passenger seat - seething and sweating and vowing vengeance on all things canine from this day forth ...
Now, before anyone starts here - I know, I know that chasing horses is going to get him killed or seriously injured, quite apart from upsetting the horses, also the guy who owns the said horses is the guy who shoots all the unwanted dogs (I might know of one!) beavers and anything else that moves come to that. So Barnaby's "born free moments" will not be happening again for a very long time! and before we do I shall probably clamp him, like a car!
Frankly, I'm just glad he wasn't kicked to death, or had a couple of ribs kicked outside his insides. Clearly he cannot be trusted to return, so he's not gonna be given the opportunity to wander off. Managements back at work next week, so training will be my full time occupation and what with puppy training school and that, I hope we shall see improvement ... "Relieved of Souris" ...

I realize after yesterdays post that some people may be concerned about possible cruelty to animals as stated. I wish to reassure all those concerned that no dog was harmed during the writing of such rubbish - not after the last time - oh, you wanna know what that was? OK
In my youth I was taken home by a slightly older woman, on arrival she plonked me down and said she was "going to slip into something more comfortable", she returned wearing a semi fastened dressing gown and announced, "Martyn, you can do anything you like" - Boy was she surprised when I sacrificed her poodle ...

“Tails” from the Doghouse
“If you mess with my dog, I’ll break out a level of crazy that’ll make your nightmares seem like a happy place …!”
Today was Barnaby’s first day at Puppy School! It was a success – if you count success as whining, barking, lunging at other dogs – for the whole hour, that is!
We arrived at the appointed time and place, good start, and I managed to decant Barnaby from the car by the simple expedient of opening the door at the critical moment and he “wall-of-deathed” his way around the inside of the SUV. Once he hit the ground, he immediately launched himself off again, which at least made it easier to turn him, not being able to dig his heels in you see? We fought our way over to the pee patch – he won – and jammed his nose into every bit of “yellow snow” within sight. With mat under my arm, spare lead jammed in my pocket, bag of treats and “tug” toy in other hand, we took the back way in. The door opened into a small storage area, I opened the second door and was treated to the sight of a long hall, maybe 30’wide by 200’. One small dog was attended by 2 men older than me, they eyed me dog suspiciously. I chose a seat well away from everyone else and plonking down me mat, bade Himself repose upon it – no chance! I sat on the chair and attempted to engage Himself in the Sit – which lasted for about 2 seconds before a Lady appeared with some kind of Spaniel – Barnaby goes berserk, whining and barking and lunging. I just get somewhat settled when a guy comes in with a German Shepherd – cue second berserker attack.
By now I’m sweating as I haven’t had chance to get me coat off, I clip a standard collar onto Himself, attach leash and detach 8 meters of best German retractable in preparation for the class. Just in time for the door to open and in comes a couple with what appears to be a skinny black rat on a leash – Barnaby wants to greet him so sets off, I grip the leash and find out the major problem with nylon leashes – they burn! I haul errant dog back crying (me - not him!) and plonk Himself on the mat – I offer a treat to take his mind off things – he ignores it – then me.
The Senior Drill Instructor probably welcomed us, I couldn’t hear it over pitiful whining, and endeavored to keep Himself quiet – fat chance! And set up the first exercise, The Sit. For this I had to get Himself to stand, so I encouraged him by saying, “Barnaby, stand” – Apparently what he heard was, “Barnaby, fly off your mat, crash into my legs then hurtle across the room and eat the Spaniel” – I hauled the barking mad critter back and bade him sit – which having used the chair to beat him semi-conscious, was achieved. For this he got a small piece of something that smells disgusting but he seems to like, and a ‘Good Boy!’ which he took to mean “Savage the German Shepherd” and promptly set off again.
This was how we went on, the instructor setting up the exercise, me sitting on seat trying to restrain Himself and figure out how to get his attention so we might at least have a go.
After 45 minutes I was wet with sweat, even though I’d managed to get me coat off, Barnaby was an emotional wreck, lying on the floor (off his mat!) panting wildly but still game to whine and uttering the odd miserable bark. After class was dismissed, the Instructor came over, “I think he settled a bit towards the end” we looked down at the wild-eyed panting dog with the heaving sides. I refrained from saying, “Cos he’s knackered” even though it was true. When everyone had left, except the man that cleans up, I clipped on me best German and gathering my coat, mat and unused tug toy, departed for the car – via the yellow snow piles. We drove home in silence, I unloaded Himself and went in. Barnaby headed for the water bowl – I headed for the Scotch – we have to do this all over again next week …

Yesterday, as the day passed, I noticed a change in my view. First of all, one thing I didn't mention was the Instructor called my dog a "Bad dog" - I was a bit stunned at the moment and didn't respond as I should have done - by shoving her inside the crate with her bloody Welsh Corgi! - Barnaby isn't a bad dog - he's a dog that doesn't know any better - and nor do I - yet! We're both there for training, right?
Secondly, the sight of Barnaby lying on his side, heaving for breath and trying to whine was, after consideration, very distressing to me. He was simply over excited by a situation that he wasn't familiar with and worked himself up into such a state that he was exhausted.
I left him alone yesterday, in other words, there was no "homework" done. Today I took him for a two mile walk (me - walking two miles with no bar at the end - unheard of!) then let him rest for an hour. While he was doing that, I cleared the heated garage of cars and set up. One cup of salmon treats; one mat (dog for the use of) one tug toy (Dog & man for the use of) One old office chair (me for the use of!) Then off to fetch Himself, spent 15 mins giving him treats for every correct response (needs must buy more treats!) behaved perfectly, did all that was asked of him and for the first time ever, played with the tug toy.
I'm happy, me dogs happy (lying by me desk as I write - snoozing) and I see light at the end of the tunnel...
Today is a good day!

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