Tuesday, January 12, 2010

dog days of winter

I thought I'd share a little of this and that today.

No pictures...

Ah bummer! I know you like the photos, but this way I can share without taking a ton of time loading photos onto blogger.

Fletcher, our dog, has been such a good dog for the past several weeks. He just seems to get it now about obedience. He listens and we reward him. He's a good boy and everybody's happy. He was especially having issues when I would take him for a walk around the Lymm dam. It's about a two mile walk, maybe a little less. I would take him off the lead, as many dog owners do there, and let him run. The more he exercises, the better it is for his health. He's a big dog and needs it. Besides, the vet said he could use a little weight loss action and we agreed. So anyway, the problem was that he would not "come" when called. He just got sidetracked with those squirrels and rabbits that it didn't matter if I said, "treat", he would just continue his running, digging, sticking his head in rabbit holes, etc. He came when he was good and ready. Probably the bigger problem was that we didn't know how to train him properly to do what we asked of him. Him being separated from us for 6 months during the initial part of our international move which was a crucial training time because he was so young, didn't allow us to train him the way we could have. (sorry about the run-on sentence)

Because he wasn't listening well for a time, we kept him on the lead as we walked around the dam. He would see all manner of dogs in all their glorious freedom and pull us to be able to play with said dogs, and we would just keep on walking or visit for a moment. I felt badly for him. He just wanted to be a dog and be able to run and play and dig and hunt. So I gave in about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I was ready to work with him to see how he would do. I had treats in my pocket, a dog whistle that I had been using to get him to come to me for a treat, and the patience and fortitude to work this out.

Wouldn't you know he did great! He pretty much stayed near me as I let him run and play and he'd come to me throughout our journey as I called him. It was fantastic! I texted my hubby and let him know the good news. I was a happy mama. Mama wants her "children" to obey. He is my 6th child you know. My husband had yet to see Fletch in action until about two weeks ago during Christmastime. We went on some walks and he got to see the boy in action. He was astonished and pleased all at once. I was so proud because I felt responsible for all this good training that was happening before his very eyes.

That is until today. (Insert record being scratched as the music comes to a screeching halt) We went on our merry way to the dam, where it is a snow/slush/mud laden mess, for our daily walk. He started off well, then I put his leash on for a spell, gave in and took it off again, and then that was it! We got around to the bunny hill~ the one where everyone-that-lives-here-and-then-some went sledding when we got the first snow in 30 years hill. Since it's melting and the temperature is a little higher, the boy wants to find rabbits. This area is fairly large and he is hard to see even against the snow. So as I am coming around down some slippery steps, I could no longer see him. I began to call him, and call, and call, and call. I think 10 minutes had passed as I called the children and told them to look for Fletch coming home. He has done that on several occasions. As I continue my search, I see a man and a dog come around and I ask if he has seen a golden retriever. He says, "Yes, he was just up there." He was pointing to where my voice could easily be heard, "Fletcher... Fletcher... Fletcher." Do you know that he was there all along? He just never bothered to show himself to me. And when he finally started to come toward me and I said, "Come Fletch", he ran the other way and kept on hunting.

I was so mad! I started to walk away thinking he would soon follow. He eventually did come to me and as I gazed out toward the lake and not at him, he laid down in submission expecting me to be happy-go-lucky. We walked the rest of the way home and I decided that his consequence would be to keep him in the yard for a few hours.

Boy am I glad that God doesn't react to me that way when I'm disobedient. He continues to woo me, stay alongside me, to love me unconditionally, and He is with me everywhere I go. I am not worthy and yet He thinks I am.


Denise said...

We only have a small dog (shih tzu) but I would never let him off the leash, more so because I'm worried that other dogs might come along and if they were aggressive he'd never stand a chance! But he also doesn't come sometimes when we call. I just use one of those expandable leashes so he can have a wander and a sniff at stuff. I think it's different with big dogs though, they need to run more. Hopefully Fletcher will get better, consistency with training is the key (hopefully) ;-)
Have a great day.

chili pepper said...

You win some, you lose some? We keep debating back and forth about getting a dog. The biggest draw back to me is that if we had a dog it would have to be perfectly trained... I can NOT stand a dog that is not obedient. And I know I would have to be the one to do... look what they have done to the training of their younger siblings! LOL. I don't know if I have the time, patience or dedication that you have used to train Fletcher. Why then we would just have a big old mess to sort out! Good for you to stick with it. And, boy-oh-boy, do I want to give a big AMEN to God's patience in training this unworthy child!



Darcie said...

Dogs can be challenging, can't they? Don't give up, because it sounds like you are on to something good there..and it all just takes time. I like how you liken it unto our relationship with God. Thankfully we serve a God that delights in mercy. I need to be more like that as well.

Thought of you at 9 this morning...hope you enjoyed your tea. ;-)

He & Me + 3 said...

Our doggie is good and obedient in the house, but outside...totally in her own world. We only go on walks with leashes for that reason. Once off the leash or out of the yard...GONE! No calling of her name would bring her back.

steffenboysmom said...

I'm glad God doesn't get mad too!

Poor fletcher, he can't help that he's still a dog. Just like we are still sinners.

My hubby had to chase down our beagle through back yards, only to have her "Take off" as soon as he could grab her. Talk about a ticked off hubby!

Mocha Momma said...

Hang in there Fletcher will improve. I understand that consistency in every aspect of his obedience training will get good results.

I bet he's a great doggie. Enjoy him and have a great week,