Friday, January 22, 2010

Tashi training

Today Tashi goes to the vet for her shots.  She has been accepted by an animal rescue group who will take her.  She will run with a pack, and they have a lot of freedom.  The dogs sleep unsupervised at night in their little cabins with their pack.  I was worried about Tashi being an Alpha dog, but Kayla told me that they will muzzle dogs who get a little too enthusiastic.  They are a "no kill" operation, and their adoption requirements are very high, so I am assured that she will go to a good home.

However . . .

I have gotten plenty of advice on how to break her, and one woman who trains Australian shepherds says she has broken them of killing chickens.  Here is the hopeless optimist coming to the fore.  I am giving it one more try.  She said to take a spritz bottle of vinegar water out with her, keeping her on a very long leash so that she can get close to the chickens without realizing she is on the leash.  Then if she makes a move towards them, you yell "leave it" and spritz her in the face with the vinegar water.  Alternatively you can throw a beanbag at her head while you yell "leave it."  I asked about using my shock collar.  She was against it, said they know you are pushing the button.  What, she won't know I spritzed vinegar water in her face?  Or what about the beanbag?  Anyone who has watched me toss a ball would know that the odds of the beanbag landing on her head are about one in a thousand.  Again, she wouldn't know I tossed the beanbag?  And if I missed her, she would think it was a game - let's pick up the beanbag and take it back to mom so she can toss it again!  Yay, what fun!!

Are you following me on this?  The shock collar is out of the cupboard and around her neck.  She is on a long leash, and we are going outside with shock collar on.  But it wouldn't matter if that leash was a hundred feet long - when she is on a leash, she is not going ANYWHERE near those chickens!  She has gotten the message!!  So I have not had the opportunity to call out "leave it," the magic words.  Obviously I don't want to say them when she isn't heading towards a chicken!

This afternoon I am taking her out with the collar but no leash, when the chickens are close to the house.  Hopefully I will have the opportunity to use the "leave it" command and reinforce it with a teeny tiny shock if she does not immediately respond.  And if she does, then the treats are in my pocket.

Tashi and I are going to work through this.  Wish us luck.

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