Sunday, February 21, 2016

Training Figgy pudding

This is the day I have been dreading -- training Figgy to respect the underground electric fence.  First there was a problem with snow, so I put it off.  Then the warm weather and strong winds took care of all of the snow, but Ayn Chee's old shock collar wouldn't work.  I got to put it off two more days until Tom, my fence installer, could make it out here.

Tom told me that the little collar didn't work because you have to be closer to the buried wire with that collar before it will hum, signally that it is working, and also the batteries were quite old.  While he was there, he gave me some new instructions for moving flags around for a tiny dog like Figgy.  I bought a couple of new batteries, he declared Figgy obviously smart (I knew that!) and of good temperament, and it was time to begin the training. There was no reason to put it off any longer. 

But first I had lunch.  Then I put the newly washed slipcover on the sofa.  Then I unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded with my lunch dishes.  I couldn't legitimately think of one more task.  No more excuses.  Time to put the collar on Figgy and take him out to the yard.  I hate to do this, but he has already escaped once and I found him just a few feet off Lincoln Way, where there is very heavy traffic.  So sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

We walked around the yard with Figgy on his leash while I shook flags and shouted "bad!"  (Don't yell at me for doing that.  It's the official routine, and it works.  And I have already trained two dogs that way.)  After three or four flags, all I had to do was shake the flag to back him off.   He caught on much faster than Ayn Chee did - but that's another story! 

Next step is to deliberately let them get shocked - this is the part I was really dreading.  The owner is to stand outside the perimeter and see if the dog will breach the fence.  Most will.  Ayn Chee did - several times!!  Tashi learned after the first shock.

I walked with Figgy to the end of the yard, nearly to the river.  Then I took off his leash and let him go on his own.  He stayed right in the center of the yard.  Wow, that was easy AND painless.  I still hadn't moved outside the fence line.  Then the cat, Holly Berry, showed up, just outside a line of flags.  Figgy took out after her, got a hell of a shock, and that part of the training was complete!  Poor little guy.  But it sure beats getting run over on Lincoln Way, or going into the river and getting caught in the current, never to return.

Next, I put the control for the Solo door on his collar.  I'll only give him access when I am here, at least for now.  It would be wonderful if he didn't have to go into his kennel when I am gone.  That will be the next step.

Such a smart little guy, my sweet Figgy Pudding.  He's wiped out on the sofa right now.  This was harder on him than it was on me - I think . . .

That was tough, Mom!

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