I swear I’m not an Idiot

in Entertaining nonsense and profound thought

Will I never learn?

We’ve been working on boundary training with the Pipster. She is not the timid momma’s girl I thought I was getting, so we’re having to train her to the radio fence. We don’t have a lot of traffic, but the traffic we do have is fair game according to Pippin. It is apparently her job to chase the intruders away. All eight pounds of her. Right down the middle of the road. When her quarry is in sight I might as well be in another dimension as far as she’s concerned. She neither hears nor obeys.

Today was a little traumatic for us, so when I took her outside on the leash for our before bed tinkle and she sat down on the grass and looked up at me, I thought the leash was the problem. She couldn’t tinkle while on the tool of her earlier mortification.

No. I am the problem. There is something wrong with my brain. A she wasn’t wearing the radio collar so there was nothing to stop her from straying. And B, I could have had fresh steak in my hand and she wasn’t coming near me.

Twenty minutes later Pippin was having a grand old time chasing smells while I fumed. Finally I found a little snowman with a squeaker and that she would come for. Little turkey. It’s clear the six month old puppy is smarter than I am.

To make everything worse I’m going to have to listen to her squeak that stupid toy all night long.



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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

German Chocolate Betty May 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

I’ve got an environment focussed dog too — EXCEPT that she is a little piggy which is helpful, and that she is TOTALLY toy-focused (tennis balls are the best). So I have been feeding her less in her bowl (she wolfs everything down immediately), and keeping back a handful of food (kibble) for walks, so her daily ration is not exceeded (a trainer told us to make her “work for her food” — good tip).

In the morning we do walkies before she gets her food. By then it is over 12 hrs since she has eaten. So she’s hungry. We have been working really hard on the “if you come when I whistle, you get food” paradigm (I let her run only about 10-15 feet then whistle). Also, she has learned, if you sit and wait when the car approaches and goes by, you get food. Same for bikers: if you sit and wait, you’ll get food.

A tennis ball works at least at good. Sometimes she even wants her ball more than food. So we’re doing the same drill with the reward of the ball.

Some days are better than others. BUT recently she watched, from a distance, as a cat ran across the road without yanking my arm out, and got her treat. So I am hopeful that this will continue. But it’s hard work.

She still won’t be owner-fixated, but the food-fixation is


German Chocolate Betty May 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

Well, poop, the last sentence truncated. I wanted to say “the food-fixation is a godsend…”



KarenB May 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Kady will ignore a pile of prime rib if she wants to run. Now if I could possibly train a rabbit to run in front of her and then dash into our house that might work . . .


German Chocolate Betty May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

Hahaha!! Yeah, our dog trainer said the worst ones are those for whom neither toys nor food are interesting enough as a diversion or reward.

(Lizzy is better if I play with her really hard, lots of ball chasing, etc., before we go out. Cattle dogs are known for their high energy and “environmental radar”, but she’s better if she’s a bit winded before we start out! Dogs and kids — lot of work, but we do love ’em!)


Kate May 9, 2013 at 2:11 am

You know the worst part? I used to train dogs for a LIVING. I know my sh#t. This dog is beyond my abilities. I am defeated.

KarenB May 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

At our puppy training class, the teacher said that there are owner/people focussed dogs and there are environment focussed dogs and I obviously had an environment focussed dog. If she’s off lead, she’s gone. Running like the wind for hours. Nothing will bring her back until she is ready to come back. So we have to be very, very careful about open doors and such. It sounds like you may have one like our Kady.


Kate George May 6, 2013 at 9:37 am

Oh Yay! I bought an environment focussed dog. Hmmm, do they do personality transplants? Zoe, my beagle X is the same way. She loves us, she just loves chasing wildlife more.


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