September 14, 2014

Dawg Slobber

If you stop by here often, you know that we have a pair 1-year old Labrador Retrievers, as well as a rotund little Dachshund.

We are, by no stretch of the imagination, gifted in the dog training department.  Perhaps that is why we have found Labs to be so agreeable - they are pretty smart and seem to catch on to the way of things, despite the mixed human signals we give them.
Our dogs have a couple of fenced acres to frolic in.  Perhaps because of the size, they have never attempted to escape by digging or jumping the fence.  There is something magical to them, though, about the unfenced front yard (and beyond).  Between three gates, four doors and four kids, there have been a couple of doggie escapes into the front yard (and well beyond).  And, let me tell you, once their paws cross that magical line, something primal takes over.  If we weren't so terrified of losing them, we could maybe take a minute to marvel at their speed, their ear-flapping, tongue-lolling glee as they make a mad dash away from the house.
None of our dogs respond to any recall method when they get out a front door or gate.  To be honest, their recall isn't great to begin with.  Often, we have to shake the treat canister or jingle a leash to get their attention, and, even then, they tend to take their time 'coming'.
I have been trying to improve the recall thing.  I need to know my dogs will react to my command, should they be running hell-bent toward the street.  I have read what the 'experts' say, and am trying to employ all of those methods.  One of the expert training tips I see most often, is that dogs need to think that approaching you is the Best Thing Ever.  'They' say to make sure to great your dog with wild excitement every time they approach you.  I have been trying, really I have.  
Problem is, our Labs can't hold their licker.
I doubt that greeting them with excitement is supposed to include, "NO!, NO!, BAD DOG!, Don't lick me, dammit."

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