Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Phoenix, critters & miscellaneous

Went outside to train last night and Phoenix caught another bird before we ever got started. That makes three birds and one ground squirrel for the Skinny Little Dog. Apparently the birds around our place are flying too low and slow. The ground squirrel was quite an achievement though. Those li’l critters are fast. (I have it on good authority that Dustin and Abigail the Dobermans excel at ground squirrel capture. Maybe I should send Phoenix to live with them for a week to hone his technique. I’m sure Carol really wants 2 Dobes and a Mal in her back yard. Her ground squirrels would probably stage a mass exodus.)

Anyway, the thing that set this bird apart from his other kills was that he actually brought it to me when I called him. I’ve learned that calling him when he has gone over the top into prey drive is pretty much worthless. He simply can’t hear me. I’m sure I’m nothing but background noise while he’s chomping happily on whatever it is he’s caught. (Gross, sorry, but that’s life with dogs.)

So mostly when he catches something, I just keep an eye on him and keep my mouth shut and pick up the pieces later, if there are any. No sense screaming and chasing and acting like an idiot. He’s faster than I am and I’d like to avoid deliberately creating a no win situation. But last night for whatever reason I felt compelled to call him even though I had absolutely no way of enforcing the command (yeah, stupid, I know, couldn’t help it, just one of those dumb human gut reactions).

But Phoenix came racing across the lawn, tail up, ears up, looking totally goofy with bird feet sticking out of the side of his mouth. Where’s a camera when you need one!

Then the next crisis ­— what do I do with it? I mean, here he is, bringing me his prized possession. I couldn’t just fling it into the cornfield.

He spit it out when I said give and I rewarded that pretty heavily, then decided to just leave the darn thing laying there and deal with it (fling it into the cornfield) later when he wasn't looking.


I belong to the Ring Tested Obedience e-mail list but admittedly do not spend a lot of time tracking it. I’m sure there a tons of great ideas on there but there’s only so much time I have to spend on a computer each day.

Anyway, one of the recent threads has been about how many different places you should have your dog do go-outs in before showing him. The consensus is 50.

Holy cow! I know for a fact I’ve never had my dogs do go-outs in 50 different places before they showed in Utility. A dozen maybe. Possibly 20 tops. But not 50. In fact, I’m not sure I could even find 50 different places to do go-outs but it’s an interesting challenge and I’m going to start making a list to see how many I can realistically come up with.


The only good thing about not mowing your lawn because it never stops raining long enough and now the freaking grass is so tall it needs to be baled is that you can work great blind retrieves in it. Phoenix and I enjoyed a wonderful early morning pre-summer solstice training session today at 6 a.m. We worked mostly AKC and UKC gloves and I’ll be darned if I could barely see the gloves once I’d placed them, so I’m sure he couldn’t see them at all.

All went well. The dog who couldn’t figure out a mark last summer was doing blinds like he’d done them all his life. What a good boy! He’s even got a good grip on fetching the center glove from the second UKC directed retrieve exercise. We’re a long way from putting the go-out with it but he’s getting the concept of fetching a glove that’s NOT in his line of vision and ignoring the two gloves that are clearly visible to the side.

Or would be, if we would ever mow the lawn.


  1. How do you get on the Ring Tested Obedience e-mail list?

  2. Hi Pug Boys, here's the RTO address: