I can be the most adorable, pardon, naughty girl…

Hi!

I am so lucky you have not seen my humans’ faces yesterday… They were really, really angry… I did it… I did my “best of the year” show yesterday evening during my walk. In all honesty, I am the one without blame. Full blame should go to my humans – they should go to school because after three years they still have not learnt a thing about me, so I might say without being the least wrong, about us doggies in general!

I am lucky in a certain kind of way that the paparazzi human had left the camera at home… So I need to make it together with some pictures I have of the place from previous walks – hope you don’t mind too much…

So I left for my evening walk with both my humans. I was what they call “electrical”, meaning that I have some kind of a weird disease that wants to sniff everything every centimeter of the way, chasing for all the cats there are on they way… Something like what my web sister Honey calles the zoomies…

This was the start…

After about a km we have a nice road that is in the middle of what it is a leftover of countryside in a village. It is so real countryside that there is a flock of sheep that also goes there to pasture.

My humans thought that getting me offleash in that place was dangerous, the sheeps were far from us, but they feared I could smell them, plus I know the place and I know they can be around. So we went a few hundreds meters further, and because I still was silly and clearly wanted a bit of freedom they thought they could let me go offleash till the end of the road.

Everything fine we were all going for our road, when a jogger came towards us. So my humans called me: I know that in that circumstance I have to come back, get to the feet position, the jogger or the bicycle goes by and than they tell me that I am free again. If the jogger is afraid they keep a hand on my collar, but I am really good I wait there to be freed again. Perfect, I do that ALL the times. Yesterday though, I had absolutely no intention to respond to the comand. NONE at all, I wanted to keep on sniffing around. Two months without an offleash walk is too much I had to have a bit of privacy in my sniffing. Plus a jogger – I do not care about him – I never go towards them so who cares, why do they bother me – why the need to go next to the humans!

Humans instead always feel guilty – not allowed to go offleash there  – plus they feel sorry for people passing by – they might not like big doggies – so they used the usual trick, turn the shoulders to me and walk backwards. It worked… but it worked too much… The minute I turned the flock of sheep was getting a bit nearer still at hundreds of meters distance. I simply could see something moving far away from me. But I was free… interesting… this means I could go and check if they are really the sheep….

My humans understand and give me a sharp “COME” command. They give it twice… I pretend I don’t hear and I move a bit towards the flock… Another LUCILLE COME …. But I am still looking towards the flock… still not sure  if it is there or not…

What would you have done – respond to the COME or went to see the sheep from nearer for once in your life?

Well, I tell you what I did….

I DECIDED TO GO AND SEE…. I STARTED RUNNING … I FELT LIKE A TIGER… I RUN AND RUN AND RUN… THE FLOCK WAS QUITE AWAY STILL… AT LEAST 400 METERS….  I RUN AS FAST AS I COULD! JUMPED A DITCH… WOW I CAN BE REAL AGILE! I RUN INTO THE FLOCK … SHEEP RUN EVERYWHERE …. FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE!!! I AM SMELLING THEM!!! WOW THEY SMELL REALLY NICE… I AM FREE … THIS IS HOW MY ANCESTORS MUST HAVE FELT AT THE TIME!!!

OOPS THIS DOES NOT SMELL RIGHT… WHAT IS IT … A MALE GOAT… OH OH…  PLUS A BAD LOOKING MAN WITH A BIG STICK IS SHOUTING TO ME AWAY AWAY….

HE CALLS WITH A WHISTLE THE FLOCK TO GET BACK TOGETHER… NOW IT IS A FEW MALE GOATS COMING TOWARDS ME… I TURN… ONE OF THEM HITS ME FROM BEHIND!!! HEY HOW UNPOLITE!!!

I RUN BACK  – NOT AS FAST – I HAVE TO GO AWAY FROM THE GOATS BUT I FEAR THE HUMANS…. WELL HUMANS ARE SURELY DISAPPOINTED BUT THEY WERE NEVER CRUEL TO ME SO … BACK TO THEM AND LET’S WEAR THE HELMET!!!!

*********************************************

Translation of Helmet in Lucille’s terms:

  • sweet eyes … the most sweet you can imagine….
  • ears down, almost touching the soil
  • walking as if a tragic disease suddenly got to the legs
  • walk round the humans
  • at each signal or sound go to the feet
  • swap from sit to down position to see which suits the humans better
  • apply everything I learnt up to now at the maximum level (perfect heeling and response to comands)

*********************************************

So, now that you know my truth, do you really believe I was naughty? I think I am an adorable creature… I did come back to them, just did a little diversion to check things out and report to them, what is wrong about that?

Ok, I took my time to check things out, but with the help of the male goat and the shepard I found my way back!

Right – now the human wants to talk to you – she is really depressed…  I do not know why – since they also had the chance to talk to the shepherd before, they seemed very friendly to eachother (up to yesterday)… we are friends… or should I say… were…? And why my humans seemed so ashamed?


Hi, it is Nicoletta now…

Yes, Lucille is right, I am really depressed. The only real command I always wished I could teach to my dog is the recall command. I would love to have a military response to the COME comand, but I guess that not being military at all with Lucille cannot be a good starting point to have a good recall (?). Don’t know if I can really excuse her for the fact that the flock is a really true distraction. I do not excuse myself – that is for sure.

You know, I have been looking for a school in my area that would help me with my “have a good recall” dream to come true. I mean, all dogs do the recall if they are at school, in the camp. After a while they look as if they are on an autopilot. I never found help instead in doing it with real distractions. What about the lecterature you find on the books of the camps where you practice with kids in the field and outside the fields (more important), with bykes passing by, cars passing by, people, other dogs, off leash dogs??? Is this a dream? If it wasn’t for Honey’s human to show it with her being in the video I would tell you noone has the guts to do it for real. I guess it is high time that I start from scratch to organise it myself with the help of some friends. Wish I lived in Auckland and could go to ask for Flip’s help.

Have you ever been so disappointed by your dog? Give me your shoulder to cry on please…

Well – enough for the sadness – we know what we are going to do in the months to come … a lot of work … a lot of practice!

Any suggestion you can give me and Lucille it is highly appreciated, even if you think that I have  no right to ask her to be responding when there is such a strong distraction. Had I, being the human with a supposed higher level of intelligence, to keep her on leash? When is it that you can really trust them off leash in a different situation that a dog training camp?

I am truly confused… when I find the reply I will post it and share it with you…

PS: in all honesty, when we recovered, say after half of an hour of talkings about the cruellest training program we would apply to straighten Lucille, we also laughed thinking of how you guys would have enjoyed it if we had this in video!!!! And no, we did not react badly, we know you never have to punish your dog when it comes back… even if that happens with a lot of calm… But we were so angry, she felt that… se really wore the helmet till she got home.

PS2: NO WORRIES DOGGIES FRIENDS – NOTHING CRUEL WILL EVER HAPPEN TO LUCILLE!!!! NOT BY HER HUMANS HAND – BE SURE OF THAT…. SHE MIGHT END UP MORE ON LEASH THOUGH… SHE WILL NEED TO GAIN OUR TRUST BACK AND GET AN “A” LEVEL OUT OF THE NEXT TRAINING PROGRAM.

(NOT SURE OF THE SAME IF SHE CROSSES THE ROAD WITH THE SHEPHERD OR THE GOAT… WILL CHANGE “ITINERY” FOR A WHILE)

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About Lucille

Live and let the others live, that's my motto!
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8 Responses to I can be the most adorable, pardon, naughty girl…

  1. Homer says:

    My Juliette Lucille,

    Sigh… I got this feeling you are in some kind of deep trouble. If there’s any consolation, I am the same as you. My ‘recall’ is not reliable. My humans never trust me off leash because the word ‘recall’ does not exist in my dog dictionary. The only time I’m off leash was on the beach, even so it’s not all the time. So yes, my humans can understand how your humans felt after your little ‘escapade’. But, the good news is (for some dogs), as they get older and more mature, they tend to listen and stick to their humans more and I think I’m kinda like that.

    Try this place http://www.powerdogverona.it It’s some kind of training school – they even teach you how to dance! We’ve never been before so we are not 100% sure of their training methods – I mean, go check it out and give us an update OK?

    Love,
    Homer

    PS: We can’t promise anything next Sat because my human dad might be busy. We will keep you posted.

  2. Brooke says:

    Oh Lucille. As frustrated as your humans are with you, I have to say that was a really funny story! Pictures and or a video would have been a you tube hit!
    Darwin’s 1.5years old and usually her recall is good (probably not Honey good, but pretty reliable), and other times (currently) she totally tunes us out. She seems to have gotten more confident and brave, and is more willing to explore, which Im thrilled about, but when I say come and she doesn’t come Im not as thrilled with this new found confidence.
    Honey’s human, Hsin-Yi, probably has good advice for this though!
    I’d say just practice it more. You could get a really long lead and use that to practice in newer/less controlled situations, so when she doesn’t come you could give her a little tug on the lead, and she wouldn’t be able to chase the sheep.
    Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

  3. Oh Lucille!! THat sounds like the most exciting, exciting adventure!! I don’t blame you at all – of course you would want to check out the sheep -as you say, that is natural doggie enjoyment of freedom and exploring, isn’t it? Besides, we’re not robots, you know – and sometimes we just forget our training a little – look at humans – they are not perfect either! And I am just like you also – when I know that my humans are really angry with me, I also put on the “helmet” like you – and I act like a perfect angel, even if I was a terrible devil a minute ago. Please don’t think I am always well-behaved – I am NOT! 😛

    Slobbers,
    Honey the Great Dane

    Hi Nicoletta,

    Don’t feel bad! All dogs have their naughty days – just like humans, right? Sometimes you don’t feel like following the law and so you do something a bit naughty – like parking somewhere illegal – you just hope that nobody catches you! 😉 And PLEASE don’t think that Honey is a perfect angel – she is NOT!! She has naughty days too – in fact, just day before yesterday, I took her to the dog park here and she was also ignoring my “come”- OK, she came in the end but I had to call her several times and usually she comes immediately the first time I call – but that day, she was very interested in sniffing somethign in the grass and rolling – and she just didn’t want to come! So she pretended to be deaf! I was annoyed at her because I knew she could do much better and I knew she was just playing up – but what to do – dogs aren’t robots after all so sometimes we have to just accept a bad day and move on! Maybe plan to do more practice on the recall, like you said!

    I understand, of course, about wanting a reliable recall – it is one of the most important commands and it can really mean the difference between enjoying your dog or being stressed all the time. Of course, you want your dog to enjoy running off-leash but it is hard to relax and let them do that when you’re worried about if they come back! 🙂 I have also been doing a lot of recalls in training class – which is very different to recall in the park. Recalls in training class is easy and very formal – but it is very different in the park when there are so many distractions.

    Anyway, I would say that if you really want to work on it, then I would actually make time and put a long line on Lucille (eg, 5 metres/10 metres) attached to her collar at one end and her leash on the other end and take her to the same place near the sheep – and then work on her recall there on purpose. Of course, don’t go too close to the sheep in the beginning – have them in the distance – but practise using them as a distraction. Start with the long line attached to your leash, which you hold in your hand – and let Lucille wander off – when you see her attention is preoccupied (eg, sniffing) – call her and start running backwards. If she comes, great – big fuss & treats, If she ignores you, then you can pull very gently using the leash & long line – little tugs – which will get her attention and remind her to come towards you. If she still doens’t come towards you, keep tugging and pulling gently – MAKE her come to you – and lots of praise as soon as she starts moving towards you. Once she gets to you, praise/treat her – and then release her again. Wait until her attention is busy again and then repeat the whole thing. Do this several times in one session and try to go back there and do at least 1 session each week. You are teaching her that she MUST come back to you, no matter what else is interesting – and because of the long line pulling her, she will have no choice. If you repeat many times, she will stop fighting you – it will become habit and she will start coming to you by herself, no matter what the other distraction is.

    But because you have the long line, you don’t have to worry about her really running away – if she starts running towards the sheep, you just have to step on the line (or if it is attached to your leash, then brace your legs and hold on) and stop her running towards them – then call her and run backwards, pulling the line towards you with gentle little tugs so that she is forced to come to you – and of course, LOTS of praise and reward as soon as she starts to move towards you and when she gets to you. Repeat this again and again – and slowly move closer to the sheep (as long as the shepherd is happy!) – so that Lucille learns that whatever the distraction and how close they are, she HAS to go back to you when you call. Because you can stop her running away with the long line, she won’t get a chance to disobey you.

    You can also set up other situations to practise in – look for other places where there might be something that she finds attractive and make some time to take her there with a long line so you can practise recallign her away from those things. It can be some food or toys or children playing or even other dogs – anything that is interesting. The more different distractions you practise, the better she will become.

    At the same time, whenever you are NOT practising on purpose, be very careful about letting her off. So if you are not sure about her and the distraction, then you will be better not to let her free during this rehab time. Because you don’t want to give her any chance to learn to disobey your recall command. So she either isn’t free and so she can’t run away – or she is free but attached to a long line so that you can always stop her and pull her (gently) back to you. This way you always have some guarantee. Then slowly as you practise more distractions and she gets more reliable, you can start letting her off more in different places. You don’t have to hold her long line attached to your leash anymore – you can leave it attached to her collar and dragging on the ground (of course, in a place where it won’t get caught on anything) – you can still step on it anytime if you need to – but gradually you will get more confident and can let her have more freedom.

    Of course, there will always be some times when your dog will ignore your recall – especially if they are in the middle of chasing something – it is just too exciting sometimes! But the more you practise with different things, the more reliable she will be. Also, you can ask Max to help you – invite him for a play and let them play together but in the middle, call Lucille and run backwards and wave your arms and really get her attention and then lots of praise/treats when she comes to you. Your friend can call Max at the same time. Then release the dogs and let them go back to playing. This way if you keep interrupting their play and calling them back to you – you are always teachign Lucille that she must coem to you when she hears you, even if she is in the middle of playing. Because Max is well-trained and can be called at the same time, this will make it much easier for you too – because otherwise if you’re callin her and the other dog keeps tryign to play with her, it can be very hard. But if both dogs get called and stop playing at the same time, then it is much easier. So don’t practise this when she is playign with strange dogs – because you don’t know how well they are trained – practise this at first with another well-trained dog – and then slowly, as she gets better and better at coming, you can practise with other dogs – so she learns that whoever she is playing with, she must stop and come when you call her.

    OK – sorry about the essay! 😛 Hope some of this is helpful. I will talk to you some more on email!

    Good luck!
    Hsin-Yi

  4. Mango says:

    Momma says that none of her doggies have ever had a totally reliable recall. Sure it is possible to train I suppose, but momma says just requires way too much consistency and repetition for her.

    But you know what? I don’t go off leash except in my yard and I am still a happy guy. Us big dogs have to be super careful about how we behave in public because everything is bigger and badder when we do it.

    Slobbers,
    Mango

  5. Tucker says:

    Come is my worst command too. I gets sniffin and sniffin and just too distracted. Those sheep look like lotsa fun though.

    woof – Tucker

  6. Cilla says:

    Isn’t it funny with dogs who has their own will? You already got a couple of good advices so I have nothing to add there… just hang in… I bet Lucille had a great time 🙂

  7. Kasha the Dainty Great Dane says:

    Hi Lucille and mom,

    Wow that was quite an adventure you went on….well just to let you know I am a recall reject…mine is horrible so I never get to go anywhere except my own back yard without being on a leash but I don’t mind. I’m old and don’t really want to run that much anyways. Sorry I can’t offer any advice on how to improve your recall but good luck to you.

    AARF Kasha the Dainty Great Dane

  8. Carol and Bruce (the black great dane) says:

    Hi Lucille, I know just how you felt. It feels wonderful to run and pretend to be a sheep dog. I pretended once to be a cattle dog and chased some cows while out walking with my owner. But then the nasty big cow tried to chase me so I ran back to my owners. At least I got a treat for coming back but they were stressed too. I am working on my manners to be a good dog. Love Bruce

    Hi Nicoletta, Don’t worry too much. I have had problems with my Bruce but we try every day to work with him. He is a ‘scardy cat’ and doesn’t like lots of things he is not familiar with. I have had some wonderful words of advice from Hsin-Yi and that makes it better to have some sympathy and words of wisdom. I love your blog. Lucille looks beautiful. Cheers, Carol.

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