Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Runaway Liz...aka, why I do not trust Liz to trial

Not the best picturees shows how we started our day of herding. I got to the ranch and was going to let the dogs run and stretch their legs in the agility yard. All was right with the world. It all started out so nicely.

Here is the faintest hint of trouble to come...of course I did not pick up on it, but check it out everyone is running and Liz head spies something and turns...ever so slightly.

Next Liz peels off the group, and I am pretty slow, so I still have no clue what has been put into motion........I am really not up to the challenge of having a little Lizard dog.

Without a change of stride and with no hesitation she is under the fence and off to FREEDOME. CRAP! That was the last picture I took and I tell you I was in total shock when I figured out that an escape had indeed been made! The other dogs both looked at Liz with a mixture of shock and awe, I do not think they knew what to think.

FOUR sessions of recall classes, there is not a day in that dogs life I have not worked recalls, all the other dogs AND I are sitting in the one yard and what does that dog do? I was so totally shocked and thought we were beyond that.

What was horrible was that I thought she was totally loose, (this was at the other end of the yard which was a LONG way away from where I was..) I could not imagine how I was going to get her and the other dogs were running in the yard and had seen Liz run out, so Breeze has a little seperation anxiety, and Cricket is a pup, so did I go after Liz and leave them in the yard or get them and then take off on the chase and loose all that time?

I opted to put the dogs away, not knowing how long I would be chasing the escapee Lizard. I realized putting them away I did not have my keys in my pocket and the car had locked itself, REALLY? Dang car has been doing that and it is really, really annoying, and the worst thing was the last time I saw my keys was in the PORTA POTTY....yep you heard me right. The porta potty in all its glory.

A few minutes later I got the dogs into a pen that was at the side of the yard, and by then Liz had figured out she was in the big sheep pen and suprisingly she had not found a way out so she came over to the gate by me....whew! I was able to go into the agility yard and find my keys, thank heavens....crisis averted, or maybe not averted but cleaned up.

Breeze was an awesome herder, no big suprise there and got to go into the BIG FIELD. She is so awesome and so much better then I am and understands the whole thing better then I do.

Liz was a spazz....and when we got to work on our own I started experimenting with rewarding by releasing the pressure. A girl is doing this with the table in our agility class, they get the dog to get on the table and IMMEDIATELY release her and reward her by letting her get off and some people were talking about it for ring stress, by going in the ring, clicking and leaving and delivering a treat outside so not much we can mess up with Liz, so when she did a fetch I would immediately tell her good dog and to lie down, instead of asking her to do another fetch. I got her working a lot longer, so I really want to experiment with some of this and see if it helps her turn on.


Sara said...

Oh no. I'm glad you got Liz. I'm sure it was really crazy for a few minutes there. Although, I bet it seemed as though everything was in slow motion.

I like your idea about rewarding by releasing pressure. Just yesterday, I was thinking I need to get my butt to some agility classes with Oreo. This is the perfect time to practice simply going in the ring, rewarding and then leaving quickly. I thought I could also have people in the ring feed him treats. Maybe then he would perceive the ring as a less stressful place.

Chris and Ricky said...

I am soooo glad Liz escaped into another pen and not into the wide open world! Thank goodness you ended up having time to put the other dogs in a safe place and get your keys and get to Liz. Must've been such a relief! Sorry that had to happen and that all those days and days of practicing recalls doesn't seem to work.

At least Breeze saved the day by being an awesome herder! :)

Diana said...

Im so glad Lizzie didnt get away. That just causes so much stress and worry. Im so glad it turned out ok. Diana

Morganne said...

What a relief. I can imagine the debate going on in your head (get Liz and leave the others alone or take the time to put the other away). Where did you get Liz? Have you had her as a puppy? Is her story on your blog somewhere?

Sam said...

Aw, no! Her last class went so well, and now she's up to these shenanigans? Sounds like that was sooo stressful, I read it wrong at first and thought you were going to put the two other dogs in the Port-O-Potty, LOL then I realized that I was combining sentences or something, I knew that couldn't be right.

Glad you got her back without too much trouble!

Thanks for your comments about Taco - I know it must have been hard for you to read because of Snips, but I am so glad you read and liked my story.

Kathy Mocharnuk said...

hahahahah, now that would have been an idea to put the other dogs in the porta potty, LOL. Someone pointed out to my you can see my keys in one of the pictures. I guess Liz has to let me know she is still who she is, just a little reminder with how good she has gotten she is still a little Lizzie Lou with voices in her head telling her what to do.

AC said...

Yikes. It seems like one thing went wrong after another. I'm glad you were able to get Liz back safely.

I need to do more recall work with Kona, but the whole "dogs don't generalize" thing makes it-perhaps-impossible to have a truly 100% reliable dog. But I think it's good to aim for pretty darn close to 100% reliable...

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Cynthia Blue said...

Sometimes the recall is soooo hard to get! The world is so exciting. I don't think I'll ever get a reliable recall on my Tatum. She's a goof, and a brat, and a rescue with issues. So she's leashed and I hope she doesn't run off at a trial someday!