Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trust Earned

I've mentioned in other blog posts (and Zuko bitterly tweets about it) that I do not trust him off leash. He's a Shiba and not even two years old yet. In San Francisco, we don't have alot of good areas to practice recall in the open - Ft. Funston is considered Dog Heaven but it is just that: many dogs, many distractions. Not a good place to start! We've done some practice at a fenced-in dog park in Corona Heights and he's been pretty solid there, but... well, it has a fence and isn't really very big. At home, I practice nearly every day when I'm working from home. I pick up a treat (usually cheese) while he is sleeping and call him to me. However, I don't fully trust he'll come back if there are better things to be doing.

Last weekend a good friend invited us to her cottage up in the mountains around Napa Valley. Their dog, Millie, got along super with Zuko and Zuko was being a perfect gentleman. The cottage is on a good piece of land but closed in by deer fencing. We put a long leash on Zuko...and then set him free.

He was a very good dog. Mostly. In general he stuck pretty close to the people (who had food) and to Millie.  On one occasion he decided to go up the driveway and the gate up that way was open since people were coming in and out during the day. He got a little stubborn but when I showed up with cheese, he responded instantly to a "here" command and came back.

Want proof? :-) I recorded some recall and free-running Zuko video so even I would have proof that it all really happened!

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