Friday, February 3, 2012

The Power of 'Leave It'

All four of my dogs backed off an injured woodpecker in our yard today. I cannot tell you how proud of them I am. Shadow, the rat terrier, and Twinkle, the boxer mix, were only too happy to go to the porch and get out of the deep snow. Tara, the black lab, had a tougher time 'leaving it', but did so fairly easily compared to Valentino, the beagle mix.

Valentino finally relented when he saw that I meant it, when he realized that I was blocking his every move, because he understands 'leave it', and most importantly, because we have a close happy bond and in the end he wants to comply.

The woodpecker had lost a few feathers and was hopping across the deep snow. He hopped into one of the dog igloos where I gave him food and water. I then sealed the entrance with a blanket to keep out the wind and snow and predators, including my dogs! Hopefully, his injury is minor and he will have the time and the warmth to recover fully.

When I allowed the dogs back into the yard they all ran over to the place where they had first discovered him. But it was Valentino only who immediately tracked him to the igloo. Fortunately, the blanket and my faithful 'leave it' were enough to redirect Valentino to other projects.

I've always been proud that I can drop food on the kitchen flooor and all 4 dogs will 'leave it'. But this was a much more sophisticated achievement and I am absolutely thrilled!

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