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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chicken Run

Today we took Dakota back to Tracy's house to work on his behavior around chickens. First we let him have some playtime with the other dogs to run off his excess energy. In addition to Zeke, another guide dog puppy-in-training, Tracy was taking care of Jazz, a working guide dog. And of course Dixie the dachshund was there to supervise.

After a while, we headed out to the chicken coop.

I was prepared for the worst, but the whole event turned out a bit anticlimactic. The chickens took one look at Dakota and were having none of that! Probably they were all having flashbacks to his last visit... One brave soul ran past us to the dish of corn, but the rest skirted behind the coop to the bushes, so there was really no close confrontation. Dakota was excited, but remained responsive to "sit" and "down," so to me it felt like a step in the right direction.

After that, Tracy let the chickens out in the yard and we experimented with putting Dakota on a 26-foot flexi-leash. That way I could practice recall and obedience while giving him a bit more freedom. He tried to chase, but quickly saw that wasn't going to be possible. He became responsive again and hung out with us in the shade, content to watch the chickens --perhaps a bit too alertly -- from a distance.

I still think it would be crazy to trust him off-lead around chickens, but I was happy to see that on the leash his behavior seems to be manageable. We'll have to keep practicing, but I'd definitely call it a good day!

Here's a picture of all 4 dogs practicing obedience with a "down."

After putting the dogs on "down," Tracy walked around the group, treats in her hand, while they waited nicely. Can you tell which ones in this bunch like their food the most? They're riveted on those treats, aren't they? Duckie's kind of staring into space, waiting for the "go free" command.

Have a great week, everyone, and remember to think of us the next time you have chicken for dinner!


Jethro's Puppy Raiser said...

now we just need to teach him the chicken dance!! :) great job all!

puppyluver said...

Thanks for the hard work, i know zeke appreciated the company :)