Monday, July 19, 2010

Dog training and my confidence

The two are directly related - at least for me.

So, everyone knows Skye. And everyone knows she likes to chase and kill running animals when she gets the chance. Because of this, she is n-e-v-e-r off-leash because we've always lived where running animals (i.e. sheep and cows) were in abundance. And these are things I would like for her not to kill.

But now the only running animals we have are the horses and even still, for the past week, I've kept her on-leash or tied out. She's never chased horses but here's where my lack of confidence comes in.

What if she does and I can't control her?

Last night my brother Daniel said, "Let Skye off her leash. Just do it. The horses aren't going to let themselves be run all over." His confidence boosted mine and I let Skye loose.

She was ecstatic to be running along with me to the pasture and satisfied her apparent water craving by jumping in the horse's trough.

Then the horses started showing up and of course, her herding instincts took over and she started pacing around behind them, nipping at their heels and trying her damnedst to get someone to run.

By the time the night was over, she'd been kicked in the face twice, rolled once, kicked in the side and head on attacked by one of the geldings. You'd think she'd learn a lesson or something.

But no. While they ate, she paced behind their back legs, circling wide around the gelding who chased her and kicked her in the face. Apparently he taught her a personal lesson but she didn't carry it over to the other four-legged creatures with the same kicking capabilities.

Today when I got home, I let her off her run and again, she excitedly followed me out to the pasture to the water trough.

"You got your confidence up, huh, Holly?" asked my little brother as we walked by.

That's when I realized - this whole dog training thing is more about me growing a pair and trusting my animal than it is about anything else.

1 comment:

Tye said...

TRUST YOUR DOG!!!! That is the most important lesson any handler can learn. It's like falling in can't force it. One day, it will come naturally. TRUST YOUR DOG!!!