Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shockingly Well Behaved

I can't believe this is DaVinci. In the front yard. No leash. No real supervision. And no fence. Well, not a physical barrier, anyhow.

As obedient and well trained as our dog is (never jumps on guests, waits to be invited on the sofa, never ever has "accidents" in the house, wouldn't dream of chewing our furniture or woodwork, takes treats gently from fingertips, responds to basic commands, etc.), his one major vice has been his escape mentality. It's like another dog takes over if a door or fence gate is accidentally left open. Off he tears to tour the neighborhood despite commands, threats, pleas, treats, and anything else we can think of. He doesn't TRY to escape, but if someone presents an opportunity, he's no dummy. We failed miserably in our early training of him by neglecting this one area. We rarely had the chance to work him off leash in a safe environment, so by the time we realized our mistake, the habit was ingrained.

No more! Habit broken! At least on this particular property. DaVinci now respects a very invisible boundary about five feet in from our property line. In fact, he gives it more like a generous ten foot berth in most places. The in-ground invisible fence from Innotek/PetSafe is a smashing success.

I chose this brand because of some great feature. It has a very slim collar with long-lasting charge; a battery backup on the transmitter; multiple control levels for shock strength, variable correction field size to prevent run-through; and some nice add-ons like zones if you want your dog to avoid certain small areas (trash can, antique furniture, etc.).

They say old dogs can't learn new tricks, and DaVinci is ten. But he is either the exception to the rule, or the adage is outdated. I started the training conscientiously and consistently, and here we are. DaVinci easily resists cars, other dogs, people, us, and even baby chickens tempting him from the other side of the (non) fence. He doesn't even get close enough to the boundary to get the warning beep, which makes me hope that if he ever got out of the house accidentally without the collar, he wouldn't be aware of it and would still stay contained. We're not taking any chances, since an escape early on could set up a temptation to test the system, but DaVinci has taken to it like a champ. Now he has more freedom, and I don't have to be a nervous wreck anytime someone opens the door!

1 comment:

  1. woo hoo! I'm so glad for you that it's working!