Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 39 part 2

I know, these two part days do get annoying, but today was a really great day and I have to write about it. The big news for today is that I made a friend at work. Pat, who works in a different agency but has the office next to mine, said something to me about having to get home to her dogs, who were still young. We started talking a little and it turned out that her dogs are Leonburgers! I don't know if any of you remember the earlier parts of this blog... since its all of 39 days old, but on Day 5, before we even knew there was a Bear, I mentioned that I had loved Leonburgers since the days when my husband and I had lived in Germany. (That was a whole lot longer than 39 days ago, by the way.) Anyway, today she brought in pictures of her two Leo's and they are beautiful. As I was looking, I noted that they hadn't gotten their fur in yet as Leo's are noted for a great mane of fur! They are really wonderful dogs and she was so thrilled to know someone who actually knew anything about the breed because they aren't very common here in the States.

I think if I hadn't gotten a Bear, I might have ended up with a Leo...nah. Can't see it. I'd go nuts with the shedding...which interestingly enough, Bear does not seem to do a lot of. I think I probably would have kept looking for our Bear. I really don't see us ending up with any other dog. He does have his idiosyncrasies, but he's one of us now.

On that end, I've been doing some serious thinking about his training. I'm really not happy with the way that its going, primarily because it seems very unnatural to me. We've never trained a dog the way that we are, Bear. Its always been pretty much off leash from the start. Also, the crate thing is really bugging me! As a kid, my parents always kept their dogs tied or crated and their dogs always went mean. One, a Boxer, really got nasty! It used to get out of the house and, because it never got any exercise, went nuts running and would attack people. Eventually, it had to be put down.

I really don't want that happening with Bear and after thinking about it, decided that I really need to start working with him off leash. I started this afternoon when I got home. As I can't walk very far right now, I decided that we would go up behind the house to the field by the pear tree and play ball. I was really shocked when Bear just walked right around the house with leash! That's what our dogs have always done but for some reason, I have been really afraid that Bear wouldn't. He did and enjoyed chasing Willie who loves to play ball. Eventually, Bear got tired of the game and decided to go over to the pear tree and have some of the drops. It was really funny because he searched through all of the pears on the ground, picked the ones he wanted and made a pile. When they were all stacked the way he wanted them, he laid down, shoved his face into the pile and just started eating!

There is now a pile of 3/4 eaten pears out by the pear tree.

After that, he romped a little with Will and then we came in. I did leash him to go in because the traffic was picking up and all of our doors to the house are on the road side of the house. The back of the house is cellared into the mountain. Hard to explain but its an old, Dutch farmhouse with built in fruit cellar. You walk onto our roof from ground level out behind the house.

I think after the success of today's experiment, I'm going to start working with giving Bear more freedom...even in the house. While crating is convenient for me and I do want him to be able to crate for travel, I don't like that he has no food or water access while in there and I don't like the confining him like this. So, I think we are going to start weaning on the crate next week and see how he does. We are also kind of forced into the position of having to start working more on the property here with both of the dogs, so, I think we will be working on voice command off of the leash.

Big decisions but tonight I need to get some photos together to take into work tomorrow. I've wanted to do a screen saver since I started working there, but this gives me a bigger excuse to get it done.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear


Chris said...

I'm sure some dogs can have issues with crating but mine never have. And one of them is a boxer as you've seen on my blogg. I only crated her when she was young. And she is a good house dog. But it may not work for everyone. Hope you have good luck on whatever you decide to do with bear.

Irene said...

I guess I am a real oaf and need to have the need for crating explained to me. I just don't get it. I kid you not.

Irene said...

I just read your other posts and I hope your poor toe gets better soon and I know how painful that is, because I did something similar one day too. I was a kid at the time and didn't know how to swear yet.

saratogajean said...

I was really lucky when off-leash training Ernie. I had just moved to MI, and my mom and step-dad had an invisible fence. Ernie learned really quickly to respect boundries and look to me if he was unsure.

I'm not sure if an invisible fence is feasible for you, but it worked really well for me, especially if you are near a road.

coopercreek said...

Crate training dogs at a young age is a good thing. My dogs stay in crates when we aren't at home. They don't mind it at all. It's good protection for them and for the house. As Cooper loves to eat things he shouldn't. You're also doing a good thing with the off-leash training as well. There's been times when I've been walking the dogs and I've dropped the leash, but they know not to run off. Best of luck with your training. Hugs to you and the Bear!