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Limits. Boundaries.

We haven't been clear or effective in instructing Gracie about boundaries. Boundaries. We all need 'em, to function in this world. "She's looking for limits," we say. Well, of course she is. That's what "PLACE" or "HOME" or other words mean: Operating smoothly, and without question, for example, within the boundaries of the yard-- because she knows and accepts the boundaries no matter what, like Buster did. He ventured near the road, but never on it, even when chasing deer out of the yard. I'm pretty sure we will never trust Gracie to respect that boundary.

Gracie, of course, recognizes no such boundaries, so must be leashed, staked or contained by electric fence or other restraint on her bolting. Bolting. From stationary to pulling with full weight in a nanosec. Pulled out my back today, and an ab muscle too.

That's how she escaped from Brenda, our local dog-whisperer and first-time pet sitter, the night of the Graham Nash concert. Makes a great story! Ask Alexis! "We might look back on this someday and laugh," I said to her, as we rushed back to the house to find our loose black dog in the dead of a dark night.

I find that compartmentalizing spaces and defining their proper use to Gracie has helped greatly in her adjustment to the house. Unfortunately, I didn't know that in stark reality before the barely controlled non-stop high-energy kinetic phenon wore me out. If we weren't going to crate her, o f course_____, we should have pre-defined the various rooms, shutting more off, and introdcing them to her with their function at the same time. We hadn't even modified the garage for dog use. Once she gets comfortable with spaces-- like her bed in front of the fire, she uses them appropriately. So the fault, dear friends, is with the owners-- as it most often is. And most of my razzled nerves and losing my cool in frustration is because I'm trying hard to correct the mistakes I made, and failing too often. Of course, the dog gets the worst of it; no attitude for a trainer.

Here is an aphorism for you: "Enriched education does not work with an untrained dog."


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