Monday, 17 September 2007

Selective Deafness...

What was it that inspired red steaming rage in me today? Global warming? World poverty? The decline of global finance markets?

No, the refusal of a small black dog to return to me on request. What is it about blatant disobedience and selective deafness in dogs that causes us humans such annoyance? I suspect an evolution obsessed with power, dominance and expectation.

It's quite rare that Tilly utterly ignores me now, but there was one incidence of this on this afternoons walk. It always follows the same formula:-

1) Tilly bounds off in search of squirrels, playmates, rotting delicacies or a lost chicken.

2) I cheerily blow on the whistle and call a melodic, "Tilly, come!".

3) A scrawny black tail continues to disappear into the distance.

4) I blow the whistle with a little more urgency and inject a touch more authority into the command.

5) The scrawny black tail is now out of sight.

6) The whistle is blown like that of the 10:14 to Bangor. The bellowing of non-official commands begins, such as, "get here!", "come here!", "Tilly, cooooommmmmeeee!"

7) The area is declared as dog-free.

8) A small man is witnessed jumping up and down with rage, screaming a range of obscenities that would shame a sailors convention.

9) Tilly returns nochalently, wondering what all the noise is about.

10) I take deep breaths, try to sound pleased to see her, and praise her liberally through gritted teeth. I try to hide the fact that my gut instinct would be to pick her up by the tail and swing her around my head a few times, before letting go.

11) Treats are dispensed.

12) Tillys lead is applied firmly, and I vow never to remove it again.

13) I feel guilty for restricting her, and remove the lead.

14) The process begins again.

Is it just me?


Flowerpot said...

No, been there done that. I know exactly the feeling and do sympathise. But I found bits of cheese were the answer with Mollie - she will do anything for cheese!

Claire1011 said...

yep me too!!!!!!
tried liver treats, chicken wings, tripe sticks and nothing works, once he is off that is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!pray to the LORD he will come

Balboa & Mommy said...

Hey why should we listen when there are so many intersting things to see and smell!?!?!?!?

Frenchie Snorts

Balboa & Mommy said...

that would happen at the dog park, thankfully it is completely caged in. I feel so silly calling and calling him and Balboa just doing what HE WANTS TO DO!


Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Lordy, I wish The Lurchers only ignored me once on a walk. Somedays I get the feelng they stay with me on a walk because they choose to, and not out of any sense of obedience!

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

Aha - so it's not just me! Thanks for all the advice and support. Unfortunately, Tilly isn't very food orientated - especially when in 'full-flight', so food isn't really the answer with her. Prince of course would have done the quick-step for a piece of sausage!

Em said...

Mollie's done this to me a couple of times - she usually comes running if I squeak a ball in her general direction, but there's absolutely no guarantee. Mind you, the more we bond, the more reliable she gets. Possibly.

Kerrio said...

Yup. :-)

Beverley Cuddy said...

Have you tried randomly running at speed in the other direction several times on your walks? Takes a lot of balls to do and you have to make sure they're watching you when you go nuts the first few times - but it can spook them into having to keep an eye on you rather than the other way around! I think it's called reverse training - taking back control! Ian Dunbar wrote a great article many years ago about 'how to train a dog not to come back when called." Really makes you think about what they are thinking when they leg it. You must have a very secure doggie that is sure that you'll "stay" while she has a dalliance. Tilly is obviously great at human training!

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

Thanks Beverley - the running off idea's a good one. I used to do it when I first got Prince, and it always did the trick, but haven't done it much with Tilly. I'll will be doing now though....!

Chapstaff said...

Hi Graham, when training my late Stafford Cleo I used to hide when she refused to come back. It never failed. I used to feel a bit guilty though at the look of panic on her face as she feverishly hunted for me under every leaf & twig in the park. She always sniffed me out in the end though. I used to just look nonchonantly at her when she found me so it didn't become too much of a big deal.
I only did it a few times though as she always kept an eye on me after that.

Now I have a new Stafford puppy Tala so I shall no doubt be trying the same thing again. I bet it wouldn't work with her though as she is very self assured & will just go off with someone else if she can't see me. I think I'll try the cheese thing with her like 'flowerpot'did.

sama said...

oh and i battle with selective deafness EVERY day! her latest refusal to listen to me meant that i had to spend a quarter of an hour attempting to retrieve her from the local RAILWAY TRACKS! i put the poobag in the bin, and she slid under the fence that some local vandals had thoughtfully prised up, and vanished.

at that moment, the eurostar came through and i heard her scream. resigned to scraping squelched westie off the lines, i was caterwauling like a child, when a small, dirty and unrepentant westie trotted up the almost vertical bank, and came under the fence.