Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Escape Artist

The runaway, looking all innocent!

So I knew that Merlin was a "runner." Most Westies are-don't let them loose, they take off and Lord knows where they'll stop. With Chloe, I knew she was crazy about kids and I could usually get one of them to pick her up so I could get her. She, of course, wouldn't let me pick her up-that was part of the game!

I invested in one of those radio fences-the kind that has a base unit you plug in in the house and collar that acts as a receiver. When the dog gets out of range, the collar starts beeping and if doggie doesn't come back it give him a little jolt. It sounds cruel, but I think it is very humane-the dog can't run off, get stolen, or get hit by a car. Chloe learned very quickly what her boundaries were, and in fact that's when she became the good pet she is now. She turned into the sweetest most compliant dog-a real loving companion. It also gave us the freedom of installing a doggie door because we knew she could go out, do her business and come back in. Really nice during the night or if we had to be gone a few hours. She didn't have to stand by the door with her legs crossed or piddle on the floor.

Enter the novice dog. I bought a collar for him ($139.99 thankyouverymuch!) and am starting to train him with it, meanwhile chaining him up when he goes outside. This morning, I briefly unhooked him from the chain to untangle it and he was off! He made it all the way to the elementary school, three blocks away, where a teacher picked him up. We know the principal, and when he saw me he knew exactly what I was looking for. I suppose the leash in my hand gave me away!

I got him home and brought him inside. The chain was still outside so I tried to slide the patio door open enough to retrieve it and out Merlin went again! This time I wasted no time in getting the car-it seems he likes to ride in cars. I found him at the house right behind ours, on their porch shivering. I called for him to "load up" and he came right to me. I wasted a whole morning on that dog!

When I got him home AGAIN, I got out the new radio collar, tested it, and put it on the dog. We've done a bit of training with it, but it'll take a couple of days for him to get the idea that running away is what causes that "bee sting."

In the meantime, I'll do a triple play-radio collar, chain, and when I go get him off the chain, I'll take the leash. And he's going to be neutered very soon-I have a call into our vet.

I know Chloe will be glad when we can open her doggie door again!

Merlin follows me wherever I go, even the bathroom. Here he is in the kitchen waiting for me to finish making myself a latte'.

We got the second dog so Chloe would get more exercise, and where are they? Sleeping, of course!


  1. oh Marty he is so cute, how will you ever be able to resist that face. His lack of ears makes him look so sad and sorry. Harley sends him a big doggy woof and a big lick. Wishing you all a very happy new year and lots of fun with your new pal.



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