Everybody knows one of the first things you’re supposed to teach a dog is how to come when called.
It’s hard to do that when you have a fenced backyard and never take your pooch outside the yard off-lead.
Sure, I realize the “Come here” lesson could save my dog’s life one day; at the very least, it could save me a lot of frustration and time.
But I failed to insist my Sheltie learn it, and I paid for it yesterday.
We’ve been having lots of wet weather — melting snows, freezing fogs, etc. — and the backyard, frankly, looks like a muddy mess. We normally have the spaces between our shrubs covered over with mulch, but mulch doesn’t last forever. You have to keep adding it, or you wind up with bare spots — that become wet dirt.
And wet dirt sticks to puppy paws and fur.
Yesterday, my Sheltie went outside and found all sorts of interesting things to do. He chased birds and squirrels, he raced from one corner to another, he danced through the melting snow, AND he refused to come in when I called him.
I watched as his fur became filthier and his white paws became a nasty shade of brown, yet there was nothing I could say or do to convince him to give up his fun.
Eventually, we lured him inside with a cookie. Then I began the lengthy process of throwing him in the bathtub, washing him down, shampooing, blow-drying, and brushing his fur.
None of which had been on my planning schedule, of course!
So I’ve done a bit of research on this “Come here” command and guess what? I’m as guilty as the next person for actually teaching my dog that “fun times” don’t include me!
Yikes, what have I done?
According to Perfect Paws, my Sheltie thinks:
1) I’m ruining his fun by calling him in, or
2) I’m going to punish him for turning into a mud-dog
Perfect Paws advises that I should never let my dog off-lead (and I suppose this includes his own backyard) unless and until he can reliably come when called.
I have my work cut out for me — he’s become lazy and spoiled, and I can just imagine him looking at me and saying, “You want me to work for a kibble, when all I have to do is look cute and somebody will feed me people-food?”
It promises to be a fun-filled experience.