The Truth; Professionals have bad days too! Part 2
So now that i have let you into my inner sanctum let us go on to explore more ways in which dog training is not an exact science!
Not long after i got Honey Bee i soon realised that Dog Walks were just not going to cut it! This was a dog who was on a mission and no amount of calming sessions were going to work until i could burn some of that energy off!
So a quick google search revealed some pretty simple ways to to tire your dog out quickly. High energy running, cycling or swimming etc. Well between you and me and much to the amusement of ALL my previous girlfriends and my Wife, im not that great a swimmer. I dont fear it but i do however seem to errr……… elegantly float to the bottom shall we say.
So that ruled water out which was coincidental as Honey Bee really isnt keen on swimming. Paddling yes. Swimming no. So that left me with Running or Cycling. This choice was made easier by the fact that i had terrible running shoes and couldnt justify the cost for new ones. Therefore Cycling shot straight to the top of the list and i set about dusting it off and getting it out of the garage. 8 days later i was ready.
Lets set the scene. It is May/June time. The weather is sunny but not too warm and i have decided to start around 7-8pm (commonly known as dusk. This will be important later) when it is starting to cool down a bit. Thankfully i lived on the outskirts of the village with immediate access to a country lane and open fields. Who knows what would have happened had i needed to traverse the whole village or a city!?
We set off at a blistering pace and Honey Bee was clearly in her element and when i say element i mean a dog possessed! Her eyes were wide and her senses were in overdrive. I had decided early on that i would just see how it goes and worry about the rest later. We headed down the lane and every now and again i could see her eyes look into a field entrance and i thought to myself that i should hold on a little tighter when we come close to one just in case she sees something. I guess at this point i should mention that i was using none of the correct equipment and she was on a normal lead and a normal collar on my left hand side. I was holding the lead with my left hand and my handlebars with my right.
It was going ok.
It was going ok right up until i approached a field entrance on my left and i tightened my lead. As we came alongside i turned my head to where HB had been looking and saw nothing. An instant relief passed through me that i had avoided an incident. 0.5 seconds later that relief turned to dread as out of view on the opposite side of the road there was another field entrance with several rabbits galavanting in the lazy evening sunshine.
Honey Bee bolted across the front of the wheel and I flew over the handlebars landing on the road with a thud which left me with grazes and bruises on elbows, hands and legs. Honey Bee on the other hand was nowhere to be seen. after a few seconds i got up looked to where she had run and i could see her bouncing up and down excitedly through the field. This next moment is not my most proudest moment but it is true. I yelled. I mean i truly yelled. Frustration boiled up inside and i let an almight “HONEY!!”. Unbelieveably it worked. She stopped in her tracks and slithered and skulked her way back to me. Head down and she even had a little wee when she got to me. I didnt speak to her. I didnt put her on the lead i just walked the 1 1/2 mile home with her at my side perfectly at heel.
Coincidentally that was the first time in the 2 months or so i had her that she walked at heel off lead. It would also be the last time for quite some time as she returned to her semi demonic state the very next day leaving me with a bruised body, crushed ego and a worry that i may have to swim with her!!
Things are never as easy as they seem especially where animals are concerned. I put 2 and 2 together and came out with 634.5. Honey needed exercise and i had a bike. I was missing some key components such as equipment, knowledge of handling, time but most of all patience. You see with hindsight i dont blame Honey Bee for her natural reaction to want to chase rabbits but i do blame myself for not taking the time to do more research and for my overeaction when it went wrong.
Also, never go cycling with a dog at dusk. Way too many rabbits and other wildlife around. This also happens to be the most common time Honey Bee decided not to come back during recall sessions!
Come back next week when i explain why Mountains and Dogs can make life very scary