Friday, January 22, 2010

Let Freedom Reign

We went to Campbell Valley off leash park today for some Big Air.

We were a little out of practice.

First we got some small air.

Then some FAIL air.

And a combination of the two.

Finally we got some Big Air.
(he did catch this on the way down)

We were really having a super good time!

And then ....

I saw this.

A couple minutes later, I saw this:

A few moments after that, I lifted my head and all I saw ...

was this.

For Wootie had, yet again, vanished.

Ever since his Runaway Woo episode a couple of weeks ago, Operation Scare The Shit Out OF The Food Lady has broadened in scope considerably. It now encompasses sub-operation Make TFL Really Stinkin' Angry, as well as Mission Return Wootie To The Pound. IOW, Mr. Woo is channeling The Littlest Hobo and is making a career out of wandering off - at high speed.

First we lost him while hiking in Belcarra earlier this week. We had a massive pack of dogs with us (here's about half of them)

...including my newest favourite, Fonzie.

and still, the little furry orange bastid vanished into thin air and was gone for the longest time.

Two nights later, I let all the dogs out for a last pee at midnight and all but Woo returned. I spent half an hour wandering through farmer's fields in my pajamas and a pair of gumboots, with a city girl's flashlight, whisperscreaming his name and getting nada in reply. When I got home, I found him peering out at me from behind my van and when he saw me coming he took off down the driveway and tried to hurl himself through the solid matter known as my front door. Because he KNOWS damn well I'm comin' for him.

There are so many ironies at work here. It is ironic that I have put reliable recalls on about 200 foster dogs in 10 years, but can't get Mr. Woo to so much as flick an ear in my direction when I call him. It is ironic that last night in agility class, I gave Mr. Woo to Auntie Fiona to run as she was down a dog, and he couldn't run a whole course with her because it was "too far from Mummy" and he kept running back to sit on my lap. It is ironic that my 5 month old puppy listens better than my 4 year old dog.

*shakes fist at Woo*


Ha ha. You don't mean that.

Dude, you really shouldn't try her patience. You are going to be in so much trouble.

Did I mention he is long-line wise? He won't go anywhere if he's on a long line (which, incidentally, he sports when he goes out for potties now. The other end is bolted to the porch, until we get ourselves a fence) and, in fact, he won't go anywhere if he knows I'm watching him. But if I take my eyes off him for 10 seconds, he's gone like a bat outta hell and he doesn't come back until he's darn well good and ready. And what can I say? I don't have Dexter's eye, I can't watch him constantly.

This behaviour is all brand new - it either coincides with Dexter's arrival, or our move to the Sticks. I think it's the latter - Wootie was born to hunt, and the countryside is just too full of opportunity for him to indulge his passions.

Neither food, nor the Wootie Toy, holds his attention any longer.

How long do I have to keep this up? I wanna hunt me some wabbits.

Ahem. *I* come when I am called. *I* win the competition run in class every Thursday. *I* am a good dog. Pay attention to me. ME.

Did some say RECALL? I'm coming!!

Me too! Me too!

Oh well. I guess I'm not the worst trainer in the world. After all, I've taught Dexter to play with a frisbee!

Dexter, bring it here.


Just kidding. Dexter is very good at fetch now.

Piper: Nature's Transit System

So ... anyone got a GPS system they want to lend me? I can't track Woo. Maybe a satellite can!!!


Carol said...

Why don't you train Dexter as a search and rescue dog? He can lead you to the illusive Wootie-on-the-Lam?

Bad, bad, Wootie.

Good boy, Tweed. You're still my favorite Woof!

Benny and Lily said...

Holy crap do you guys have air!!
Benny & Lily

K9-CRAZY said...

Oh Wootie, you make me laugh.

Life in vet school said...

Oh, my god -- in the Fail Air photo, it looks like Wootie is about to disappear forever more into a yawning chasm of doom!!! I think it's a puddle with a reflection, but whew. Got my heart rate up!

Debra Kay said...

Wootie should not scare TFL so! Bad Woo! I love Dexter's eye....and the whole border collie creeping thing (probably why I have three of them myself).

StefRobrts said...

Awesome shots, as always!

I am more and more convinced Woo is part eskie - unfortunately all the bad part :)

Anonymous said...

My red rescue BC avec flamboyance is also sans recall. Hmmm...something about the tail.

SarahT said...

Hmm...has Woo been sneaking here to the East Coast to teach Cobweb? Because that sounds a lot like her recall--100% if she's indoors, within a fenced area, or on a long line. 0% if she's in the clear. And otherwise cries piteously if she's separated from me.

I've started to regard her leash as an extension of my arm.

Anonymous said...

Umm, I actually did buy a GPS unit for my little run away hunter! I'm sort of embarrassed to admit it, but so far it's been great. Can tell me how many yards (or miles, it's supposed to track up to 7 miles) away she is and in what direction, and what path she has taken. Plus it can do double duty as car GPS with some downloads.

Just sayin' :) I tried training a recall forever and once she is in wide open spaces with any brush or trees she loses her brain.

riosmom said...

I know you are using a long line now but the night he took off while out to potty I would have shut the door in his face when he came back and left him out just long enough to get worried. Unless he would have taken the closed door as an invitation to take off again. You have to admit he adds spice to your life. And your pictures of him add spice to our lives.

Crazy Dog Blog said...

Stpidly expensive BUT...

Arwen said...

Short of a real gps tracking thing (and how cool would it be to see him go WHOA, HOW DID SHE FIND ME??) it'd be interesting to hang one of those pet cameras on his collar and see photos of where he goes and what he does...

Karen said...

Hmm, good thing that Woo is so cute, 'cus I can imagine your frustration at times:( But Dexter is even cuter:) Always fun to see pictures of your dogs at places I am familiar with. Did you know that just down 4th ave to the east of where you were, there is a seasonal offleash park? (Oct to April) Huuuge open fields, and apples in the fall, but maybe more chance for Wootie to disappear?

Karen said...

Good thing Woo is so cute, as I can imagine your frustration, and maybe fear, sometimes. Dexter is even cuter though:)
Always fun to see pictures of your dogs at places I am familiar with. Did you know that just a bit further east down 4th ave from where you were, there is a seasonal offleash area? Huuuge open fields, apples in the fall, but maybe more chance for Wootie to do his disappearing act.

Katherine said...

FL you give me hope! One of my dogs is a Borzoi. Want to talk about hunting? Want to talk about rapid decamping? I have often sighed wistfully at the thought of a BC that I could actually train EASILY to COMEDAMMIT. Now I have peace. All that is BC is not canine gold.....

Anonymous said...

My Copper likes to take off on me sometimes. Only sometimes though, when he knows I'm really, really distracted. And like Wootie, he always comes home. But, I DO NOT like that behavior! Nor do I like his barking crap at our horse. And I've not gotten him to stop!

And my Freya hunts. A LOT. Since moving here to this farm in August, it's become her favorite pastime. She's better at it than the cats, all 6 of them combined! However, she is starting to pull the "What? I can't hear you!" routine now from time to time. But, I'm more likely to cut her some slack as she's getting up there in years.

But, no slack for Wootie! He's not old yet!

If you solve Wootie's recall issue, let us know. And how did Reudi break Wootie of his sheep issues?

Alaska said...

I have a GPS for you. My email is broken right now (much to my dismay), but if it doesn't come back up soon I'll find some other way to get in touch.

painted_ponies said...

I don't know if you've already tried this, but -
back in the day, one used a doubled piece of cord a few inches long as kind of a jump ring between the collar and the long line. The theory was that, once the long line was removed, the short piece of cord was still left attached, and the dog, feeling weight on the collar, didn't realize he was free and unfettered and able to cause his owner grief and worry. :-)
Anyway, best of luck.

Jo said...

Incredible photos and I'm so glad I've found your blog - it's joyful!