Saturday, September 18, 2010
KOOKIE FLUNKED ELECTRIC FENCE 101
Some of you may notice a slight change in my profile. Unfortunately I had to give our mini daschshund, Kookie, back to our good friends, Ron and Janis (I sure hope they're still our friends).
Our son, Bill, adopted Kookie a year ago and because of his allergies, she quickly became our part-time dog. Sweet as a button but oh, so stubborn, six year old Kookie came with a myriad of behavioral problems. My husband and I were doing a pretty good job of encouraging her to make her necessary visits outside but Kookie likes to roam around and wouldn't come back when you called her. Because we live on such a busy street that's impossible to fence in, and with the approval of our vet, we installed an electric fence to make all of our lives easier and to keep her safe. Well, I think Kookie may just be the first dog to absolutely flunk electric fence training.
Over the last six weeks I tried everything possible to get her to adjust to the boundaries. The professional who installed the system worked with her and I continued her training, but as soon as we tried a test, Kookie would go right through the flags and get a shock. After this happened a few times, she became a different dog; shivering and shaking and refusing to go out at all. She started sulking (I kid you not!) and trying to hide in her crate all day. People she knows and normally greeted with great gusto were subjected to growls and teeth-baring. Our friend, Pete, couldn't believe his eyes when I laid out little pieces of ham in a trail from her crate to the backdoor to try to entice her to come outside with me. Nothing doing, even Kookie's love of ham wasn't going to get her to budge.
I spoke to the fence installer and she said I should give Kookie a break from the training for a week and then we would try again. Well, Kookie is certainly no dope; as soon as the electric fence collar disappeared, so did her sulking and shivering and she became her happy-go-lucky self, following me around the house and snuggling up when I sat down with my book. However, she seemed to forget that certain bodily functions needed to be accomplished outside.
I was determined to win Kookie over with love, patience and encouragement (not to mention fantastic food treats) and figured that eventually we'd be able to open the door, let her out safely and not worry about her becoming roadkill. So after her week's vacation, I put her collar back on and started the training again, hopping around with a white flag in my hand while saying, "Careful, careful.....GOOD GIRL" about nine thousand times a day. However, Kookie didn't want to be CAREFUL or a good girl and shook and shivered and ran right through the flags, getting a shock and then running back through the flags and getting shocked again, yelping all the way.
I took a look at Kookie a couple of weeks ago and realized that I was miserable and she was miserable and that having a pet is supposed to be a lot more pleasure than stress and knew that it just wasn't going to work. My husband who loves Kookie finally agreed that the decision was mine to make. Luckily for both me and Kookie, Janis and Ron have REALLY REALLY BIG HEARTS and a really small penned in area and lots of other small dogs so Kookie didn't have to go to the glue factory; she was able to embark on a new adventure stealing all of the other dogs' bones and trying to become the leader of a different pack.
Thank you to Betsy for trying her absolute best to make the electric fence system work for us, to Pete for trying to talk some sense into little Miss Kookie, to Candace and Doug and Robert and Stacey and Sue (in alphabetical order) for listening to my tales of woe and frustration, and especially to Janis and Ron for taking Kookie back into their home.
Kookie is a sweetie and she'll be missed but she really did fail Electric Fence 101.