Or “How the crazy guinea hens breached the dog fence, and why I am thankful that some of our hard work at training has paid off (though maybe not in the way you’d expect….and let’s hope it continues to!).”
Guarding the perimeter of the dog fence has always been a big concern for the K9 crew, but surprisingly, they haven’t had much issue with this:
We were excited when we first saw the guinea hens roosting in our apple trees. We’d heard they could really fly high, but we hadn’t seen too much of it. It was fun to see them up in the trees. However, there had always been this worry in the back of my mind that one day they’d be able to fly into the dog pen, and we’re not sure how the dogs (mostly Luke) would react to that. That day came.
Now, I want to say that we just love these birds, before I tell you that we’re not too sure how smart they are. More than once I read online where people had said they weren’t, and I thought they were maybe being kind of mean. Maybe not so much….maybe they were just telling it like it is. It seems the birds could perch up on the fence, then fly inside the dog pen, but when it comes to flying back out? That might be an issue.
Just a couple of days ago, I literally had to herd them out of the dog pen through the gates multiple times during the day. We know that Cricket wouldn’t hurt them. She, in fact, just ignores them most of the time, though she has occasionally run along the fence after them.
We’re not so sure of Luke….he has always seemed to have more of a prey instinct. So now every time we want to let the dogs into the yard, we have to check to be sure the guineas are not in there. This is a time when their noisiness comes in quite handy. Usually if they are in there, they’re making a racket because some are in and some are out (they don’t like being separated), so that clues me in to check.
However, my hubby and I aren’t spring chickens (excuse the pun), and we’re at that age, you know, where our memories aren’t always the greatest. I’m really afraid I’m going to screw up. I’m worse than my hubby, even though he has five years on me, because I’m always thinking about a million things at once. Things go out of my mind quickly. I’m always multi-tasking, but I’m not really that good at it.
That’s where all our hard work training Luke has paid off. Now you might think I screwed up and let him out when the guineas were in the yard, and our “leave it” training stopped him from attacking one. That hasn’t happened (yet). But this did:
The white guinea hen known as “Betty White” was in the yard, or maybe it was “Veronica” – I can’t really tell them apart, and we think they are both males anyway, but we haven’t renamed them yet. Our fenced in yard surrounds two sides of the house – the back where the patio is and the side facing the back yard where our deck is. You can’t see one end from the other completely because it goes around the corner of the house. We were getting ready to head outside to play ball, but I told the dogs to “stay” (that’s one cue they’ve always been good at!). I went out the deck side because that’s where I had last seen the birds.
I opened the gate in the thought I’d herd Betty out, only now they had moved to the other side of the house, where there is another gate. Nope, I didn’t close the gate, because, you know, I foolishly thought I would remember to when I came back. Only I ended up letting Betty out the other gate. There are also doors on both sides of the house, and the dogs were barking at me from the patio door, so I opened that one to let them out. Then I started throwing the ball for Cricket. It was only a couple of minutes before I headed towards the deck, wondering where Luke was.
Panic set in as I realized I had never closed that gate and Luke was gone. But I only had to yell “Luke, here!” once and guess what? Luke came running right back into the yard. He apparently hadn’t gone far (the last time he had escaped the yard was back when Sheba was still with us, and the two of them went for a frolic in the woods, so I was expecting the worst). Thank you, God. This happened on the Dadz’ first day at his new job, so I would have been on my own in finding Luke.
I praised him up and down, as I breathed a huge sigh of relief that he immediately listened when I called him. Our recall training has worked!
We still have the issue of the guineas getting in the yard, though I do have to say that at least twice the following day, they did fly out of the pen on their own. I’d like to think they would be smart enough to fly up and away if Luke does get out and chase them, but I’m not convinced of that (remember, they’re cute, but smart is still in question). Hopefully the whole thing never gets put to the test. Maybe their fascination with the dog yard will wear off in time, and they’ll go back to just roosting in the apple trees. But just in case, I think Luke and I will be doing some extra “leave it” training now too!
Thank you to Brian’s Home for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop. Please visit other blogs through the links below!