Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The obedient Wood Man

The Wood Man came to us in August just months after graduating from "Obedience Class" in NJ. In the top photo he is looking very obedient, letting me take a nap with his butt as the pillow. The next photo, however, shows the true spirit of the hound boy—tail wagging a mile a minute, proud of the mess he just made of my "kindling" by the wood pile while I was talking on the phone.

The days of Woody running free have ended for now. A week ago he ignored The Husband's calls and ran across Rt. 28 to visit the horses again! The Hub got him out of there and back across the street, only to have him turn around and run right up the middle of the road while cars were doing their best to avoid him. Four kind people had to stop to help corral the bad boy and send him back home.

Then he ran off again the next night (while I was in work) and the following night when I came home from work at 7 pm and could not get him in until after 9. And only then after hunting him down, in the dark, and leashing him. At least both of these times he stayed away from the road...we think... As far as I can tell he spends his night romps chasing the night critters in the woods. Maybe he's trying to live up to his name, Wood Man.

I was sorely tempted to borrow a shock collar from Don on the Hill, one that beeps before it shocks, and starts with a shock I could barely feel, but after doing some research online, I ended up on, a site promoting positive reinforcement training. Most if not all positive trainers hate shock collars, so I was pretty easily convinced that was not the solution. Turns out the humans are the ones who need the training, the dogs learn pretty quickly once they are given clear direction.

Pam Dennison, who runs the website, called me the same night after I e-mailed her to ask a few questions. We don't really know each other, but both graduated from Rowan as art students in 1978. Rather than signing up for her online classes (and because I need more immediate help!) I am starting with her book—The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training—which I've had for years but never read all the way through.

Believe it or not, Woody has already made some progress, but it will take many more weeks of training before I can trust him off-leash again. In the meantime he is taking out his frustrations on the wood pile, Sophie, The Hub and me! I told Pam I would take some photos and videos of the Bad Wood, so we could have something to compare to the fully trained obedient Wood Man photos. Hopefully they won't be too far off in the future.

Take a few minutes and check out this video from Positive Dogs. This will be our goal, Wood Man. To get your perfectly trained self back off-leash again, some time soon!


  1. Jersey Girl12/5/12, 4:31 PM

    Woody, be a good dog!!! You can do it, Woody! We know you are a good boy!!

  2. He'll get it. It takes some work, but I know he will understand. ~Lynda