Dogs

Are You Listening to Me?

Coyote Drawing

A couple weeks ago, while I was cleaning Luke’s and Murphy’s stalls, I heard Java barking outside the barn. 

I dropped my manure fork and ran out the back of the barn. I saw two coyotes in my pasture, staring at Java, who was still barking and moving towards them.

I walked quickly towards Java, calling for her to “Come!” Then frantically began yelling “No!” when the coyotes started running towards the woods at the back of the pasture, and Java took off after them.

Java is about 10 months old. She’s pretty good at following commands… eventually. She has a habit of taking her sweet time about acknowledging that you exist, and that you’ve actually told her to do something. 

Java Ignoring Me

Java ignoring me (I’m to her left).

And like most pups, Java is very playful. She assumes everyone is her friend. People look at her size and say, “Oh, at least she’s big. She’ll be okay.” 

Right… At the first sign of trouble, Java will flop on her back, legs up in the air, and pee all over herself. She’ll be just fine…

As Java ran towards the woods, I was screaming, “Stop!” “Java, Come!” “No! No! No!!!” 

Half way across the pasture, Java finally stopped, turned, and looked at me.

“Good girl. Come Java.”

She looked back towards where the coyotes had run. She looked back at me. Back towards the coyotes. Then finally turned and ran back to me. 

I knelt down, hugged her, petted her, told her what a good dog she was, gave her a treat, then took her in the barn and closed the door so I could finish cleaning stalls. By the way, Luke and Murphy never stopped eating their hay during this whole sequence of events. My heroes…

Since that episode, I always have treats in my pocket, and I call and reward Java for coming on command every chance I get. 

Java Treats

Handful of treats (with a little pocket hay mixed in). See Java in the background ignoring me?

Yum
Java after having a treat. Yum!

Java still doesn’t respond fast enough, even without the temptation of a coyote. I’ve seen another coyote since then, but fortunately, Java missed it.

After reading KB’s blog, Romping and Rolling in the Rockies, I’m thinking of following in her footsteps to train Java to not chase coyotes (or other animals). Like KB, I hate to resort to using a shock collar on Java when she chooses to ignore my calls to “come”, but if a shock collar will get Java to listen to me right away, it could save her life, and that would be worth it. 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    Java is beautiful. Wow.

    It’s terrific that Java chose you over the coyotes! Based on that, I think that you have great hope of training her not to chase them without the use of a shock collar.

    I think it’s key to practice recalls when the coyotes aren’t there but in the same places as you’ve seen the coyotes. When our dogs were pups the age of Java, I actually cooked up steak to use for recall training in the locales where we saw wildlife (or you can buy deli roast beef). I’d only use the steak for that one purpose – and I’d give each of them one tiny piece at a time up to about 10 each for each recall. You want Java to think that coming to you is the best thing in the world!

    I learned this stuff from an awesome dog trainer – I didn’t think it up myself.

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