So you're probably already thinking, "WTF does that title even mean?" Well if you've ever met Loki, you know he's a cracked out mess with anything that he's never seen before.
"Ya, I see the cows, but they better not look at me!"
Without getting into positive versus correction-based training, (is anyone else out there as sick of the debate on that as I am?), I will say that although I use correction as one of my training tools, all of my fear-based training is done with either positive operant or positive classical conditioning. With positive operant, you would likely give the dog an alternate behavior under a stressful or fearful circumstance and reward him for the performed correct behavior. However it's much too hard to do that when you're walking 2 dogs, so I go with the easy one, classical conditioning: simply get out the food and start feeding the cracker whenever I think something may make him cracker. Therefore, when he sees cows, before he goes cracker, I simply just feed the food. Cows = nommy nommy = good feeling. Over time you fade the food and before you know it, they don't need it. And guess what? It's working. The first time Loki saw a horse or cow, we couldn't get 500 feet away before Loki erupted with crackery. Now we can heel right past them without a need for a treat, no issues.
In the beginning, I'm able to get them to calmly sit while I take photos while on leash. Eventually I do it without the leash. Though Loki typically sounds like the more cracked out dog, and would appear the "problem" dog, between the two of them, it's Juno, the quiet stealth dog that I would never trust off leash with livestock. Loki is usually planning his escape from the large monsters while Juno is busy planning what kind of sauce would go well with her catch of the day.
"So would beurre blanc or beurre vin rouge be a better sauce for la viande de boeuf," asks Juno.
In another farm we encounter pigs. Oh those little piggies just LOVE us and run right up to the fence to greet us, much to Juno's delight.
"Oh boy, they're practically LEAPING into our mouths Big Boy!"
"Princess, that momma pig doesn't look too happy with you saying such things!"
I don't know what Wild Dingo readers think, but that look on Juno's face... it's trouble.
In yet another pasture, a horse prances about while the dogs stay on a down and watch.
"They look like big dogs, but they don't smell like big dogs!"
"Daddy-O, I'd like to go give that horse a nice Siberian Bonjour if woo know what I mean!"
"No Princess, I don't know what you mean. But then again, I frequently don't."
"Maybe if I don't look at them they will go away!"
"Daddy-O, why don't you do what you were born to do and wrangle us up some boeuf?"
"Princess, I was born in a city in Tawain. What is it that I was actually 'born' to do exactly?"
One of those cows has horns--not exactly the kind of cow you want to mess with!
On one of our walks, in the middle of nowhere, we come across a different type of animal. Fence fighters inside the building. This had Juno mesmerized.
"Oh man Big Boy, that just looks like heeps of fun."
"Maybe next time boys, I'll be able to come play with you!"
"Hey mom, it says there are eggs for sale. Let's go buy some eggs. Paaleeassse?"
Like I'd fall for that line. Do I have the word "Sucker" on my forehead? Look at that stare. Ears forward, piercing eyes. Good thing for the fence. That chicken would be Siberian stew if you know what I mean.
"Cow alert! We're coming up on some cows Mom!"
"Hey Princess, what do you call a grumpy cow?"
"Hush up Big Boy, I'm planning my dinner menu."
"Moo-dy! Get it?"
"Big boy, don't quit your day job."
"Sigh. How unfair it is to tempt a Siberian in this manner! I demand retribution!"
"Oooo. That sounds great Princess. What flavor does retribution come in?"
"Daddy-O did you notice that Mom isn't attached to us? I'll distract her. You go do what Shepherds do best: herd us some steak!"
"Princess, thanks, but I'm ok right here. I just ate an hour ago."
The other day I was on my bike and had to stop for this below. Try to contain yourself. This is real Swiss excitement!
The movie leaves you with the age-old question: why did the cow cross the road?
No cash for the treat jar but you'd like to show the love? No problem! Connect with me on LinkedIn and endorse my creative writing skills. Thanks for the love!
"Your project is guaranteed to meet superior Siberian standards or I will fatally masticate it. You have my "woo" on that!"
"I keep your project safe from crows, coyotes, and flies. I prefer to be paid in salmon treats and tennis balls."
"I manage the treat jar & the staff's daily payroll of cookies and bones. The staff is excellent at math and let me know when I come up short."