Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I've been working with Duncan a lot lately about coming when called even when distracted. I don't take him anywhere without a handful of Grandma Lucy's dog treats in my pocket. On our walks I call to him, "Duncan, come," and his job is to return to my side and sit on my right foot. He's gotten pretty good at but ever since he discovered the rabbits months ago I have wondered what would happen if there ever came a time when he was off leash and stumbled upon one. Would his training matter or would he ignore me?

Tonight I found out.

After dinner at The Lone Star with Melissa I came home and let Duncan out. While standing with my face in the snow, fluttering on my eyebrows and melting on my cheeks, I heard a rustle behind me, opened my eyes and didn't see my dog anywhere, just a flash of red, a streak of cottony white and tracks leading around the corner of the building.

"Duncan," I called. I ran forward–visions of a car slipping on the ice in the parking lot and skidding right over the top of my dog ran through my head–and saw him chasing the bunny into the low shrubs that border a latticed patio. "Duncan, come!" I called, reaching into my pocket for the treat, getting it ready for his return.

And much to my surprise, he did exactly as I expected: he ignored me completely, pretended not to hear me and dove head first into the bushes, his tail and the sound of his snorting the only indicators that he was there at all. I have no idea what he'd actually do to the rabbit if he caught it, but after discovering that my command meant little to nothing to him, I don't think I want to know.

Obviously we've got a lot more work to do.

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