|Learning to listen|
Yesterday was a rough day for Mouse. He has learned that he loves to chase live animals. Animals of any size or shape as long as they run. The cats make great chase toys, and if they just hunker down then he steps on them and puts their head in his mouth. They just let him torture them. I don’t know why. The chickens are one of his favorites. Unfortunately, he is very rough on the chickens. They emit a very unusual squawking noise when he starts stepping on them which excites him even more then they get louder and more desperate. He then starts to pull mouthfuls of feathers out at a time. This causes more desperation on the chickens part, therefore increasing Mouse’s fun exponentially! Luckily, I can hear this activity from 50 yards away and rush to save the chicken. This has occurred twice and the last time the chicken lost about half its feathers.
I was out front finishing dog proofing the front fence and opened the side gate to go feed chickens. I forgot about Mouse and when I came out of the coop the only critter around was Zeke. I hollered for Mouse, no response. I hollered a second time, no response. Then it dawned on me that the sheep were out on the hillside. I walked up to the top of the hill and saw Mouse at the far end chasing the sheep. I started running toward him and hollering. I should have concentrated on just running. But no, I ran all out and screamed at the dog continuously. He had singled out a ewe by now and was chasing her across the bottom of the field. The closer I got to him, the closer he got to the ewe. By the time I got his attention he was about a foot behind the ewe. She was starting to get tired. I hollered some more and Mouse came to me. I was not happy, but as Annmarie has taught me, I praised Mouse when he came to me. Reward for a positive behavior.
This is unacceptable, but I remember we had this same problem with Zeke when he was a puppy. When I went to town I bought a 30 foot long line for Mouse so I can help train him around the animals. He needs to learn some control and not forget who is the boss.