Or “How the crazy guinea hens breached the dog fence, and why I am thankful that some of our hard work at training has paid off (though maybe not in the way you’d expect….and let’s hope it continues to!).”
Guarding the perimeter of the dog fence has always been a big concern for the K9 crew, but surprisingly, they haven’t had much issue with this:
We were excited when we first saw the guinea hens roosting in our apple trees. We’d heard they could really fly high, but we hadn’t seen too much of it. It was fun to see them up in the trees. However, there had always been this worry in the back of my mind that one day they’d be able to fly into the dog pen, and we’re not sure how the dogs (mostly Luke) would react to that. That day came.
Now, I want to say that we just love these birds, before I tell you that we’re not too sure how smart they are. More than once I read online where people had said they weren’t, and I thought they were maybe being kind of mean. Maybe not so much….maybe they were just telling it like it is. It seems the birds could perch up on the fence, then fly inside the dog pen, but when it comes to flying back out? That might be an issue.
Just a couple of days ago, I literally had to herd them out of the dog pen through the gates multiple times during the day. We know that Cricket wouldn’t hurt them. She, in fact, just ignores them most of the time, though she has occasionally run along the fence after them.
We’re not so sure of Luke….he has always seemed to have more of a prey instinct. So now every time we want to let the dogs into the yard, we have to check to be sure the guineas are not in there. This is a time when their noisiness comes in quite handy. Usually if they are in there, they’re making a racket because some are in and some are out (they don’t like being separated), so that clues me in to check.
However, my hubby and I aren’t spring chickens (excuse the pun), and we’re at that age, you know, where our memories aren’t always the greatest. I’m really afraid I’m going to screw up. I’m worse than my hubby, even though he has five years on me, because I’m always thinking about a million things at once. Things go out of my mind quickly. I’m always multi-tasking, but I’m not really that good at it.
That’s where all our hard work training Luke has paid off. Now you might think I screwed up and let him out when the guineas were in the yard, and our “leave it” training stopped him from attacking one. That hasn’t happened (yet). But this did:
The white guinea hen known as “Betty White” was in the yard, or maybe it was “Veronica” – I can’t really tell them apart, and we think they are both males anyway, but we haven’t renamed them yet. Our fenced in yard surrounds two sides of the house – the back where the patio is and the side facing the back yard where our deck is. You can’t see one end from the other completely because it goes around the corner of the house. We were getting ready to head outside to play ball, but I told the dogs to “stay” (that’s one cue they’ve always been good at!). I went out the deck side because that’s where I had last seen the birds.
I opened the gate in the thought I’d herd Betty out, only now they had moved to the other side of the house, where there is another gate. Nope, I didn’t close the gate, because, you know, I foolishly thought I would remember to when I came back. Only I ended up letting Betty out the other gate. There are also doors on both sides of the house, and the dogs were barking at me from the patio door, so I opened that one to let them out. Then I started throwing the ball for Cricket. It was only a couple of minutes before I headed towards the deck, wondering where Luke was.
Panic set in as I realized I had never closed that gate and Luke was gone. But I only had to yell “Luke, here!” once and guess what? Luke came running right back into the yard. He apparently hadn’t gone far (the last time he had escaped the yard was back when Sheba was still with us, and the two of them went for a frolic in the woods, so I was expecting the worst). Thank you, God. This happened on the Dadz’ first day at his new job, so I would have been on my own in finding Luke.
I praised him up and down, as I breathed a huge sigh of relief that he immediately listened when I called him. Our recall training has worked!
We still have the issue of the guineas getting in the yard, though I do have to say that at least twice the following day, they did fly out of the pen on their own. I’d like to think they would be smart enough to fly up and away if Luke does get out and chase them, but I’m not convinced of that (remember, they’re cute, but smart is still in question). Hopefully the whole thing never gets put to the test. Maybe their fascination with the dog yard will wear off in time, and they’ll go back to just roosting in the apple trees. But just in case, I think Luke and I will be doing some extra “leave it” training now too!
Thank you to Brian’s Home for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop. Please visit other blogs through the links below!
Jodi Stone says
Good job Mom!! I’m glad your hard work has paid off!!
I have the same problem you do, there are too many things running through the mind, and I start one thing, get distracted by another and I feel like nothing ever gets done.
Even being out of work, and conceivably having all the time in the world, I still can’t seem to get a lot done! LOL
Bell Fur Zoo says
Dat are pawesome Luke!! I are not sure I would have dat kind of will power. It takes efurything in me to leave da squirrels alone when Mama says “No leave it!”.
Matt (& Matilda)
Well, squirrels – and chipmunks – are another story! 🙂
Sand spring Chesapeake says
Way to go Luke!! Glad he came back right away.
It was such a relief!
Scylla, Fenris, Tuiren, YinYang & Chimera (ATCAD) says
Fenris here, me and Tuiren ignore the birds that fly into our yard for the most part, squirrels are a different matter.
Oh yes, there’s a lot of squirrel (and chipmunk) chasing that goes on here…they are definitely not welcome in the yard!
Lynn LaChance says
Ha, good comments here, but I loved the “what a bunch of bird brains”!! That about sums up those silly birds! Not nice of them though to make your job that much more difficult…here’s hoping for sure that Luke watching them calmly is a good sign. You might think that if he gets used to seeing them, he won’t think of them as some predators he has to chase, should he be in the same place they are ever! But congrats on a good training job, SO happy Luke came right back, cause that must have been the worse stress in your day in a long time, frankly!
It sure was! He is such a good dog, in so many ways…so I hope he’ll be good about the guineas too (though he was chasing them along the fence today, so I’m still not sure if he’s just playing or wants to eat them!).
I’m so glad that you didn’t have to go out and look for Luke on your own! It’s always nice to see all of the training pay off.
It definitely is. Some things you train and wonder if you’ll ever really need them, and it’s nice to have it proven worthwhile sometimes!
The Island Cats says
We’re sure those hens will be able to fend for themselves…but it doesn’t look like Luke will bother with them. Or at least we hope not.
I think (hope) that they will remember they can fly out when they need to!
caren gittleman says
You should be proud of how well you trained Luke and that he listened! What a good boy! those hens are hilarious!
I am very proud of him (and myself too)! The birds are definitely an endless source of entertainment!
Melissa Clinton says
Whew! I know that scared you. I have to admit to laughing about the guineas’ story.
I think entertainment is the guineas’ most important job! 🙂
Monika & Sam says
How pawsome Luke responded so quickly! Well done on all your training. Good luck with the birds. Any way you can clip their wings to keep them from tempting fate?
Because they are free range, we can’t do that, because then they would not have that defense (flying away) if they were ever to encounter a predator (and hopefully that’s just what they will do if Luke ever does get to them).
Brian Frum says
I am quite sure you are nervous but you are right, that last photo of Luke all calm watching them is a really good thing. Thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!
Dolly the Doxie says
Taffy would kill every last one of those hens without thinking twice and what she didn’t get I would have. You have some good dogs or dogs that don’t know they’re dogs.
I’d like to think they are just good dogs! 🙂 Cricket might join Luke if he were to do anything, Dolly, just like you might. She does chase the guineas on occasion, but they’re just not a big concern to her.
They both seem more interested in chasing the guineas…Luke was doing that outside today, when they were on the other side of the fence. But at other times he ignores them completely….so it is tough to figure him out!
Shadow and Ducky's Mom says
You’ve obviously done a great job training Luke! Keep up the good work! The hens will learn, eventually. Maybe they’re just “scatter brains” like some of us humans (myself included at times).
As for multitasking? I’m not that good at it, either, especially since I stopped working and didn’t HAVE TO be any more. I try to limit my multitasking to feeding Ducky while I make our breakfasts. Or keeping an eye on Shadow while Ducky’s on the treadmill.
Maybe my problem is being unemployed and sometimes unfocused then? I’ve always worked better under pressure so that might be my issue….no rush when you have all the time in the world!
I guess we might now know where the term “bird-brain” comes from. LOL!
just watch it through the window Luke… to see them efurry day is better than to eat them on one day ;O)
we had such a disaster with our huskies… they chased 6 of our hens till they died…that was an epic lesson for me… and a sad one too…
Oh, that is so sad. I hope we don’t have to learn any lessons like that…we try to stay diligent, but it’s so easy to get distracted….
Wow what an adventure! Your recall training really worked well. I’m like you, I panic if I can’t find Daisy. I guess the guineas are living proof of that old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” 😉 I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that they decide the apple tree is lots more fun than the dogs’ side of the fence.
So far, no go….they’ve been in the yard every day, several times a day, but I haven’t seen them in the apple trees again! Before this started happening, I’d often see them outside the fence, staring in and squawking, so I guess we kind of knew it was coming! 🙂
lol just keep calm Luke 🙂
Edie Chase says
What a bunch of bird brains, the guinea fowl, not the humans. 😉
Hahaha, good one, Edie!!! (and thanks for clarifying….LOL)