Sunday, April 15, 2012

Working in the Garden with Ruby

Can you believe that Ruby has been here for almost two months already?  In that time, she and I have been training daily.  Her 'sit', 'down', 'wait', and 'let go' are really reliable, as is her 'come' ... recall is an important and difficult concept for some dogs to learn.  ("Why should I go over to you", dogs think, "because the good stuff is WAY over here where I am.")

"What's that?"

Ruby's recall is good enough for her to go to the next step, off leash in an unfenced area, which is MOST of the property here.  If she's going to garden with me, she HAS to be reliable off leash.  We call it 'proximity training' ... the idea is to have Ruby within a certain distance of me at all times ... even within the fence.

"I know there are horses over there ... I can hear them!"

The first step is to put Ruby on a LONG training leash (20 feet) and have her drag it wherever she goes.  She will be like this for a while ... until I feel she is ready to graduate to 100% off lead.

"I'll just lay here and chill while you work, Mom."

Back to the gardening part of this post.  My goal yesterday morning was to plant the rest of the David Austin roses to finish the English Garden.  Ruby and I were at work fairly early, before the sun got too hot to have a black dog outside without any shade. 

"Are you finished yet?"

I planted 12 roses, moved three existing roses to make way for some of the new ones, and even put away all of my tools.

"There are people over at the Winery, Mom.  Can we go?"

Ruby was almost perfect while we were out.  She walked at heel when we were going back and forth, and she stayed well within the length of the leash at all times.  This training is going to make life much easier for me, since I won't necessarily have to leave Ruby in the house whenever I'm working in an unfenced part of the garden. 

"I like hanging out with you."

I could never do this with Daniel.  His recall is very reliable, unless he's spooked by something.  He has anxiety issues, and I cannot take the chance of having him scared by something and taking off.

I accidently snapped this photo while I was putting my camera back into my pocket.

The rose folks among you are wondering, "Which dozen roses did you plant?"  (We're always curious about which roses other rose gardeners are growing.)

I write on galvanized tags with a paint marker.  I have not yet had one of these fade or flake in the garden.

Completing this garden is one more thing to cross off my back-breaking To Do list.  All it needs now is some fresh mulch ... which I will order next week.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!


  1. Ruby is beautiful!

    What a great accomplishment to get your roses planted and transplanted. Finishing such a large task brings a sense of accomplishment and a great feeling. Now, sit back and enjoy the beauty of all your hard work!

  2. Ruby is adorable! It is really great that you are taking the time to train her correctly, it makes all the difference in keeping a dog safe and happy too. I also have a shy boy who spooks easily and cannot be off leash. Poor Bailey was abused before Sierra Pacific Great Pyrenees rescued him. Thanks for all your posts, love them all!

  3. Ruby has achieved quite a bit in her short time with you. I've only had one dog who had reliable recall. All of my three dogs now seem to think that the recall is an optional exercise, only to be performed when there is nothing more interesting to do. Fortunately, there is nothing more interesting to do most of the time, and they usually comply with the command, but I know that they can never be off-leash in an unfenced area.

  4. I LOVE your posts about your dogs; Daniel and especially Ruby are such lucky pups!

    Love hearing about them and all the wonderful strides you're making with your home and rose-y business!

  5. Thank you, Anonymous, dear. It's good to hear that you enjoy my dog posts as much as I love writing them. This blog is about life, and my dogs, our house, and my rose gardens are what we do around here.

  6. Ruby is gorgeous -- what a pretty girl. And how wonderful that she will be trained to be reliable off-lead. We only had one dog who could do that -- a sweet mixed breed. All of our Cavaliers have been dunderheads when it came to that -- too distracted by shiny things, if you know what I mean.

    I loved the glimpse of the green house in the picture of Ruby -- and your artsy tilted pocket snap!

    Glad to hear you are busy growing!

  7. It's always so much fun to hear what you've been doing in your gardens during the day, Connie! You're working so very hard and it shows! I've trained all of my dogs the same way you are - with a long lead - and treats in my pocket, of course. :)

    xoxo laurie

  8. Paint marker? Not a sharpee...tell me more, mine fade, it is very annoying! :) donna

  9. I think you have a winner with Ruby! She looks like such a smart dog. You have some beautiful roses-they are worth the work, I think.

  10. You are so fortunate that Ruby listens. Our newest one lives to run, not to run away, but just to run regardless of any consequences. We have to make especially sure she does not become off leash.


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