Between work, preparing to move, and Cody's new routine, I haven't been on much lately other than a quick comment here and there, so I thought I'd do an update.
A few days ago, Cody escaped from our back yard. A deer damaged our fence last week, and I thought that while it looked sound, the repair work might not have been quite as basenji-proof as I thought it was, resulting in him squeezing through a portion. Boy was I wrong! After we reworked and repaired the fence again, I took Cody out to play. We were having a great time playing with his ball when a helicopter flew low overhead and it spooked him. He took off, running at top speed, and leaped completely over the fence with a few inches to spare. Our fence is at least 5 ft tall. I thought my heart would stop! I knew that he was scared, and I was so scared for him. Luckily, he just ran two houses down. By the time I made it to the end of the driveway in our front yard, he was already running back toward our house. I remembered the advice to run in the opposite direction so that they chase you, so when I knew he could see me, I started running toward our front door. Thankfully, it worked! He chased me all the way into the house. He was only free for a few minutes, but it felt like hours, and all I could think was that he was going to get hurt, hit by a car, or become another of the many lost basenjis we've been reading about lately.
The strange thing is that in the 10 months we've lived here, he's never shown interest in jumping the fence. He has tried to climb it a few times, but I always caught him, and even that hasn't happened in recent months. I guess this is just another example of something that works until it doesn't. Needless to say, we take a lot more leashed walks, and he isn't allowed in the back yard off leash. He's not too happy about it, but I love him too much to take the chance of him jumping the fence again and actually getting hurt this time. He is getting used to it though, and doesn't grumble half as much as he did the first day.
On a happier note, we are going to start training again on Monday. Our first experience a few months ago wasn't ideal. The trainer claimed to use positive methods, and while she did use some, there were others that weren't so positive. Cody doesn't respond well to being pushed around or bullied, so his behavior worsened. The first time I was told to forcefully put him on the ground to show my dominance, I'm sure Cody and I both looked at her like she was stupid. While that may work for some dogs, I know my boy, and that would have just made him mad and even more defiant. We ended up not finishing the class. It's been hard finding a good trainer in my area, but one of my cousins used to work as a groomer at Petsmart and encouraged me to observe one of the beginners classes. I talked to the trainer afterwards, and she has had a lot of experience with difficult breeds prior to working at Petsmart, and she recently worked with a few older shiba inus. I was a little leery at first, because I've heard mixed reviews of their program, but after talking with her at length, the trainer really seemed to understand our problem areas and thinks that Cody will do well in the class, as do I. We have been working with training on our own, but I know that we can both benefit from classes.
While I doubt that training will help with our current fence jumping issue, I am looking forward to it.