Thursday, February 28, 2019

Chronicles of a Rescue Dog, Part 9: Kai Comes Home From Boarding School

On Sunday, after two and a half weeks of missing Kai, Old Dog and I drove down to Kentucky to pick him up from "boarding school."

As soon as we got there, we could tell things had changed. Kai was in one of the outdoor kennels. He clearly recognized Old Dog's truck, but he didn't bark. He just wagged his stubby little butt so hard it looked like it would shake loose.

K9 Guy let him out and he ran to Old Dog. He started to jump up, but K9 Guy issued a sharp command and he dropped back on four paws. Old Dog praised him for his good behavior and he wagged his butt even harder.

He kept looking sidelong at me, but he didn't come over.

"Why is he ignoring me?"

"Because he's so used to taking advantage of you, he doesn't know how to relate to you now that he knows that's not okay."


Eventually, he did wander over and gave me the same joyous welcome.

Then the real work started.

K9 Guy demonstrated how to call him. He recommended using a two-tone call, like a European ambulance siren: Kai here! He said that two-toned call is easier to hear--that's why they use it for sirens. That up-note reminds me of the beer vendors at our local baseball park: Ice cold beer HERE!"

Kai's recall, which didn't even meet the level of "iffy" before we dropped him off, was flawless. (And now that we've had him home for a few days, it's still very good--even when he'd rather do something else, he almost always comes when he's called, which is huge.)

We spent another twenty minutes working on walking casually, with a loose leash, and in a more controlled way, with a tighter leash. On a controlled walk, Kai kept his gaze pinned on my thigh, ready to anticipate any change of direction I might take. This is one of the things I wanted him to learn in obedience classes.

It was amazing.

Outside, another dog K9 Guy is working with barked at Kai, but he didn't bark back,. He just wandered over to the kennel and gave him a friendly sniff.

Who is this dog and what have you done Kai?

Now that he's home he no longer:
  • Jumps on me when I don't do what he wants me to.
  • Tries to force his way out the door ahead of me (or when he's been told he has to stay)
  • Barks at the neighbors (much)
  • Races up and down the fence line, tearing the grass to shreds
  • Barks and lunges at people when we're out walking

He is, in short, a dog we can live with. We just have to make sure we don't let him slide back into bad habits.

(BTW--K9 Guy donated his services. He said Kai was a great dog who needed a forever family, and that was his contribution. How nice is that?)

Next week: We Interrupt this Honeymoon to Bring You a Dose of Reality


  1. I love a happily-ever-after ending. Congrats to you and Kai!

  2. So glad Kai can learn to behave. Hope the training sticks.

  3. Now you have a job with him everyday several times a day. It sounds like he got a second chance! Now maybe another class or a trainer that will come to your home:)


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