Meanwhile, his leash was getting shorter every week. Whether he chewed it down or wore it down, we weren’t sure. Someone then suggested that we try something different. We began watching the “Dog Whisperer” more often, and thought more seriously about Caesar Milano. I figured that LeeRoy would be a real challenge for him. He is great with dogs that are vicious and weird, but I noticed they are always in reach, approachable. What about a dog that you can’t get within ten feet of? We haven’t ruled this out yet.
So LeeRoy lay in our garden day and night, with the exception of brief patrols around the property (6.8 acres) to mark his possession. He stayed clear of us but never took his eye off of us. If Marcy went to the garden to work, he would no longer run away into the second field, but would lay 10 yards away and watch her. It seemed to me that he was warming to her.
As I continued my strategy of treats a both feedings, I noticed a change. LeeRoy was drawing closer to me (as long as I stayed at ground level). Within a few days of this new nearness, I tried something. I broke off half the treat and held the other half toward him. He gobbled down the half I had broken off and tossed to him and then he moved in for the remainder. He actually took it from my hand. Then jumped back. I tried another. He took it from my hand. So now LeeRoy was actually feeding from my hand. But it was still not consistent. Sometimes he took it, but the next morning when I tried it again, he’d react differently and not take it but barked instead. When he barked, I not only withheld his treat, but took his bowl and went inside. He would smell around where the bowl had been then sit down there. I opened the door and said, “So are you done making noise?” And would come out with his bowl and kneel down and hold out the treat. He took it. Then sat waiting for me to leave so he could finish his bowl of food. Now I considered this a breakthrough. LeeRoy was not only coming closer. He was taking treats from my hand. I didn’t have his confidence enough to reach out to pet him or move too quickly, but at least he was learning a new behavior.
Little did I know but another interesting breakthrough was about to take place . . .