Sunday, January 25, 2015

Distance Is a Relative Concept

We consider distance an objective value. We measure it as the amount of space between things. We measure it in inches, yards, miles ... or their metric equivalents.


That is as objective as it gets, isn't it?

A mile is a mile is a mile is a mile.

This kind of reminds me of an old joke, though:
"What is heavier? A pound of feathers or a pound of steel?"
A pound is a pound is a pound, right?
Would you still think that if you dropped either of those on your toe?

Cookie got me thinking about these things.

When she goes exploring in the bush and gets 300 yards away, I am on pins and needles. It is further than I'm comfortable with. Does SHE think she's gone THAT far? Nope, she does not.

I got thinking about it and I figured out why.

For me, to make it 300 yards through the bush and snow would take a LONG time. 

For Cookie? Cookie's top clocked speed through the bush is 20 miles an hour. That is 35,200 yards. That is 586 yards a minute.

Cookie can cover 300 yards in 30 seconds!

Is 300 yards still far away then? Not really, is it? That makes distance very relative. Relative to how fast one can cover it. It becomes a matter of how fast, not how far.

Just check out the distance between Cookie's leaps.
Looking at it that way, I have to give it to Cookie that keeping under 300 yards is indeed staying close around.

From her perspective anyway. My idea of staying close around SOMEWHAT differs from hers. I'm measuring it by how fast I COULD get there.

The mismatch in our athletic abilities is a source of dilemma. For me. 

It's not that Cookie doesn't come back. But what if something happened out there, all those 300 yards away? How fast could I get there to help?


On the other hand, Cookie craves the freedom to explore the bush.

She thrives on running around following animal tracks and whatever else she finds so desirable out there. We don't want to take that away from her. After all, what else would we have 80 acres of property for?

I came to two conclusions.

The only meaningful way of measuring distance is in time units. And I have to seriously work on running through the bush faster.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy? 
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT) 
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two  
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See" 
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers 

34 comments

  1. This is a great way to describe distance--good luck with the training on running through the bush; I have accepted that Barley will always be much much faster than me, but luckily for me, she feels much more confident when she's right beside me, so usually she's no more than 20 feet from me since that's the maximum distance we trained sit-stays and down-stays at :)

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    1. Cookie is plenty confident. She does seem to have some sense of staying "close" but her close and our close aren't the same.

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  2. That's a very enlightening perspective! Living with cats, I'm thinking I need to work on running the stairs around here. Not sure I should leap an entire flight at a time though. ; ) haha!

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    1. LOL That could be a challenge [leaping the entire flight at a time]

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  3. If only we could run as fast as our pets!

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    1. I'm working on it ... LOL My wish is to become a werewolf. Shape-shifting at will. They Cookie and I could run through the bush together :-)

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  4. That's alot of space to run around. But it seems like she loves it. Try just more training on recalls so she can run free without you worrying that she won't come when called.

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    1. Yes, she has a lot of space to run around. I'm not worried about her coming back, I'm worried about her getting in trouble while away. If she got hurt somehow, than she could not come back no matter how much she'd want to. I'm a paranoid mama.

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  5. And you'd think the snow would slow them down - nope! It's just a fun obstacle!

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    1. Yeah, you'd think. Won't slow down a flying dog. Did you see the distance between her landings?

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  6. where are you?? Oh, practicing running in the snow?? We have to rely on their good sense to hand things, and return when they are done. Nothing else to do other than constantly be their anchor. LeeAnna at not afraid of color with Cole the poodle

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    1. LOL Yeah, need a lot of practice. Snow and brush, just so it challenging enough. :-)

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  7. One way to look at it is the increased exercise you get trying to keep up!

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    1. Oh yah, Won't take long before I'm ready for Olympics.

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  8. Perfect, this makes me want to get off this computer and go run around :-)

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  9. Excellent observations! My Boxer girl, Delta, seems to have the same measurement of distance. Unfortunately we only have 4 acres and I am very worried about what she could get into without some human guidance. I tell people that I have no worries about her running *away* - I am worried about what could happen while she's running *around*. Like your Cookie, she is fast, confident, and loves to leap around. Our best compromise right now is a very large fenced in yard with plenty of room for her to "burn" in circles. That plus lots of training to keep her mind and body busy. But someday I would like to feel comfortable enough that I could really let her rip in some wide open spaces.

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    1. Thank you, Julia. Yes, I'm not worried about her running away. I'm worried about what could happen while she's out of reach. The way it is up here, we have no way to fence anything right now, plus during the walks she'll want to run, explore and chase critter tracks. So all I can really do is to prey and trust her instincts.

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  10. I love how you always share such a great perspective on seeing things through your dog's eyes. 300 yards is TOO FAR for me, but I acknowledge I am an untrusting woman who has seen her dog take off after a rabbit too many times.

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    1. Thank you! I'm working hard on understanding her point of view. Yes, bunnies are often involved, even though mostly just tracks. Only the two times when she introduced us to the "death scream" an actual bunny was involved.

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  11. Awesome post - it looks like it was a fun day too!

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  12. Oh how Mr. Henry would love to cover some of that ground. Too bad he's not great at recall!

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    1. Maybe if he practices, he can enjoy some freedom too.

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  13. I think animals just have their own sense of "where." The cats' ideas of close to home is very different from the goats'. Not that any of them listen to me anyway....

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    1. :-) I wouldn't expect a cat or a goat to listen

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  14. Yes, you must learn to run through the bush faster LOL! My Husky gets very frustrated at our much, much slower pace. You are both lucky to have lots of property for Cookie to run around in!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis & Phoebe
    www.dogsluvusandweluvthem.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, Cookie is certainly happy with the size of her turf. And yes, I'm working on running through the bush faster :-)

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  15. I have one obese kitty and the nutritionist said I should exercise him 15 minutes twice a day...I am terrible about doing what is recommended, even with exercise for myself!

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    1. Well, it seems to me that you could actually exercise your cat without exercising yourself?

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  16. I understand your concerns completely. When I lived up north in the cold country my dogs ran free on the property. Now, I have a coonhound that cannot be off leash like that. I miss it, but at the same time it's nice keeping him nearby and safe.

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    1. Yes, I'd prefer having Cookie stuck to my hip. But she would not be happy that way. So I have to sacrifice some of my peace for her happiness.

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  17. What an interesting perspective to think about.

    And 80 acres -- sounds like dog heaven!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Yeah, our guys love having all that space.

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