In march we used our tax return money to install that invisible fencing for our dogs.
We’ve finally had it long enough, and gotten used to it enough, that I’m confident in saying I LOVE it. I had hoped all along I’d love it, but you know, I needed to make sure it worked first. If you’re not into dogs or dog fencing, feel free to go away, come back tomorrow when I’m going to tell you about chocolate pumpkin bread.
And it did work, right from the start! In fact, both dogs picked it up almost instantly.
Reggie is a smart and independent dog. The kind of dog who does exactly what you want him to do 95% of the time because he knows it’s the right thing to do. But every once in awhile (or whenever you leave the butter on the counter) he does the wrong thing. And that look on his face the moment he looked back when you call before taking off into the woods – you can see in his eyes that he knows he’s misbehaving.
Jake is the opposite of that. He’s the loving, loyal, but slightly dim-witted dog. The one who would NEVER do anything you don’t want him to do. He just honestly forgot that butter on the counter is not for dogs.
So we knew we were going two very different learning styles on our hands. Reggie got shocked once, and again when we were testing the fence with food on the other side – and then never again. Jake didn’t get it at ALL until several days of food testing where he got bit regularly. Then Reggie wouldn’t even go near the white flags. Jake would head right up to them, but figured out the warning beep before the shock was actually that – a warning (it’s all about consistency with him, he’s not bright, so he needs the practice)
Then, at just 2 weeks, we broke the system. I’m ready to admit it was Entirely the fault of Stupid Humans. We were told to keep up the training for 3 weeks minimum, but after 2 weeks we couldn’t do anything to get the dogs to go near the fence* So we figured they were all trained up! And we’d read that once trained you could walk the dogs over the fence as long as you had a Fence Crossing Ritual. Something like putting down a mat over the fence, taking the collar off, and putting the leash on, then leading them over.
Yup, all that worked, but it was too soon. Instead of learning they had a fence and a ritual to cross it, they just thought the fence didn’t exist at the bottom of the driveway. We know this because they made several brave escapes through that weak point afterwards (ignoring the beeps, flags, and all)
So then we had to restart the training from scratch. And we focused it on that corner where the driveway goes. And we put little white flags into the driveway itself, so they rattled on the undersides of our cars.
And now the dogs are good again. We’ve had loose neighbor dogs, horses, people waving and talking to us from the road – and all the while my dogs stay carefully inside their fence. For their daily walks, we now have to load them into the car and drive somewhere**. It’s a bit of a pain, but since we often drive to the top of our little hill:
I really can’t complain too much.
*and you NEVER actively call them to/over the fence, or you’ll break their trust in you and loose all that hard won off leash recall action
**Sometimes we drive to the end of the driveway, park there, and do our normal walk. The key is they cross the fence IN THE CAR.