Past experience with my dogs has shown me that if my dog escaped, he would not return. He’d continue on his merry way, oblivious to the traffic dangers, regardless of my calling him.
Well, I got a pleasant surprise just now. Tyler escaped. Again. No, that wasn’t the surprise.
Previously, a service man left the gate open. After that, Tyler simply jumped over the rear fence a few times. So, I built that fence higher so he couldn’t get into the side yard. Unfortunately, one of my tenants thought it was “cute” to entice Tyler to climb over the old gate that remains.
That’s all he needed. Thanks to that tenant, he discovered how easy it is to get over the chain link fence and into the other part of the side yard. Which is not a problem… as long as tenants and service people close the second gate.
With two fences to scale, I figured Tyler would give up after the first one, even though the front fence is only 4-feet high, an easy leap for him. Generally, this is true.
So about 15 minutes ago, he had a strong urge to fight his way over the back gate, pushing aside the temporary blockade I slotted above it to keep him in. I saw him make the attempt, but then give up. I thought he was safe and that he wouldn’t try again.
A few minutes later I went to check the front gate and it was wide open. I stepped outside to close it, looked back at the rear gate, and the barrier had been moved far to the left, leaving a gaping hole on the right. Tyler was gone.
“Crap!” I said, and called out, “Tyler!”.
At that moment, I spotted him across the road, sniffing around my neighbor’s house. Tyler has become infatuated with their female husky. I can only assume that he became excited enough to scale the gate when he smelled her scent on the breeze, or maybe the presence of another male.
Needless to say, I panicked. I could hear a car coming up the road and knew that there was a huge chance he’d get hit if he tried to cross back. Traffic frequently speeds on my street, which is supposed to be 40 km/hr. You’d never know it.
I stepped through the gate and noticed a small pick-up truck on the other side. If Tyler ran out from behind it, he surely would get hit. I heard another car and was ready to freak out when Tyler tore around the back of my car on his way towards me.
My first instinct was to make some comment about his leaving the yard. I know I’m not supposed to scold him when he does the right thing (even when it’s right after doing a bad thing). He immediately crouched down, tail between his legs as he approached me. I changed my voice to a kinder one and ordered him into the yard.
Once inside, he knew he’d done something wrong, but I also knew I should praise him for actually coming back on command, something I had not expected.
Of course, as soon as I said, “Good boy!”, he got excited and happy, and tore off into the back yard.
It’s difficult to keep your cool when your dog is in danger from something he did wrong. But it’s important to let it go and show your dog that he was good to come back home.
Guess what I’ll be doing as soon as the weather warms up a bit more. Yep. You guessed it. Building the gate to match the 6-foot fence I built last year. It’ll be a huge relief when it’s done, knowing he’ll have a tough(er) time escaping.