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How the fence failed me...


Some of you know that I have fenced ¾ of my property here in PEI which is an acre. The dogs have lots of space to run and play, sniff, and explore, chase crows and Voles, Sprocket is always on the go smelling and running around – watching the neighbors and people passing by on the road. (work in progress for him not to bark at them)


The main part of the fence was built last Aug 2023 and makes an L shape around the house. The second part of the property I fenced just a few weeks ago, making it a square at the top part of the property, with a 10’ gate to allow entry into that area.

Now the fence near the house, which runs along the front of the shed is on a bit of a slope and the fence builder made it, so the top of the fence is level meaning that this part of the fence is a bit shorter on the top of this knoll, and there is also a 10’ gate here as well.

On Saturday, I was energized and ready to get some chores done! Yeah me!!!! I started out weeding some garden beds – (last year when I got to PEI the garden beds were packed full of weeds and things that I really didn’t deal with because it was the end of summer and well I was exhausted by the time I got here and I did spend about 2 weeks inside painting so I did nothing with the garden beds) So I was working aways at the 1 large garden in the back and the dogs were playing in the yard.


I then decided to move to the front where there are 2 larger garden beds. I open the 10’ gate and ooops Sprocket popped out, ran down the lawn and was sniffing his way to the road – not panicking I quickly shut the gate so Slicks wouldn’t also get out and recalled Sprocket at first, he continued sniffing and I wondered if the fresh new space would entice him not to come but he did come running… I had some treats in my pocket and went to get one for him and managed to drop a large one but left it just to get him in the gate. Well, the treat dropped near the gate, once I got Sprocket in, I walked around the house to the front and went to collect the treat I dropped – it was gone meaning that Sprocket crawled under the gate and ate the treat, I mumbled “little shit” and continue weeding. I was sitting with my back to the fence and the dogs were literally standing at the gate watching me (whining a bit because they like to be near me) a few (maybe 10 minutes go by) and I look up from my weeding and well there was Sprocket sniffing the grass down by the ditch… WHAT! I jump up. My very first thought was MOTO!!!! How many times had I chased him around the townhouse complex as he raced out of the yard – many many many many times. Had Moto been chatting to Sprocket and showing him the ropes of exploring! (lol) The upside of Sprocket is he will mostly always recall thankfully!  I recalled Sprocket again and I ran to the small gate at the porch at the front of the house. Sprocket came running! In the fence area we went, and I think SHOOT he crawled under that gate to get the treat and now sees he can get out.


I then go find some plywood to block the area off so he can’t crawl under the gate. I went inside for lunch and to sit and figure out how I was going to fix my escape route. After I ate, I decided to carry on with my chores (sick of weeding). I decided to wash my truck and I am thinking all is good with the dogs in the yard because I have blocked off the gate now. As I am finishing up the final side of the truck I look up and see Sprocket again down by the ditch! OH MY GOD – I swing my head over to the gate and the barrier is still in its place – how? He must’ve jumped the fence. Well, I am screwed now because obviously he now knows how to get out, he will be out all the time without supervision. Ugh all the money spent on the damn fence, and I am still going to have to come out every time with the dogs to keep an eye on them.



I recall Sprocket again and this time he was like NO not coming – he ran over the property beside us and was smelling and farting around – I grabbed to hose to entice him to come play with that because he LOVES water… NOPE not coming. This third time he was not going to listen to me he was having some FUN! I started running, making crazy noises, jumping around and he finally looked up at me and I ran away from him and into the garage – he suddenly came bounding after me and was rewarded for his efforts because luckily, I had a bad of goodies in there from my training session that morning. Into the house we went – I am now in a panic, 1. I don’t want him getting hit by a car. 2. There is an aggressive dog across the road which I was warned by the owner to not allow my dogs down there. 3. He will definitely get excited about someone walking on the road and he will escape to go visiting.

 

My guess was that he was hopping the fence at the lower part of the fence, so my plan was to get some wooden stakes and screw them into the posts and then run some chicken wire along that get gain some height in this area.



So, Monday I made it to Kent and bought the supplies, came home, and started my project. As I am putting up the stakes out of the corner of my eye, I see a black shape moving through the fence…. I flash my head the side and there is Sprocket mid escape (since the Saturday I had put a 20’ drag line on him just in case) I am thankful he didn’t make it far and I caught the end of the drag line before he got too far away. What he was doing was making his way through the fence at the point where the last post meets the house – there is a gap there and I think he never tried it last year because there is a big Hosta plant that grows up right at that spot (obviously right now it is not there) so it’s a clear runway for an escape route.

 



Thankful he’s not going under the fence or over it as these are much bigger issues, I mangled a fix with the stakes I had and boarded up the hole.

To add insult to injury last night on their last bathroom break before bed, I let the dogs out and as per usual Sprocket is up at the new fenced area sniffing around. I was putting a load of laundry in the dryer, and I looked out the window and I see Sprocket upside down rolling in the grass. I shook my head and didn’t think much – suddenly he started eating something off the ground where he was just rolling. I then see Slicks racing towards him and she starts to eat something off the ground. AHHHHH

I ran outside and the damage was done. The “thing” was gone but the remains were all over Sprocket fur STINK! My god I have no idea what it could’ve possibly been – something dead. Now, all ready for bed it’s bath time for Sprocket. Lol you gotta just smile because when they are gone these are the things you are going to remember...

 



Some learning lessons of my story.

·         Dogs will figure a way and once it is found they will keep going to that same spot.

·         Have a reliable recall with your dog, these emergencies will happen even to the best of us.

·         Don’t assume that you have a secure place for your dog. They may have Houdini tendencies.

·         Never be angry at your dog for escaping- be happy and reward them for coming to you.

·         Don’t chase your dog when they escape – as that is applying pressure to them it will only make them run away from you. Call their names and run in the opposite direction of them to enter a game of chase.

·         Practice your recall on a regular basis so you are more “FUN” than your environment.

·         Remember “Your dogs are doing the best they can with the training they have been given and the environment they are in” (quote from Susan Garrett) Just because your dog will come in your yard doesn’t mean they are going to come once they have escaped out of your yard and have a million smells to smell or a bunny to chase.

·         Remember to smile and laugh at your dogs because they are a load of fun even though you can get frustrated.


I will be hosting another "MOTO COME! Pleeeease" workshop in June – stay tuned for the dates of this. I will be out practicing with Sprocket for now!!! He can do better – even though he is pretty good.






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