Figuring it out
Yesterday I took my two poodles to a park they where they love to run. It is a strange sort of strip area where I have only twice seen other people with their dogs. A long wooden fence runs the length of the field which use to have a broken spot at the top where the dogs could go onto the canyon side to have a sniff around. It has since been repaired.
The canyon is beyond the fence and I always like to take a panoramic peek before leaving the park. I'm hoping one day that I will actually see something cool down there. So I climbed up and over the fence; it is a wood rail type fence with wood posts and three horizontal wooden rails. As soon as I started to climb the fence I realized that the dogs were going to want to come with me.
I wasn't even over before I heard the first whimper; yep it was Luke. Once over the fence I had to convince him that he could indeed make it through the middle space. The fence is too high to jump and too low to go under. With Luke's chest as deep as it is he was just going to be able to squeeze through the middle.
This is when communication is important; if you do not have a way to communicate to your dogs it is difficult to explain something to them. Keeping in a zen state I told him and motioned with my hand "this way". He works himself into a tizzy, whining and pawing at the fence and decides to find another way. I don't often use the word "no" with my dogs; usually saved for a very bad behavior but mostly stopping a behavior in its tracks. This was one; as he charged off to find his secret way over the fence I yelled NO. He stopped immediately and came back.
The secret to Luke is calm; it help combat his hyper excited state. It didn't take long once he calmed down and he squeezed through; just making it with that big chest of his. Now Tilley was next; she on the other hand is calm but thinks she knows a better way as well. I call her and motion to come through; off she runs down the fence to find the old opening that unfortunately is now gone.
I call her firmly and ask her to come through again. Tilley is watching my head instead of my hand so I move my head to the middle section and presto she's through. Funny I was communicating with Tilley in the same physical manner yet she watch where my head instead of hand was and as a determined smart girl; I had to be firm with her so she would follow my lead instead of her own; very different from Luke.
Once we have a good look around the canyon it's time to go back through the fence.