I have four border collies and we live in an in town neighborhood. We have a large back yard, lots of fun dog things to do, trees, gardens, and room to play and run. This is my laboratory so to speak. Everything new that I am working on starts here, all new sports, games, and/or behaviors. It is a great space and we love it. Our wonderful front yard has pocket gardens and fruit trees, and it’s a fun place to work and/or relax with the dogs. That’s my heart space, and my children and dogs enjoy it as much as I do.
But with all of this great space we also share fence lines with two other homes, and a busy street with a walking path that is used all of the time. We have gone years without conflict and the peaceful existence is awesome. But we have also experienced years with conflict. This is one of those years.
Our dogs have had friends in neighboring yards, but more often, dogs that they would like to see evaporate from planet earth.
When we moved here eleven years ago our one neighbor had two older Cocker Spaniels that would run down their kitchen patio stairs, bark and run the fence line, piss off all of the neighbor dogs, and then go back inside. He told me it was their way of saying HELLO! Over course I had another theory, some of which carried four letter words.
We have had renters on one side with rotating tenants and rotating dogs. It wasn’t worth the effort so we just put up temporary snow fencing and barriers so there was no rehearsing a behavior we didn’t want.
Franny loved to take on the challenge of another dog through a fence when she was younger. I worked on this fiercely for years, it was my mission so to speak. Now that she is older she just lays on her pillow and WOOFS a bit, but rarely goes up to the fence unless she feels there is true danger or malice.
Story and Ocean rarely if ever go up to a fence where there is another dog. They don’t want conflict, they would rather play.
$eeker, dear sweet compulsive $eeker. We have new neighbors with two border collies. They are in the yard all day unattended. Their owners seem pretty nice, and these are not out of control dogs, but boy oh boy do they have $eekers number. If they want a bit of action they kind of throw out the SIRENS call and $eeker willingly responds. Sometimes they wag tails through the fence and run it, and other times it’s growl and bark fest with ramped up energy. It’s a game, but not one that I like or want to encourage, at all!
$eeker will not come off the fence line, and what we have found is that if you call his name, it makes it worse.
Now if $eeker is working with me, he won’t even give the neighbor dogs an ounce of attention, it’s when work stops or we have down time in the yard while I’m gardening, or watering, or cleaning up. GAME ON!
I have to go through the raspberry patch, calmly put his leash on, and he willingly comes with me. If we are walking through the yard together I have to now say, “here to me” which is one of his stronger behaviors, and he does willingly 95% of the time.
This morning we worked on treibball and tunnels and he was blasting right past these dogs just on the other side of the fence, not an ounce of attention, even with their devious SIREN call. But when we stopped and everyone was cooling down and getting some water, he took off like a rocket for the fence. Today I followed with a camera. He let me get right next to him and even posed with his friends on the other side. I wanted to see if he could not only hear me, but respond with this incredible distraction.I asked for a kiss and he gave me one, I asked him to sit and he did, I asked for a paw and he lifted his right one. So I said “hear to me” and we walked out together. Bonus that I did not expect.
Because he is compulsive and patterns everything he does, I am going to put the snow fencing back up, and again, make this a non issue. He is such a good dog, and so smart, but I also know some of his limitations and this is one of them.
We went into the front yard to cool down, closed the gate to the back yard. Peace! Woosh… And then my neighbors who refuse to even carry a leash, and have taught their children that leashes aren’t necessary when they are out on a walk, let there dog come up on our property, to our front gate, and start a barking fest of sorts. I did mention that my front yard and garden space is my heart space and free of conflict right?
So we came inside and $eeker went into his crate. When he gets so ratcheted up in arousal he even knows he needs chill time. His crate is his safe place and calm place, and he will voluntarily go in there, which I appreciate and love. As for me, I went right to my favorite real estate sites and started looking at 40 acre parcels far away! Even some shacks in Tahiti were looking kind of inviting! I know it won’t solve anything, I’m painfully aware of that. But it’s cheap therapy on days like today!