Monday, January 31, 2011

Open gates

"The gate is open," a cry that can strike fear in the heart of just about any dog owner these days.  It has taken me several days to get it together to post about this since I was so mad, angry, lusting for blood when it first happened I didn't dare post anything.

Last Thursday at 3 a.m. I got up to hand the gate keys to the snowplow guy. I then waited for him to go out and unlock the big gates and bring the keys back to me.  The very last thing I said to him was, "don't forget to close and lock all the gates".  Get that part?  All the gates!

Over the years I have gotten myself something of a reputation for being lacking in sympathy when the cry goes out that someone has lost a dog or dogs because a gate was left open or a door not shut properly, or whatever.  If I respond at all, my very first question is why wasn't the dog or dogs trained to honor gates and doors, open or closed and why, oh, why, weren't the dogs taught to come when called.  Each time I would write such a post after I hit the send button I would always wonder just what sort of bad luck I was bringing down on myself due to my stance.

Back to Thursday.  When I got up, I just glanced out the window to make sure the plowing had been done the way it was supposed to be done.  At the same time, I made note of the fact the big gates were shut and locked, never thinking to look any further.  I opened the office door and let Sanity and Ellie out.  Next I headed downstairs to the kennel room and let out all the dogs who were staying with me.

With everyone outside I made my way back upstairs and went straight to the kitchen porch to collect buckets, unthaw them and put out fresh water.  Having taken care of their morning toileting, all the downstairs dogs were hanging around the porch waiting for the water buckets.  Put fresh water buckets down and headed to the kitchen sink to start washing dog food pans.  Barking.   More barking.  Even more barking.

Wait a minute!  That barking didn't sound right.  In fact, that barking sounded all wrong.  I dropped the pan in my hand to pretty much fly to the office door and check on dogs.  I could see even before I opened the door that all the downstairs dogs were accounted for since they were all lined up at the fence.  Not just lined up but staring intently at the street.

When I got the door open and stepped out on the porch my stomach sank and my heart started to race overtime.  Both the small gates were standing wide open.  For heaven's sake, we have not one but two gates that must be unlocked, unlatched and opened in order to get in or out.  The point is one of safety.  Well, so much for safety in this case.  Not only had said gates not been locked or even latched, they had been left standing open.  And just where, oh where, were Sanity and Ellie?

Ah, yes.  That barking that wasn't right was coming from them.  They were both all the way out at the street at the far corner of the property barking at a walker.  At least I think it was a walker, couldn't really see much because of all the brush, but I could have sworn I saw the tail end of a coat, walking, not running.

I called, "Sanity, come" and "Ellie, come". Only had to make that single call to each of them.  At once without any hesitation, they stopped the barking, turned on a dime, spit out nine cents change and beat feet at top speed all the way back to the house and inside.  I was so shook I simply called all the rest of the dogs to come back in as well.  To H*LL with the gates for the time being.  You can sure believe I was pretty snarky towards the snowplow guy.

A bit later, when the day really got going the gates did get closed and latched and all the dogs got to go back out and play in the snow.  Have you trained your dog to come when called no matter what?  Now I have to go back to the training board and refresh gate manners where Sanity and Ellie are concerned.  But, oh how beautiful a reliable recall is to behold.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Even if I didn't have a single thing to say I would have had to post something today.  How neat if this the date?  11111.  Wonder what that means in machine language?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Hear me shout!  Happy New Year!

Yes, I know there was a picture yesterday with lots of dogs saying the same thing.  However, I wasn't allowed to say anything and now I AM!  So there.