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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll apologize in advice for this super long post!
I have a spoo, Dimika, who is a year and 5 months. I got a rescue Labradoodle, Buster, who is somewhere around the same age (never found out how old he actually is). They absolutely love each other!😍😍 In normal circumstances this is a very good thing, except when they start playing.
They become so absorbed in each other that they don't listen, even when names are called. I have to actually get between them or grab one of them to get their attention. But they still try to continue to play. Sometimes they listen if I have treats, but its not consistent.
The only way to tire them out is running or a lot of mind games, but if I do too many mind games they seem to get tired of them 😅 I had them off leash yesterday and it was going really good, they listened (somewhat), I had snacks that they love and then it went down hill.
My family and I recently moved to a 6 acre property. Its super big but its got a lot of steep drops, the ones where you get really hurt if you fall, and a major highway is close by. And to make it even better 😅😅, the area around us, for many miles, is private property. The person who owns it has traps set for predators.
Sooo, when the boys where out playing yesterday, they ran off to one side of the property that has a hole in the fence, they went through the fence 🤦‍♀️ (thankfully they didnt run off into the highway) and came back to the house. They stopped at the gate, which was closed so they could be off leash. Which was super good!! However when the gate didn't open fast enough they ran into a portion of the "trapping" property next to us. Which not only has traps, but a steep drop that if you fall you'll be close to the highway.
When they went into the property, they where playing, leaping and nipping each other. My mom and her fiancee had been calling for them (I was over by the fence they escaped through on the other side of the property) and they didn't even acknowledge being called.
Please help! I'm open to anything at this point! They're escapade yesterday and could have been really hurt or even lost their life.
 

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It sounds to me that the issue isn't so much that they pay more attention to each other than commands, but that they don't yet have a reliable recall in the face of having fun. I think several members here have had this issue at the dog park and such--other dogs are super tempting! As you've seen, even with treats, if the dogs decide that playtime is more fun/better than listening, they will not come consistently. They both need to be on leash until they have a solid recall at all times, especially with dangers around, so they can break the bad habit of not listening when called.

This video here goes over coming when distracted (the information actually starts at about 1:00):


Notice that he says months of training--a good recall takes a loonnngg time to set in, especially for teenaged dogs!

And this video here goes over it in more depth:


(Both your dogs are adorable, btw)
 

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I agree that working on recall would be ideal. Additionally, it would be good to schedule an activity that requires them to interact with you any time they are loose: fetch, hide-n-seek, flirt pole, etc. You may also find them more controllable if they are not allowed to run off leash together. It's less fun to run off into the woods when your partner in crime isn't coming along.

Finally, this sounds like one of the few situations where I would consider using an electronic fence collar. You have a barrier fence. The dogs have learned to disregard the barrier. Going outside that barrier could result in them being maimed or killed. For their own safety they need to learn that respecting your fence is non-optional. You can buy invisible fencing kits at a variety of retailers. The wire doesn't need to be buried; it works just fine if you strong it on your regular fence using zip ties. Depending on the kit, you can add extra wire to enclose very large areas. My horses' pasture, which is over 6 acres, has a wire running the entire perimeter. The physical fence provides a clear visual indication where the dogs should stop. The e-collar discourages them from trying to tunnel, climb, or go out a hole.

Normally I don't like to take training shortcuts. I don't recommend electronic fencing for suburban dogs. However, I know several rural dogs that have come to horrible ends when allowed to roam off property: hit by cars, shot by neighbors, trampled by horses, strangled after becoming entrapped, etc. A barrier fence combined with an electronic fence can save a dog's life in a rural setting.
 

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As already noted these two need super rock solid recalls. Work on it with each of them alone in the yard before trying to get them both to come back together.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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It sounds like littermate syndrome, no? As others have said, working with them independently is key, or they will always prefer each other to you. Is it difficult to repair the fence?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you! I do work on recall with them, but I haven't had time to in the past couple months 😅 all our work has been "forgotten"! Thank you FloofyPoodle for linking me these videos! I do try to work with them separately but they qre always more concerned with the other if they see them.
No, its not difficult to fix the fence, we just havent gotten to it yet. Its one of the next projects. We have been thinking about an electric fence, thank you for suggesting it cowpony! I will definitely do more working walks! Thanks guys!☺☺
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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In addition to working on recall and “play pauses” (stop play every couple of minutes, reward, let them catch their breath, then resume), is building a smaller enclosure an option?
 

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As I usually say to my puppy folks, if you don't have a recall you don't have a dog. Recall is practiced at least twice a week at our house for two 12 and one 5 year old.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In addition to working on recall and “play pauses” (stop play every couple of minutes, reward, let them catch their breath, then resume), is building a smaller enclosure an option?
Not at the moment unfortunately, but definitely in a month or so!
 

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I personally love my invisible fencing. We live in the country on a very busy road where people drive fast. My dogs would absolutely get hit on the road if we didn’t have it and it gives me such peace of mind knowing my dogs are safe and can roam our 3ish acres freely. I don’t see it as a shortcut, I see it more as a safeguard and being a responsible dog owner and keeping my dogs and people driving on the road safe while still giving my dogs freedom. Just my opinion! 😊
 

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You can’t alwa rely on an invisible fence. While most dogs respect the fence line, not all do. My neighbor had a lab that was constantly roaming while the three other dogs were on her property inside the fence line. This dog’s need to roam was a higher drive, than avoiding getting zapped by the collar.

You never know when something can happen that might drive the dog beyond the fence line and they they are afraid to return because they don’t want to get zapped again. Maybe a dog came on the property and chased them, or they chase a wild animal and forgot about the zapping.

I would make repairing the fence a high priority. Same with some dog training..... a few short sessions with each dog separately, one at a time. You don’t have to spend hours, even during commercial breaks from a tv show works well.
 

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I completely agree with Skylar about the limitations of invisible fencing. A strong prey drive at the sight of a deer, a dead battery in the dog's collar, coyotes on your property are just a few of the ways there can be a failure for an invisible fence. I also agree with Skylar that training doesn't take tons of time if done wisely.
 
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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I know a wonderful little dog that was ruined by an invisible fence. :( I don’t like them at all, but if you do decide to go that route, please do it properly. Letting the dog “just figure it out” is a lazy, horrible idea that sadly some fence installers will advise.
 

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I lost one of my childhood dogs when he dug under our fence and got hit by a car. He was a smart and determined dog; it took him five minutes to find and enlarge a gap enough to slip under the fence. I've also seen barn dogs and hunting hounds slither over five foot fences like eels over a fish ladder. Therefore, I feel rather strongly about the topic of fence security.

I 100% agree that invisible fencing should never be used as the only fencing. It is too easy for a dog to run through the shock, and it offers no protection if another dog or a predator strays onto the property.

I also agree 100% that electronic fencing should not be used in a suburban setting, where the dog may be on a small lot and will frequently have the temptation to run up to the property line to inspect passers by. This situation can teach the dog to be fearful of being shocked for attempting to interact with the neighbors.

However, in a rural setting you absolutely need to do something if the dog doesn't respect fencing and property boundaries. Keep the dog on leash, train the dog better, or improve the fence.
 

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I have a large pen (6' high) not sure just how long and wide it is but LARGE area, dog door AND electronic fencing. When I am home I open the dog pen and allow my dogs more freedom. I live in a rural area. The electronic fencing keeps them out of the road and out of the horse pasture. If I am not able to watch them (taking shower etc.) I close the the pen. I have used electronic fencing for many years with a variety of dogs. Not perfect because as some have said batteries do die so one has to be careful to periodically check that everything is good. And 4 legged company can come waltzing into the yard (other dogs) but that doesn't happen often and if the barking alarm goes off I check to see what is up. I'm happy with the setup. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You can’t alwa rely on an invisible fence. While most dogs respect the fence line, not all do. My neighbor had a lab that was constantly roaming while the three other dogs were on her property inside the fence line. This dog’s need to roam was a higher drive, than avoiding getting zapped by the collar.

You never know when something can happen that might drive the dog beyond the fence line and they they are afraid to return because they don’t want to get zapped again. Maybe a dog came on the property and chased them, or they chase a wild animal and forgot about the zapping.

I would make repairing the fence a high priority. Same with some dog training..... a few short sessions with each dog separately, one at a time. You don’t have to spend hours, even during commercial breaks from a tv show works well.
I am pretty iffy about the invisible fence, its mainly my family that thinks it would be a good idea. I truly think that Dimika would forgo the fence line just because he is super curious. 😅 His attention is easily diverted. Buster is pretty good to follow directions as long as nothing exciting happens around him, another dog, person etc.
We just got done with some bad weather so the fence will be repaired soon!😁 And we've been able to do more training, thank goodness😅 we've been able to get more settled since the move.
 
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