Dog trains man

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jumping The Fence

Tilde jumps a lot. Mainly because it is practical. It is about getting from A to B in the quickest way possible. She is not an avid jumper, and doesn't seem to jump for the pleasure of it. When she is on full speed, it is an impressive sight though.

Even more impressive are her cat-like jumps, where she almost jumps vertically into the air from a stand still position and makes a landing with all four planted solidly in perfect balance. It reminds me of our cats, who could suddenly jump from behind the couch on top of it in a split second, startling me in the process. Or while I was cuddling with them on the couch, they could suddenly eject and fly by the tip of my nose in lightning speed. Tilde does both of these things too, and she does it just as stealth and fast as a cat would have done it.

Out in the garden, I observed her, wondering if she would jump our three foot fence that divides our back garden from the front garden. I knew she could, but not sure if she also would. Hovawarts are no roamers - with the exception being when hormones are involved, as Viva had displayed before Tilde when she went for a walkabout, although Kenzo never jumped the fence in his pre-neuter days when he scented a female in heat.

The front garden is off limits, as a lot of people and dogs walk by every day, and we can't have barking Hovawarts unpleasantly breathing down their necks. She seemed to understand the boundary, until the day came and I went into the front garden. Tilde was joining me so fast, I looked back believing I had let the fence open by mistake. I had not.

Now I knew, and we would have to work on that. We started training not jumping the fence. It seemed to work and I could venture back and forth between both gardens again, until that memorable day a German Shepherd walked into the front garden. Judging Kenzo's barks, it didn't went unnoticed and it didn't take long before Tilde joined me and the German Shepherd, almost simultaneously with the arrival of a very worried owner. I quickly assured her of Tilde's good intentions and let the dogs have some fun.

Poor woman, seeing your dog disappear into a garden, to start off a cacophony of voluminous Hovawart barks. Her heart must have skipped a beat of what she would find. I also realized we were lucky, our visitor had no bad intentions either.

The other day we had friends arriving while I was in the front as well, and the same scenario repeated itself. I was mainly busy with rewarding Tilde for making a proper greet, jumping the fence is one thing, but jumping guests is even more not allowed, and I showered her with treats for not jumping up.

After that the mailmen visited with a book I ordered. He was new and not familiar with the dogs and was reluctant what to do, and I followed him back out through the front garden to ease his anxiety. Tilde loves mailmen and I could see on the man's face which turned pale in a split-second, Tilde was already approaching from behind. I stopped her in a perfect heel, and again I showered her with treats while telling the mailmen she was friendly.

This went on and on and I could share a lot more examples but you probably have already guessed where this story is going to end. And yes, indeed, today I can guarantee you with absolute certainty, Tilde will jump the fence when I am out in front and either dogs pass by, we get visitors or the mailmen is coming.

And why would she not? I have been rewarding her all the way, and made breaking out so much fun for her.

I thought about - again - to make a higher fence. Like we have towards our neighbor adjacent to the back garden. It is six feet tall. Until a pigeon landed on it, and Tilde jumped that fence too, landing on the exact spot the pigeon had been sitting, although this time her landing wasn't cat-like at all and I could just grab her while she was struggling what side of the fence to fall down of.

It is probably best for now, to remove the reinforcer from the font garden. Which in this case, is yours truly. When I come up with a better plan, you'll be the first to know.


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