It’s the very ‘leashed’ you can do

by Jill Dickie

Good dogs are hard to come by. The ones that are happy to stand by your side awaiting their next command, ready to perform perfect manoeuvres of athleticism as they complete your requests, and happy to lay in the sun at the end of a hard day’s work.

All too frequently, however, with potentially inappropriate training, the reality is they will listen when they feel like it and spend their days snacking on almost anything resembling food, chasing feathered playmates, and barking obnoxiously at everything that moves.

Obedience training goes a long way towards maintaining good control of dogs, and basic commands of ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and ‘leave it’ will definitely help people living rurally to keep their dogs inside the home boundaries.

Imagine somebody left your gate open and you see your dog preparing to make for the exit. If he’s learned ‘come’ or a solid ‘sit/stay,’ it could save his life. ‘Leave it’ is also a helpful command to use when your tail-wagger steals your work gloves, feasts on horse manure or chases chickens. 

Once a dog knows what is required of him, training him to work off a whistle cue rather than verbal is often quicker and more effective, and keeps your voice free for the sometimes necessary back up plan of curse words and arm waving!

While going through these training processes, well-maintained fencing will help keep your dog from wandering onto the road, chasing your neighbour’s expensive alpacas or even worse, biting at precious stock, which may, in turn, lead to their death. 

Once a dog starts this not-so-appealing habit, it is extremely difficult to have him stop. The use of electric collars and extra obedience training may work for some but not all, and sadly the safest option to protect against further incidents and injury is to put him to sleep.

It’s worth bearing in mind too that since many dogs excel at digging, jumping and even climbing — it’s difficult to make a fence completely canine-proof. If you want to ensure your pet stays home while you’re away at work, keep your dog confined in the house or a secure kennel.

It’s just as important to be a good neighbour in the country as it is in the city and that means not letting your dog wander over to your neighbour’s property to defecate, dig, or bother livestock and people, so ensuring those basic commands are solid will benefit all. Apparently, a lot of them work well with children and husbands as well!