Friday, November 4, 2011

Dog Park Double Gates and
the "Come" Command

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© courtesy tequilamike via Flickr
Double Gate System for Safety
at Most Dog Parks
Check out these double gates and you'll quickly see why dog parks need them. If only one gate were installed here, the dogs would all be out and the owners would be singing the blues: 
  ♫   "Who Let the Dogs Out?"  ♫

Last weekend our Sunday trek to the dog park took a sudden turn from fun into a moment of fear. Fortunately for us, Tanner's training kicked in. Here's what happened, and I share this as a lesson in what can occur if you don't have a great "Come when called" and double gates at the park that are all closed.

Tanner is a natural Houdini. He opens gates, crates, child-guard latches, zippers and yes, even dog park gates. Two of my kids (I can still call them kids, right?) were home for a visit and we all ventured to the dog park for a little fetching fun. When the kids headed back to the car for the forgotten ball, Tanner decided to let himself out and follow along. 

One of the park visitors who was coming in as Tanner was letting himself out gave a holler and alerted me to the situation, as I was at the other end tending to Oliver. One "Tanner! Come!" and he bolted back to the park, looking confused about his family being split into two groups. Nevertheless, he knew what Come means and Come he did.
"The Kiss"
Captured for Posterity

As I swallowed the lump in my throat, Tanner ran to me, licking my face and simultaneously looking back at his "kids". "It's okay, boy. You stay with me", I told him and he followed me back to the group of dogs that were enjoying a cooler than usual day of frolicking.

I'm no professional dog trainer, but COME is IMHO, THE most important command you can teach your dog to protect him from danger that he may not be aware of. Take the time to work on it; he's worth it.


Dawn said...

Good dog, Tanner! I too have had a scare or two. Maya was the one I worried about most because when she gets her happy Labrador crazies, all training goes out the window. But she surprised me the other day when she pushed her way out the front door to go check out someone walking by with their dog. "Maya, Come!" I yelled and she turned right around and came back. I was stunned. All the training paid off beautifully.

I agree that the 'come' command is a very important thing to teach a dog.

Prudence said...

Great training! The double gates are great, but people have to pay attention too. She's going to work w/me on my stay and come commands!

Finn said...

Come was definitely the hardest, but now it's Finn's best command. I still don't let her off the leash though when we aren't in an enclosed area....I don't think I'll ever be comfortable!

Jana Rade said...

I agree, recall is the most important thing for a dog to know. But sometimes it helps to put precautionary measures in place. All dogs parks up here I've seen have double-gate. I think it's a good idea.

Kolchak Puggle said...

Good boy Tanner! We worked *really hard* on Kolchak's dog park recall. For several months we went to the park at the crack of dawn, so we could practice without distractions. I'm really careful only to use the command COME for positive things. (We use let's go to indicate we're leaving and for other things that aren't totally awesome.)

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

@Kolchack Puggle: Of primo importance: You're right...NEVER EVER scold a dog for not coming. When he DOES come, offer physical affection, major praise, and treats if you have them.

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