Runaway Dogs


Gardening with dogs is a challenge. Gardening with Loki (the Vizsla) and Juno (the Black Lab) has turned into my worst nightmare. They see me dig and they want to dig too. They see me pull weeds and they don’t understand why they can’t tear out flowers. They steal my small tools, want to sit on my kneeling pad, and in general make themselves giant nuisances.

But okay. I can deal.

Back when we moved in, Jim installed an invisible fence around three acres of our property. We trained our ‘then’ dogs by walking the perimeter with them and teaching them ‘watch it’ when they got too close to the boundary. When Loki and Juno came to us as pups, we trained them the same way. For the past five years, we left them outside, absolutely certain that they would stay in the yard. Other dogs came to visit. Our dogs did not break bounds.

Until this year.

“Where’s Loki?” became our favorite question. Chasing cars, running with the horses across the street, playing in our next-door-neighbor’s field, chasing squirrels and rabbits and birds.
We put up flags along the fence line. We walked the perimeter with them – again. We yelled “Watch it!” No good.

Finally, Jim (and sometimes I) had to go outside with them all the time. Even then, they’d sit at the very edge of the fence line, looking longingly off into the distance, turning every so often to see if Jim was still there and still watching.

It looked like we would always have to keep our eyes on those two!

One stormy day, Jim started talking about building a dog run from the garage door to the workshop. Not a big area, but a costly project. I started talking about walking the dogs like everyone else – on a leash. A bit weird in the country but it would keep them from going totally wild.

Finally, we agreed on a large kennel, one that we could move around the yard for sun or shade depending on the season. Combined with ‘watching’ them while they ran outside, giving them a playpen was the only way to keep them from running off.

And shhhhh – here’s my secret. I plan to keep them kenneled while I garden.


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