When I first moved into my place I was pleased that the backyard was up against a greenbelt. Homes would never be built behind my home! Well, a couple of years ago the county decided to turn the greenbelt into a full-fledged conservation area with an extensive trail system. One of the main trails comes within a few feet of the back fence. Now, everyday and especially on weekends, a whole slew of people pass within feet of the backyard! Given the protective nature of German Shepherds, patrolling the backyard has become a full-time job for Bodie.
On a nice day like today, the puppy can get really worked up with all the mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers and dogs passing back and forth on the other side of the fence. The groups of bikers are the worst because they tend to yell to each other a lot. Bodie barks and whines and runs along the fence line. It is extremely difficult getting his attention and it is almost impossible to keep him quiet!
On active days on the trails, Bodie doesn't pay any attention to us. "Come" won't work, treats won't work, toys don't work, and trying to catch him becomes a game of catch. Well, we tried something new today and it worked! We got a really cheap long line for him. It is a lightweight 50' line that does not easily get caught on anything in the backyard. He pretty much ignores it, can run around the backyard normally, and when we want him to come we can reinforce the command with a firm tug. But something amazing happened - he was much calmer with it on. His barking was greatly decreased and he listened to us much more - weekends are going to be better!