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View Full Version : Teaching a farm dog boundaries



Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 18, 2009, 01:23 AM
I have a 2.5 year old English shepherd (think mellow boder collie). He is a great dog. Hangs with me at the boarding barn, loves kids, does some tricks, does agility. So he is not an untrained run amok type of dog.
But when I do chores in my own barn he wanders off. We live on 25 acres abutting BLM land. Which of course during this time of year becomes littered with elk carcasses. Plus we have deer and wild turkey wander through. There is a lot to distract a young boy.
I don't really mind if he isn't glued to my side as long as he stays on our property, but because it is not all fenced with dog proof fence he tend to slip through the paddock fence and wanders onto the BLM land.
What can I do besides do a mesh fence along all 25 acres, or chain him to a cinder block, to make him understand that he needs to keep his little ES butt on the inside of the fence.

RiverBendPol
Nov. 18, 2009, 08:21 AM
Invisible Fence has CHANGED my life. I have a Very Bad Beagle who was taking my young Lab out on day-long jaunts (we have 200 acres) it was making me CRAZY. The VBB can do whatever she wants, she is smart and savvie and old but the Lab is none of those things and NEEDS to stay home. So we fenced off about an acre around the house and barn, then just trained the Lab. She is the only one (of 4 dogs) on the fence and it is fantastic. Expensive at first but when I can open the door and let all 4 out, knowing the Lab will not be taken off on a run, it all becomes worth it.

winfieldfarm
Nov. 18, 2009, 10:13 AM
Tie a pot roast to your butt!

(Sorry, I had to say it. I have no advise worth trying but Im in a slappy mood today)

wendy
Nov. 18, 2009, 10:50 AM
also a fan of invisible fence. Cost us $300 and two hours of light work to "fence" a large, wooded property; three weeks of training; dogs are safe. Once the dogs are fully trained to the boundaries they won't cross them even if the fence fails for some reason; we had to take ours off-line for three weeks once for construction and the pooches never noticed. People who complain these fences "don't work" skipped or skimped on the training process.

Cloverbarley
Nov. 18, 2009, 01:35 PM
These are smart dogs, like their sister breed Border Collies. I don't believe you need to install anything, you just need to walk your boundary line with your dog on a frequent basis for a few weeks and then he should get it. If after this he still really isn't getting it (which I would be astounded if he didn't) then just run a low line of electric tape along your fenceline where he escapes. One zap will likely be enough. I personally favor the boundary walking though.

wendy
Nov. 18, 2009, 02:54 PM
yeah right, like "walking boundaries" will work. You know how many border collies who have wandered out of open gates, jumped fences, dug out, or simply ditched their owners, I've been asked to help look for? bottom line if you don't have some kind of fence around your property your dog, regardless of breed, had better remain on a leash at all times. Otherwise someone's going to be on here complaining and SSS will be inflicted on your dog.

moonriverfarm
Nov. 18, 2009, 03:38 PM
Two words:
INVISIBLE FENCING!

Cloverbarley
Nov. 18, 2009, 03:42 PM
I've had sheepdogs all of my life and every single one has been perfectly capable of understanding, and not going further than, their boundaries. Wendy you must have met an awful lot of idiots in your time then as collies are by far and away one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train.

Tiki
Nov. 18, 2009, 03:51 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you have to actually bury the Invisible Fence for it to work. Most people do, because they want it to be invisible, but if you already have some kind of fencing for your horses, you can just run the Invisible Fence as a line on the bottom of your fence and it will still work quite well - but without all the digging or ditchwitching.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 18, 2009, 10:16 PM
well to not have to bury invisible fencing with winter coming on would be fantastic. I could do a smaller area than the whole acreage-think rocky tree filled hillside.

Cloverbarley- when walking the property boundary do you correct if the dog looks or tries to go outside the boundary?
Also when I trail ride with the dog we go out the gate and into the blm land. I know he is super smart and should be able to differentiate trail ride vs. hanging out on my own time, but I wonder if I blurred the boundary so to speak.

Cloverbarley
Nov. 18, 2009, 11:03 PM
well to not have to bury invisible fencing with winter coming on would be fantastic. I could do a smaller area than the whole acreage-think rocky tree filled hillside.
You could use horse electric rope/tape. It would work just as well.


Cloverbarley- when walking the property boundary do you correct if the dog looks or tries to go outside the boundary?
Yes. Each and every time. Not harshly or anything, just a "tscht" and sidepull (if on a leash), or a "tscht" and call dog back if not on a leash.

Also when I trail ride with the dog we go out the gate and into the blm land. I know he is super smart and should be able to differentiate trail ride vs. hanging out on my own time, but I wonder if I blurred the boundary so to speak. It shouldn't be an issue. These dogs are smart. Yes they know the difference between going onto this land WITH you, and it not being acceptable for them to go alone. Give it a go - you have nothing to lose and it costs you nowt. Try the boundary walks, even just twice a day, and if your dog doesn't get it within a set time (say 2 weeks) then put up your electric fence and then see if that makes a difference. If you go for invisible fence you still have to teach them about it, however it will cost you money, so try without first.

PS. I think invisible fencing is a great invention, so don't think I am dissing it; it's just that I know sheepdogs well and I know they are very intelligent and providing the owner gives the right input they are usually very receptive to instruction.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:42 AM
Thanks Cloverbarley,
He is a super smart dog. I usually just have to show him something once or twice and if I am clear he gets it. Any mistakes he makes really are because I was not clear.
I am a bit reluctant to try an electric fence because he is such a soft dog. A shock would unhinge him for sure.
I'll try the boundary training and let you know how it works out.

Here is a picture of him
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1004067&l=dd7ef5bd97&id=572522957

citydog
Nov. 19, 2009, 02:25 AM
He's very handsome. :)

Depending on trainer and dog, you can *sometimes* install some reasonable boundary training. Most people can't even get a dog who sits reliably on command, however, so no wonder there are so many dogs who aren't reliable.

http://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/boundary-training

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 19, 2009, 02:40 AM
He's very handsome. :)

Depending on trainer and dog, you can *sometimes* install some reasonable boundary training. Most people can't even get a dog who sits reliably on command, however, so no wonder there are so many dogs who aren't reliable.

http://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/boundary-training
:lol::D Well he does sit, down, give me 5, turn around, back up... well you get the idea. Even his recall is pretty darn good if he is within ear shot, and super fast if he can see me.
He is just so darn fast with those long legs once you turn your back.
Thanks awfully for the link.

wendy
Nov. 19, 2009, 10:29 AM
you don't have to bury the invisible fence; ours is sitting on the ground through the woods and has been for years. I think anyone who thinks "walking the boundaries" is enough should have their dogs seized NOW cause dogs don't understand such things when owner is not present. Only an idiot would think the dog would "stay in" when owner is busy in the barn or whatever. I have enough "border collie went missing" searches to convince me that good fencing is necessary. If you decide to own a dog, you have to make sure the dog is safe.

Cloverbarley
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:05 PM
I'm aware you enjoy arguing Wendy, however I can't be bothered to argue with you.


Bluehorsesjp; I can categorically state that none of my mine, including the ones I have now, leave my property without me; and my dogs have, and always have had, total free run of my property all day and every day. When I take them out riding with me, they come if I say they can come, and stay if I tell them to stay, and never have they gone on their own, not even when they can see me riding on land which is not owned by me ... because they know the difference. I taught all of them by walking boundaries at a young age. Lovely looking dog, by the way, such fabulous long legs :). Best of luck.

wendy
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:20 PM
really?
I can categorically state that none of my mine, including the ones I have now, leave my property without me;
you have what, video cams on them at all times? sorry your advice is ridiculous. Hordes of dogs never "leave the property" when under observation but happily go off when not. I suspect yours do as well. Bottom line you don't have a physical containment strategy you have no business owning a dog. Good thing my dog is trained to search n rescue the dogs you idiots feel free to let loose. Call me WHEN your dog doesn't show up. Or perhaps a fence?

Doodlebug1
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:21 PM
think anyone who thinks "walking the boundaries" is enough should have their dogs seized NOW cause dogs don't understand such things when owner is not present. Only an idiot would think the dog would "stay in" when owner is busy in the barn or whatever.

I really disagree with this. My dogs are Jack Russells and will always stay home, even if I go downtown and leave them. There is about a 1/4 mile to the road, but I can confidently leave them and they are fine - as long as the barn is open so they can shelter.

They get a lot of exercise, are fed correctly and are mentally calm and relaxed, but they are still JRTs!

My bitch learnt this behaviour from a JRT/Corgi cross rescue that belonged to my boss and she in turn has passed it down to her son. The rescue dog was great as she really clung to home. As a result, my dogs will happily potter about when I am around the farm and will both every so often come and find me, check I'm there and wander off again. They kind of think it's their responsibility to check for me and not the other way around - both when puppy training were taught this (neither are ever on a leash unless absolutely necessary - ie walking XC course while horses competing). If they got ahead of me I'd turn and walk the other way, or hide from them, so when they realised they had not checked where I was going, they had to come find me.

I agree that many people aren't so lucky but please don't call everyone who happens to have well behaved dogs idiots. BTW my dogs are 11 and 5 years old...

Cloverbarley
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:32 PM
My final comment to you Wendy; yes I do actually have CCTV here and no my dogs (2 sheepdogs, 1 Akbash, 1 Maremma and 1 Malinois) do not wander off property unaccompanied.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:02 PM
Wendy,

I just wanted to clarify that I am not the type of dog owner you think I am. ie. irresponsible and should have my dogs taken away- sorry that is pretty insulting. My dogs, all three of them are with me or in the house or the little dog yard we have. They are not left to roam the property for hours unsupervised. We do not open the door in the morning and call them in at night.
If my ES is missing for 5 minutes or out less I am calling and looking for him. If I have to walk out into the BLM land and pull him of the elk carcass I will. He is not allowed to roam, nor has he ever been missing for more than 20 minutes. He just sometimes takes off when your back is turned. So far because I am aware that he has left I am on top of it right away and get him back with me very quickly. It would just make my life easier if he stayed closer. And I would like to not watch him come trotting back from the BLM land.
My other 2 dogs, an older lab and an extremely attached mixed breed stay with me and do not leave the property. They will never get a shot to leave it while unattended because they are always supervised.
I will not need your services to come find my missing dog, but thank you for offering.

wendy
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:49 PM
anyone who doesn't have some kind of fence is utterly irresponsible. Sorry you've been "lucky" so far but luck only goes so far...

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 19, 2009, 05:57 PM
Wendy,

Thank you so much for your constructive input.
wish you could have said things in a nicer tone, but I understand where you are coming from.

Trevelyan96
Nov. 19, 2009, 10:44 PM
I have a terrible problem with my new acquisition running off when he gets bored watching me do my barn chores. He'll just take off, looking for someone else to play with. We got him the Safe Fence system, no buried wiring. It just transmits the signal to the collar when he starts to push beyond the boundaries.

The problem I have with mine is it doesn't quite reach to the barn, so I'll be getting a 2nd one to put in the tack room.
If you train the dog by their instuctions, the system works very well.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 19, 2009, 11:14 PM
Thanks Trevelyan96
I will look up that fence system. I am a bit worried about the shock issue. He is a super soft dog and doesn't handle things like that. He tends to shut down. I don't want him afraid to move anywhere.
Also my problem with the invisible fence is a chip and seal drive way that makes it difficult to complete a circle/circuit.

And that is exactly the problem. Cleaning stalls is boring. Getting ready for a trail ride is fine, ready to load is fine..... but chores he wanders off to find his own fun. :lol:
And since we walk and ride on the BLM land it seems like it is fair game.

EventerAJ
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:17 AM
We put invisible fence around the barnyard for two wandering beagle mutts. It wasn't very hard, and we had to cross the driveway 3 times, and 4 pasture gates.

Use a masonry blade on a circular saw to cut a small 1/8" groove in your paved driveway-- this is just a wide-enough crack for the fencewire. Cover with caulk to seal (though we didn't in 2 places, and it hasn't mattered).

For the gateways, we buried the wire about 5" deep covered in old rubber garden hose. It's deep enough to be protected from horse feet in mud season, and the hose adds an extra layer of protection.

We buried our whole fenceline, but you could very easily run it along an existing pasture fence. We built our invisible fence in July (rock-hard ground); used a circular saw blade attached to a weed-eater held vertically to cut a thin trench in the ground, inserted the wire (1" deep), and pinched the ground back together to bury it.

The dogs are VERY respectful of the fence-- put up lots of flags marking the boundary; led the dogs up to it, warned them, collars beeped, then collars shocked...dogs yelped and will not go near the boundary unless the collars have been off 3-4 days (ice storm power outage) and there is strong temptation (squirrels). Under regular working conditions, dogs will not cross the border for treats, critters, or ANYTHING.

The dogs are so happy to roam freely, and it's such a relief to know they will stay home. :)

LauraKY
Nov. 22, 2009, 02:27 PM
Or just run the wire inside a piece of old hose and lay it across the driveway.

LauraKY
Nov. 22, 2009, 02:32 PM
If you do want to try to train him to the fence line, (our rough coat collie and young lab are, they will NOT duck under a fence; will wait at the gate, even if it's open, for permission to leave the barn area) I would use a special collar or harness when you are taking him off property so that he understands that is the ONLY time he is allowed to leave.

Trevelyan96
Nov. 22, 2009, 09:49 PM
Try a radio fence. Nothing to bury. You have a transmitter that sends/receives the signal from the dog's receiver. If the dog goes outside the boundary, he can receives a warning beep and then the correction level of your choice. My system cost around $299 and it took us about an hour to set the training flags and get the 'range' right. I think Benny must have been trained to it in his previous life, because from day one, he'd get to the flags, hear the beep, and back away from them.

You do have to train the dog for a few weeks, but it works great, unless you have one like mine who knows exactly what that receiver collar is for! As long as he's wearing it, he's an angel. The minute its off, he's taking off after that rabbit or cat or possum he picked up a scent on. We have a fenced in yard with no climb, and he just sails right over.

And of course, he loves to do barn chores with me and its just beyond the range, so the receiver has to come off. Next pay day I'll be investing in a 2nd transmitter to keep in the barn to give him a little more range.

Trevelyan96
Nov. 22, 2009, 09:56 PM
Thanks Trevelyan96
I will look up that fence system. I am a bit worried about the shock issue. He is a super soft dog and doesn't handle things like that. He tends to shut down. I don't want him afraid to move anywhere.
Also my problem with the invisible fence is a chip and seal drive way that makes it difficult to complete a circle/circuit.

And that is exactly the problem. Cleaning stalls is boring. Getting ready for a trail ride is fine, ready to load is fine..... but chores he wanders off to find his own fun. :lol:
And since we walk and ride on the BLM land it seems like it is fair game.

You must have my dog's twin brother, LOL. Mine is quite exhuberant, but he'll turn timid in a hearbeat when even mildly corrected. You can set the receiver to only beep at him, especially for training. The 'correction' is always the beep first. The instructions on training the dog are excellent, and most dogs figure it out pretty quickly with a minimum of corrections.

vacation1
Nov. 22, 2009, 10:08 PM
But when I do chores in my own barn he wanders off. ...I don't really mind if he isn't glued to my side as long as he stays on our property, but because it is not all fenced with dog proof fence he tend to slip through the paddock fence and wanders onto the BLM land.

If it's primarily a matter of him wandering off when you're doing chores, why not just chain him to a cinder block (aka, use a tie-out) at those times when you're outside but too busy to monitor him? Obviously, not where a horse could get into the rope/tie/etc., but where you can hear/see him. I realize it may seem like a waste of the space and freedom a farm dog should have, but it's not like you'd be chaining him 24/7; just when you're not able to keep an eye on his activities. 2.5 is just about grown. He sounds like a smart, well-behaved dog, but he's still very young. I am aware that some dogs are great about learning boundaries, but if he's wandering off right now, he's not a natural and training him to be reliable about boundaries would be a pretty big job.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 23, 2009, 01:11 AM
If it's primarily a matter of him wandering off when you're doing chores, why not just chain him to a cinder block (aka, use a tie-out) at those times when you're outside but too busy to monitor him? Obviously, not where a horse could get into the rope/tie/etc., but where you can hear/see him. I realize it may seem like a waste of the space and freedom a farm dog should have, but it's not like you'd be chaining him 24/7; just when you're not able to keep an eye on his activities. 2.5 is just about grown. He sounds like a smart, well-behaved dog, but he's still very young. I am aware that some dogs are great about learning boundaries, but if he's wandering off right now, he's not a natural and training him to be reliable about boundaries would be a pretty big job.

:lol::lol::lol: Thinking of my dog running off dragging a cinder block behind him down the driveway. :D

I only have one horse in a stall right now, so chores are taking a really short time. Right now I keep doing recalls, with rewards so he isn't getting the chance to get too far. I might have missed the boundary training window with him being as old as he is. Although he has been trained to keep out of the turnouts, so.... the tie out is simplest, with a wireless invisible fence coming next. I'll work hard with him this winter and see what I can accomplish.
I am aware that boundary training will not be 100%.

LauraKY
Nov. 23, 2009, 10:52 AM
anyone who doesn't have some kind of fence is utterly irresponsible. Sorry you've been "lucky" so far but luck only goes so far...

If you had read her post more carefully, you would have seen that she does have a fence, is just not "dog proof". I haven't seen a fence yet that can keep a dog in if they really want out, by digging or climbing, unless you have a concrete perimeter footing and a VERY tall fence.

Why so judgmental?

LauraKY
Nov. 23, 2009, 10:58 AM
I wouldn't say you've missed the "boundary training window". We moved to the country from the city when our collie was 7 years old. She had always been on a leash. She learned very quickly. She's the best of the bunch. Will not go past the paddock fence down the driveway without permission. Will not go into a pasture or paddock, even in the gate is open, without permission. She even goes into the tack room on command if a horse is acting up in the aisle. Might be one in a million, though.

We did tie the lab at the barn until he learned boundaries. Just used a hitching post, cross ties, trailer, whatever was handy and would keep him out of the way.

We've had him for six months and he now very rarely has to be tied. Just if a horse is acting up.

MunchkinsMom
Nov. 23, 2009, 11:45 AM
:lol::lol::lol: Thinking of my dog running off dragging a cinder block behind him down the driveway. :D


Better yet, picture a pure black shepard that weighed about 100 pounds dragging an engine block down the driveway. True story. My first family dog was a big scar faced shepard that my dad brought home from the pound. He dragged his dog house, pulled the track arm to the garage door right out of the brick wall it was anchored to, and dragged the engine block (big V-8) down the driveway, that someone in the family thought would keep him in place. After all that, he was tied to a tree, and when the tree and the rope didn't give, he was breaking the choke chain he was tied with (we found pieces of it on the roof of the house). Too bad this was way back in the days before invisible fences, that might have worked for him.

I don't have any suggestions to add, just wanted to share my story, as your post triggered that memory for me, and wish you luck.

Lori
Nov. 23, 2009, 11:52 AM
A strand of electric fence is a cheap way to go.

vacation1
Nov. 27, 2009, 12:51 AM
:lol::lol::lol: Thinking of my dog running off dragging a cinder block behind him down the driveway. :D I only have one horse in a stall right now, so chores are taking a really short time. Right now I keep doing recalls, with rewards so he isn't getting the chance to get too far. I might have missed the boundary training window with him being as old as he is.

:lol: When my dog was a baby, I tried her on a trolley/run system where the chain is attached to a sort of clothesline between two poles. Various spectacular snappings and breakings of poles, chains, and clotheslines later, I anchored her to a maple tree.

While I guess there's a behavioral aspect that might have a brief window, I think for many dogs there's a maturity aspect that balances that. I trust my mature dog with far more freedom than she ever had as a young dog, because after years of being corrected on a leash, she's gotten good habits.

foggybok
Nov. 27, 2009, 01:06 AM
I've had sheepdogs all of my life and every single one has been perfectly capable of understanding, and not going further than, their boundaries. Wendy you must have met an awful lot of idiots in your time then as collies are by far and away one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train.

My BC learned boundries within a few days of arriving here. I'm still amazed that he will chase a deer full on right up to the back fence and stop. And also amazed that he ducks under the two inner fences without a thought, but stops at the property line. We really didn't even try to teach him the boundries, but he picked them up in a hurry...

BCs are smart!

foggybok
Nov. 27, 2009, 01:13 AM
well to not have to bury invisible fencing with winter coming on would be fantastic. I could do a smaller area than the whole acreage-think rocky tree filled hillside.

Cloverbarley- when walking the property boundary do you correct if the dog looks or tries to go outside the boundary?
Also when I trail ride with the dog we go out the gate and into the blm land. I know he is super smart and should be able to differentiate trail ride vs. hanging out on my own time, but I wonder if I blurred the boundary so to speak.

When our dog learned his boundaries, he also learned, he can not leave without being on a leash. He follows me everywhere on the property, but if I walk down the driveway to get the mail, he sits on the steps as he knows he can not go. If I take him for a walk, we also go down the driveway, but he'll have a leash on. He understands the difference.

Oh, and initially, yes when we were walking the property line for something, he was verbally corrected when he investigated the other side. Really didn't take much though

pj
Nov. 27, 2009, 11:52 AM
I'm aware you enjoy arguing Wendy, however I can't be bothered to argue with you.


Bluehorsesjp; I can categorically state that none of my mine, including the ones I have now, leave my property without me; and my dogs have, and always have had, total free run of my property all day and every day. When I take them out riding with me, they come if I say they can come, and stay if I tell them to stay, and never have they gone on their own, not even when they can see me riding on land which is not owned by me ... because they know the difference. I taught all of them by walking boundaries at a young age. Lovely looking dog, by the way, such fabulous long legs :). Best of luck.

I have to say that I do think dogs can be boundry trained (most) BUT there still is a possible "failure" no matter how well dogs are trained.
We had one who stayed right with me no matter what I was doing on the property until one day as I was feeding I heard a dog screaming off in the timber land next to us. I looked around for my dog and then understood it was MY dog screaming. I couldn't get through the thick brush to try to get to the dog so jumped into the truck and flew to the closest fire brake. Gate was barred so I took off running. Dog had stopped screaming so I started calling. He'd bark and I'd call while I was running. Finally found him in a coyote trap.
Now I'd have SWORN this dog would not leave our property but one time he did.
No clue why he chose to leave this time and he was a good bit off from home.

ANOTHER failure that I know about was a bc. His failure (one known time) ended with him being killed by a car.

I also know TWO neighbors who would and will swear to you that their dogs NEVER leaves their property. They do. One is now dead, shot by another neighbor and the other who is still alive so far will be shot the first time he's caught on my property as he is a goat killer.

I just don't believe there is a 100 percent never ever fail boundry trained dog.
There is always something that could be attractive enough to tempt the dog to leave.

Nancy!
Nov. 27, 2009, 12:18 PM
Since chores don't take too long, why not use this time to instill more training? Like a long down stay.

Our Australian cattle dog is only out when we are, except for potty breaks. Luckily they are called velcro dogs for a reason.

Nancy!

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 27, 2009, 04:26 PM
Thanks Wendy,
I have been using the time lately to work on training. String cheese is a great boundary training device :lol:. But yes, we are working on down stays and recalls if he is not within sight. And I mean I initiate the recall within 1 minute of him walking around the corner.
I do however know that this is not an answer to the problem.
Thankfully we do not have neighbors with livestock that he can mess with, although since we are next to BLM he could still get shot is caught chasing deer or elk.

Chardavej
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:13 PM
I have a 15 year old Italian Greyhound and a 9 year old Chinese Crested, I don't know how, but they know the property line and will go along three egdes of it and the pasture fence line (they wont go into the pasture so they've never been to the back property line).

We let them out and go do barn chores, they do their doggy stuff, wander around looking for something to munch on, lay on the barn porch, follow us and when they're done go lay on the front porch.

So far so good. I guess I'm a lucky idiot but I'm not changing now. But I also don't live on a busy street and I only have one neighbor and his dog is out 24/7 anyway. Sweet old dog, comes over and visits or lays in the driveway sunning. She doens't go into the pastures either and usually only comes to the barn to get a drink of water from the cats water bowl.

When we first moved here when they would get near the property line we would call them back, I guess that is how they learned it. Gueido is 14 so I think he has it down pat now.