Up until yesterday, Gogo and Oz had been great on the island. I could let them off leash without any fear of them running away.
That ended yesterday.
I had noticed that they were starting to wander a bit further away from me on our walks, so for our afternoon jaunt, I had decided to go through a path that's not usually travelled. It's open, sandy, and has little bushes and trees along the edge. They were great at first, a bit slow in fact - smelling every little leaf. Then they found something off the path that they liked and checked it out. I tried to keep walking hoping that they would notice me gone and follow. It didn't work. I wandered back to where they were, and they kept sniffing and wandered farther away. I tried various games to get the them to behave. None worked. Eventually, I got them back and put them on a leash.
I felt a little foolish because when I looked around, I saw that they hadn't really wandered far at all. They don't know the difference between walking on the path and wandering around the bushes. And no one was around. What's the worst that could happen? I let them off-leash again in the same area.
As I'm sure you can guess, this time they really took off and in opposite directions. I was fine until Gogo climbed up over a hill and disppeared. I waited for a minute for her to come bck, but she didn't. I ran up the hill and looked for her. There was a large grassy field, two more hills, and no Gogo. I panicked. Oz was in the opposite direction. I decided to try to get Oz first, since he was closer. Luckily, he cooperated. I put the leash on him and took him to where Gogo had last been spotted. I couldn't see a trail of her foot prints anywhere. Oz picked up her scent immediately and started pulling me, although we still didn't find her for a couple of minutes. She was on the beach, sniffing some seaweed and looking calm and happy.
Okay, so lesson learned. The dogs have gotten brazen in their explorations.
This morning, I was having brekfast at the house. There's a big deck in the back that the pups had been laying on to suin themselves, so I always leave the back door open. When I called them inside, Oz was nowhere to be found. I calmed my rising panic and started calling for him. It turns out that he wasn't far - just the neighbor's yard. He had squeezed through an 8 inch space behind the tool shed to get there. But he was having trouble getting back. He couldn't make it back and had somehow ended up in the stagnant swamp underneath the house and needed help clearing some old wood. I helped him the best I could, but it mainly came down to his determination to jump. His legs were covered with black swamp water. I hosed and dried him off.
I know I'm going to be tempted to take them off leash, but no more. They are now untrustworthy.