It always takes a while to get acclimated to a new gate, and with Jack it’s been much more challenging. Not that he is not worth it, but the poor guy has no idea what is going on, and this is a VERY different place than where he came from. For us we quickly learned that this is a high profile gate, because this ranch is owned by one of the largest land owners in Texas. Consequently when they say they want the gate shut between every vehicle, they mean that, and of course we are complying. Our first gate was like this so we have some experience, but it is a ton more work when you have to get up and physically open and shut the gate every time. That’s the gig though, and we certainly weren’t in a position to be picky.
On the plus side the small area right in front of our RV is paved (which helps with the dust) and everyone is incredibly well behaved. Since high level folks from all the companies are in and out of here, folks are being really good about following the rules. I generally don’t have any problems at night, but Lee has run into some challenging folks during the day at other gates, but so far not here. Another reason for this might be that for the first time we have to take pictures of the vehicles. We use an iPad to log them in and out and we take a front and rear view shot of the vehicles when they come in and go out. Doesn’t add too much time to the process, but at night the picture quality is not great. And I was really glad when our supervisor said that getting vehicles off the road was the most important thing. That way when they stack up, we can just wave them through and catch them on the way out. That practice keeps everyone safer.
While we were trying to sort all that out, Jack wasn’t doing so great. We are lucky to have a nice long sandy patch of road to walk him on, but he wants to go into the grass which has stickers and heavens knows what else. The first day we have two huge Caracao birds in trees just looking at him, and we knew we would need to keep a close eye. Plus, when he gets the stickers in his paws, he doesn’t seem exactly sure what to do with them, so we are spending lots of time cutting them out of his hair. Soooo glad we didn’t pay to have him groomed, because that really would have been a waste. Despite lots of sandy places to go we couldn’t get him to poop that first day. The truck noise was really freaking him out and he kept getting distracted when we tried to take him out. He didn’t have any accidents thankfully, but we spent lots of time trying to get him to go to the bathroom, which made our day a little harder.
The second full day though Lee decided to attack the problem. First he put up our popup tent in the hopes that Jack would feel more comfortable with a place to stay inside as the trucks went by. We also tried numerous places where we could put the lead rope, and finally I found the perfect spot where he couldn’t get in the road, but could wander around a bit near the rig.
These changes, along with Jack getting used to the road sounds seemed to help and he finally pooped. Since then he has been going frequently although not on a regular schedule. Part of the problem is his sleep pattern is interrupted. He really likes to be with us, and isn’t taking well to being left alone in the rig while we are outside. So, he is sleeping with Lee from 9:30pm until 4am and then taking a walk and then coming back to sleep with me until noon. I know that’s too long to be in bed, but he prefers that to being alone. He did spend a little bit of time just hanging out alone in the rig today, so hopefully over time we can work on that.
Our biggest concern is that he doesn’t really have time to be a puppy so we started doing a couple of things to help with that. We are taking him for lots of extra walks and in the evening, when it’s slow we do let him off leash for just a little bit. Lee stands at one end of the road and I at the other and we call him and he runs back and forth. We are keeping a close eye because of course the we don’t want him to take off, but since it is for a short period of time so far it’s OK.
He also has discovered that at night there are moths flying around the lights and goes crazy on leash jumping and catching them. I got a little worried because he was chomping so many but looked it up and moths appear to be OK. It makes him really happy so I am letting him do it for a little while at least, again when it is slow at night. Actually things have started out slow at this gate and I am super grateful. Don’t know what this would have looked like with a steady stream of trucks, so appreciate the time to get us all situated. Now that we have gotten things set up, we are largely following his lead. If he wants out on the lead or inside with people we try to let him have his way. Like I said not sure what that looks like when it gets busier but its the least we can do for the little guy. I will say all the drivers think he’s pretty cute and as Mikki mentioned they do go much slower when they see him. He’s adjusting as are we and I am sure in no time he will be a spoiled, experienced gate dog.
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