- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Help Stop a Runaway Dog

December 29th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Buddy is a mixed breed, approx. 3 yrs old. We got him as an orphan when he was approx. 1 yrs old. He is a terrific dog -- very loveable, house broke, some basic obedience skills (sit, lay down, come). He is my son's best friend. But, we have to watch him like a hawk whenever we open a door. Buddy will take off like a shot and run and run and run. He has been gone for several hours in the freezing rain. Our biggest fears are that he won't return or that he'll be hit by a car. Any suggestions on how we stop this behavior? We've tried punishing, scolding, praising -- everything we can think of. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

December 29th, 2005, 03:13 PM
How much exercise does he get besides what he does on his own.

December 29th, 2005, 03:16 PM
My son walks several times a week on a lead. Plus he is played with rather vigorously everynight in the house (running, wrestling, etc.). And he has full run of our fenced-in back yard whenever he wants out.

December 29th, 2005, 03:18 PM
What mix do you think he is. While walking is great for them it doesn't do much to reduce the energy of a high energy dog.

December 29th, 2005, 03:19 PM
We know he's a collie mix, but that's all. I think he has some spitz in him too (American Eskimo maybe).

December 29th, 2005, 03:25 PM
Ok, start off by giving him double the exercise, fetch or something that gets him running. You can also teach him hide and seek. This game will also help with his re-calls. What kind of training have you done with him. He needs to learn his basic skills, (come) and he needs to learn to deal with distractions while doing those cues. A basic group class as well as giving him more exercise would help. Doggy daycare is a great solution for tiring dogs. All of my pups in daycare leave here exhausted and it affects the way they behave at home just by getting enough of it.

December 29th, 2005, 03:35 PM
Thanks. Of course, the problem is finding the time to give him more exercise. My husband and I work and my son attends school during the day. Doggie daycare is not available in my town. I will check to see if we can find some more obedience training. We've trained him the best we can, but maybe we need more. Thanks, again.

December 29th, 2005, 04:09 PM
See tired puppy in daycare.
Maybe there is a dog in your neighbourhood that you could invite over a few times a week to play.

December 29th, 2005, 06:36 PM
I have an American Eskimo - little would-be white escape artist that he is. And he doesn't want to escape for sure - but they do like to run to the door. I would follow all of the above recommendations, but whenever you open the door make sure the dog isn't near it. Hard I know, but a lot easier than searching for your dog - with the horrible worry of what you might find.

December 29th, 2005, 07:03 PM
Trained a rescue dog that I was fostering to not constantly try to escape out the door by putting a long leash on her and I managed to step on any part of it as she made her dash. It took about 6 attempts and she did have a sore neck but on the 7th attempt she stopped at the door frame and looked at me. I told her to sit which she did and gave her a treat. From them on she would stop at my side, sit and wait for her cookie and seemed to completely forget her initial goal.

December 29th, 2005, 07:38 PM
hi there,
I just wanted to mention that not necessarily is exercise the case.
My mother in law had a small maltese-poodle-pom cross who had a large yard, lots of exercise, another dog to play with, and as soon as that door was open he would bolt every time. Couldnt catch him either, just had to wait the 15-20 minutes till he came back.
I think they get it in their heads that its fun to run for it and have the person chase them.
Your best bet would be to contact a behaviourist or dog trainer to get some pointers on this. Maybe clicker training and reinforcing the heel while at the doorstep may help.
Good luck. My mother in law couldnt break her dog of it in 15 years, so very good luck to you.

December 29th, 2005, 09:32 PM
I just wanted to mention that not necessarily is exercise the case.

I have to agree with this.

It has to do more with training.

My suggestion would be this.

Have him on a leash.Give him the "sit" "stay" command.Have someone begin to open the door.Then give him the "wait" command.If he breaks the "sit" "stay",have the person close the door,do a circle with him and give him the "sit" "stay" command agin.Have that person start to open the the door again and give him the "wait" command.If he doesn't move and "waits" praise him and give him a treat.This may take a few times before it clicks in for him.So this will take time and patience....:)

This is how I trained my dogs as pups for this.And they picked up on it pretty quick.:)

December 29th, 2005, 09:44 PM
A friend of mine had her daughters dog come to stay.
The dog would take off as soon as it could.
My friend worked on "come" by taking the dog to a field and letting it go then she called it to her gave it lots and lots of praise and treats and let it go back to playing again.
She did this over many weeks and now the dog comes quickly and happily when called. This is very elementary training, but before the dog had always had it's fun cut short when called, and now it knows that coming when called doesn't always mean the fun stops.
A very long lead/rope would work if you don't have a secure place to let the dog run.

December 29th, 2005, 09:51 PM
I would love it if these suggestions worked, but honestly, I had a dobie who was the same and nothing worked. If the door was left open a crack or it was open just a bit wider than the person walking through it, he was GONE. We could only catch him when he stopped to pee. We couldn't do anything for it. It only stopped when he was around 12 years old and had wobbler's disease and couldn't move very well.

We knew he came from being tied up his whole life, so the minute he was free, he ran like the wind. It was sort of funny because he ran sideways down the road after being so used to running with a chain.

My advice? Microchip him, put tags on him like crazy and maybe even two collars in case one gets ripped off somehow. Teach your kids to be unbelievably careful (my dad made us pay the pound fee if he got caught before we found him, too).

Of course, try all the suggestions mentioned above, but my advice is your fall-back plan. :)

December 29th, 2005, 10:41 PM
While you are training and giving enough exercise you may want to set up a double door or gate to keep him from the front door. If you are worried about kids leaving the gate open I would get one of those sticky alarms that goes off when the link is broken. It is loud but nobody will forget to close the gate. It would be the only way to stop the noise.

December 30th, 2005, 10:21 AM
Thank you all so much for your responses! I know it's not an exercise problem -- he does get plenty of that. I am going to try the long leash/command traning suggested. That really sounds like the best option. Thanks again. I'll let you know how it works!!!

December 30th, 2005, 10:30 AM
Is he neutered, If not there is the reason he is running away

December 30th, 2005, 01:20 PM
I also had an emergency command for my golden. "Cookie time" would stop him from chasing ANYTHING. Don't over use it, but it comes in handy when they ignore "come".

December 30th, 2005, 02:44 PM
Is he neutered, If not there is the reason he is running away
We tried that with our old dobie and it didn't work. Because he was already way past puberty and his instincts were set, it had little effect at all, except getting rid of marking (but that in itself made it worth it because then he would stop to pee a long, long pee instead of a bunch of short ones and we could catch him more easily...).

January 3rd, 2006, 07:24 AM
Yes, he is neutered. We've been working on the sit and stay commands. So far, so good. But, we're not going to take any chances and we watch him like a hawk whenever the doors are opened. Thanks again for all of your suggestions.