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how can i teach him not to run away?

November 21st, 2004, 06:46 AM
I got lenny about 3 weeks ago from the rescue centre and would like him to learn to walk with me without being on a leash. So far he has escaped twice when I've opened the front door and he just makes a break for it!!!!! He's a little :evil:

It's a little tricky as I don't have anywhere safe (other than in my apartment obviously) where I can train him really but I feel like he'd be so much happier if he could run around on his own when we're out. We have a forest and a huge wildlife park really close to us that he loves but he can't really explore properly when he is on a leash.

Any tips for me? :confused:

By the way I was reading the thread about teaching them not to eat rubbish, thank you that is really helpful for us as he has already given himself a tummy ache from eating god-only-knows-what while we're out!!!

heeler's rock!
November 21st, 2004, 09:31 AM
Hi Petlover! Welcome to the board! :) When I was training my border collie to not run off, it was a bit of a struggle. The best way I found is to make it a game. I would hide behind a tree and call her name when she wasn't looking. Then she would search for me and when she found me, I'd praise her like crazy! Not with treats, but with chest massages as I didn't want her to think that she got a treat everytime she came to me. Another thing I'd do is not take her leash off when we were out. I'd just let it drag. When she would try to run off, I'd step on her leash to get her attention back to me. If she'd run off, I'd turn around the other way, clap my hands a few times, and say her name then a command like hustle, or let's go. I don't use come unless it's important that she come to me right away. Usually she'd cme a runnin', but if she didn't, I'd go get her, and keep her on leash from the point, or tie her to a tree branch for a time out. I wouldn't go far during the "time out", but the fact that she was there while other dogs were exploring and having fun, let her know that if she misbehaves, she doesn't get to have fun. The time out would last about 2 minutes, then I'd let her off again and try it all over. During this time, I didn't talk to her, except when I'd say her name or hustle. Talking to your dog too much makes them think that what you're saying isn't important, because you talk all the time. Anyways, hope that helps and I'm sure others here will have suggestions for you too! :D

Lucky Rescue
November 21st, 2004, 10:05 AM
You cannot let your dog off leash until he has a very reliable recall. If you do, you're teaching him NOT to come when you call, especially in a place like a park.

Your dog is not nearly ready for off leash work, since he doesn't yet know how to behave ON leash. Put his leash on BEFORE you go out the door. You need to teach him how to sit and wait until you open the door, go out yourself, and give him permission to follow you out. Never allow him to burst out ahead of you. You need to teach this before doing any off leash stuff.

He also needs to learn "Leave it" since he's eating all kinds of stuff outside.

Do NOT try and teach your dog to come in the wildlife park. This is much too distracting and exciting a place to do this. Start at home.

Here is a good article on teaching a recall.

November 21st, 2004, 11:24 AM
Hi Petlover, and welcome to the board! First of all, let me say good for you for rescuing Lenny! :thumbs up I'm presuming Lenny is a dog (don't laugh - people here bring their cats out on leashes all the time! :) ). What breed/mix is he, and how old?

Next, let me say that I agree with LuckyRescue. Off-leash training is something that should happen much later on in your training. Have you considered bringing him to obedience classes? That's a great place to learn the basics, work on all your training (including recall) in a safe environment, and to develop your relationship. It's also a great place to make new friends - 2-and-4-legged!

I also agree that the first thing Lenny needs to learn is to sit and wait for you to put his leash on. That's one of the first things my sister and I taught our puppies. Now they sit automatically as soon as we pick up their leashes!

Good luck, and let us know how your training goes!

November 21st, 2004, 01:13 PM
I think of Lenny like a teenager who can't be trusted with the car. He doesn't respect curfew and drives all over town like a madman. So guess what, I take the car keys back and he has to prove to me that he can handle the responsibility - which means I have to take the time to teach him how to be a good driver.
Translating that to dog-talk means that he is back on the leash until he proves to you that he comes when you call - no matter the distraction. You start with a short leash in the house and work your way to a long leash outside. It is not his right to run wild in the park - he could be killed chasing a squirrel into the road or he could kill what ever it is he decides to chase. And even after he is well-trained there will be days when he is great and others when he has a wild-hair and needs to be back on the leash. You have to respond appropriately to his moods and he has to earn his freedoms.
The door issue is about respecting you and your boundaries. Create an imaginary box at the door that he is not permitted to enter without your permission. This is a perminant boundary - so even when the door is accidentally open he should look to you for advice and ask if he can go out or not.
The leash should empower your words, and keeps him safe while you are teaching. If you want to be off leash then don't rely on it as your only means of communication. Use your voice (not loud, but intense, commanding or rewarding), your body language and your attitude. Make sure you are being clear and effective. If he does not understand then you need to ask yourself what you need to do differently to get his attention (never violent or mean). dogs are not dumb - we are the ones who do not communicate clearly with them - so in order for your dog to change you must be different in your actions.

louie's mum
November 21st, 2004, 07:45 PM
I think of Lenny like a teenager who can't be trusted with the car. He doesn't respect curfew and drives all over town like a madman. So guess what, I take the car keys back and he has to prove to me that he can handle the responsibility - which means I have to take the time to teach him how to be a good driver.

what a great analogy AND visual :D
even tho i don't have a dog *(yet ;) ), i love to read these posts.
i learn SO much which i think all of us agree can't hurt BEFORE i become a doggie mum. (not sure how louie will feel about this. no, i'm not gonna rush into anything, but u never know if a dog will come into my life as unexpectedly as louie did)
just wanted to say thanks. :thumbs up

November 22nd, 2004, 06:40 AM
thanks everyone that is really helpful, and thank you for such a warm welcome! Lenny is about a year and a half, he is a mongrel and we're not really sure what he's made up of!!! We think he looks like a miniature great dane, he's a gorgeous golden colour but sooo skinny as he wasn't being treated right when the shelter picked him up. :( He still has a few kilos to put on.

I will start the training today, he already knows "sit" and "lie down" but is still getting used to his name so we're working on that.

We'll let you know how he gets on, thanks again guys. :D