Oh No! My Dog Is Running Away!

Posted on Sep 13, 2012
Behavioral Modification, Teaching a dog recall
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Tonight, as I was leaving work, I turned the corner to witness a woman running toward the street.  In front of her was a very scared and frantically running Pug.  Fortunately, the bus was able to stop as were the other cars on the road.  I watched as several other people joined in the run as they yelled and waved their arms in the air while calling the dog.  The humans had definitely engaged in “let’s chase the dog.”  Dogs love this game even if they don’t know they are playing it.  It goes something like this. Dog runs.  People chase and yell angrily.  Dog runs.

I will be nice.  Let me just say, if I were that dog, I would have been running away from them too!  I get that we all panic when our dog gets out.  Some dogs just take off with no street smarts whatsoever and run rampant.  I’ll explain what I did.  (Only because it worked.)  It may not have, but it’s a little advice I’d like to share in the event your dog escapes or for any other dog you’re trying to catch.

I drove up to the next block and used my car to block the street.  It was very Starsky and Hutch but with less tire squealing.  I got out of my car and bent down on the ground.  The dog stopped in front of me.  Not so that I could get her, but at least she wasn’t running.  She was exhausted and frightened.  The people that were chasing her came running up the street attempting to see how loud they could say the dog’s name.  I think the dog knew its name.  Just a guess.  As they were getting closer, the dog stood up and looked for a place to run.  I called to those in hot pursuit of the runaway to kneel down so they would be less threatening.  They did, and the dog stopped.

It may not have, but it did.  Frantically screaming and chasing an already scared animal, is not the best way to get them to come to you.  If they run out of your site, you are out of luck, and believe me, I’ve been there.  The point I want to make is that if your dog gets away from you and is not already frantically running, the best thing you can do is call its name and turn around and run the other direction – hopefully, that’s toward home.  It’s scary to try it, but they will usually follow.

The Pug that is the topic of this post, was gathered up by her people, as one woman said, “I hate this dog.”  I’m hoping this was just a moment of frustration.  Maybe the dog knew exactly what it was doing.  Hope not.

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