Runaway Dog!

Just today a fella in a truck across the street at Traylor’s had his Siberian husky pup run out of his rig and across all 5 lanes of traffic successfully- thankfully. I became aware of it when he was yelling and doing a dominance roll on the pup and tugging on the pup’s skin in anger and, I am sure, fear in front of the clinic. The pup squealed in pain. And wriggled to get away, but did not succeed.

It is understandable but counterproductive to punish a pup who has run off in such frightening near death circumstances. If the pup lets you catch him and he gets punished for it, what do you think he will do next time? Not let you catch him, that’s what. In getting a dog to come on command you want to reward the return with a treat or a kind word. Make it a positive. Never a negative.

I had a real life lesson in this when we first started boarding dogs here and did not have all the fences we do now. Katie and Dartagne were a lab and Dalmatian who boarded with us. One day when I was taking them out, Katie did an end around me and pushed on the kennel door, and the chase was on because the door had not latched. She ran straight toward HWY 101 and I put Dart back and went screaming out the door for her. I was frantic to keep her from going in the road and yelling her name anxiously at the top of my voice. She was on the sidewalk when it occurred to me that she would never come to me with the tone of my voice being upset, I immediately brought the tone in to play sound (high fun pitch) and said, “come on Katie, you want a treat?” “who’s a good girl?” and she ran right back to me and let me leash her up. Phew.

Another time I saw a loose dog at the railroad bridge park being chased by the petsitter who was hollering frantically and running as fast as she could to keep up. The dog was having a grand time of keep away. I opened the hatch to my ford explorer and said, “wanna go for a ride?” and the dog jumped right in. The petsitter was amazed that the dog would just jump into a stranger’s vehicle. I told her, “what dog doesn’t love a car ride?” It is that easy a lot of the time to catch a runaway.

Remember think like a dog, what would you run to if you were a dog?

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