Running Away!

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Running Away!

Postby tobster » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:52 am

:!: :!:

Huge problem has come up with my pup, Toby, who is now almost 11 months old. He has OK recall in normal situations, though it has actually gotten worse since around 8 months old. The emergency is when he accidentally gets loose. This morning I dropped his leash (accidentally) and he sprinted away. This is the third time it has happened. He seems to realize when the leash has been dropped and then instantly begins running away as fast possible. It's not the same as when he's at the park and just running around, this is a purposeful run for freedom. I'm guessing he thinks this is a fun game. I live in a big city, so the fear of him getting hurt is real and immediate. He ignores all commands and his name. This morning he bolted up the sidewalk without looking back. I didn't want to encourage the "game" part of it, but it was an emergency so I started jogging away from him, just so I could catch him trying to chase me.. he did chase after me, but then right as he was coming up to me he ran ACROSS THE STREET. After running down another block, he made a stop to say hi to someone who was nice enough to help me by calling after him. It was really really scary :cry: . Other than obviously making sure I don't make this mistake again and continuing to work on "come," what can I do? We're working on training everyday, but it seems like when it really matters, he decides to ignore me. After seeing him run in the street, I am desperate for a solution. I'm looking for a class that works on this, and considering a vibrate/shock collar, which I've heard a lot of Brittany owners use because of hunting. I had never considered this type of thing before, but I'd rather zap my dog than have him hit by a car.


So that it's not all bad stuff, here are some new pics of Toby:
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Re: Running Away!

Postby dmedric » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:45 pm

I know this doesn't help with your problem, but he is adorable. :D

We had a couple of scares with Cooper when we first adopted him. The trainer that I worked with suggested a super recall word (that we didn't use for any other reason) with really high value treats (e.g., meat). We trained it, but haven't had the chance to really test it yet (at least not outside of the backyard). Not sure if this would work for you.

One other interim solution might be to loop the handle of the leash over your wrist. That's what I do. It's harder to accidentally drop the leash that way.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby adele » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:39 pm

Since I've started walking two dogs I switched to hooking them up to a belt around my waist. I was constantly dropping one leash or the other :roll: I just LOVE walking them that way. I really recommend it. Another advantage is that even with both of them pulling after the same squirrel I can hold my ground... they cannot pull me over! I suggest you give it a try. There are many brands, all you really need is something secure and strong, they are wide and mine is padded so it's comfortable. This way, until the dog is trained he is safely contained. (I combine mine with Flexi leashes and can walk completely hands free. Caveat: Every trainer I've ever heard says flexi leashes are really bad for training.)

Sounds like your guy has discovered freedom! I think all you can do is practice practice practice and wait for some maturity to kick in. Practice indoors a bazillion times a day. Practice in your yard.. practice in the dog park.. I did use an electric collar and if you use it properly I think it can be a useful training tool. If you get one I recommend one with a vibrate setting, and a mile range.

When Lola was quite young she was great with the recall... then one day she discovered freedom and that was that... I've been working on recall ever since. Like Cooper, Lola is supposed to have a super recall word.. but it doesn't really work any better than "come" (sigh). Her recall is okay... but I would never trust her near a street - she just isn't that good if a distraction appears. We still practice on the street every walk even if she is on leash.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby tobster » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:20 pm

Hi - Thank you!! Great ideas. The hands free leash is so smart. How do you like flexi-leads. I've always been opposed, but I'm starting to think it might make for a much more enjoyable walk with my pup. Has anyone actually seen bad side effects?
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Re: Running Away!

Postby Lisa » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:52 pm

tobster wrote:Hi - Thank you!! Great ideas. The hands free leash is so smart. How do you like flexi-leads. I've always been opposed, but I'm starting to think it might make for a much more enjoyable walk with my pup. Has anyone actually seen bad side effects?


I ONLY use flexi's for pottying or exercising my dogs when I travel or am in a large unfenced area. I love them for taking the dogs out to potty at hotels or friends houses or where ever when I travel, because they have enough leash to explore, without having to worry about them getting in to trouble.

Flexi's are super bad for teaching a dog to walk on a loose leash, though. With a flexi, there is always tension on the leash, so the dog learns to walk with constant tension. When teaching a dog to walk on a loose leash, the last thing you want is tension on the leash. Also, if your dog is on a flexi, and you happen to drop it, there's a very good chance they'll get spooked and run faster, because this big, plastic thing is "chasing" them, as the handle tries to retract the leash and clatters along behind them.

As far as recall - practice, practice, practice. Also, I teach my dogs a "side" command, which means stay by my side, and a hand touch (their nose to my hand). That way, if I drop the leash, I can give a quick "side" or "touch" before they realize they are free, and I can grab the collar or whatever. We practice those a lot when walking, just randomly, so they don't associate those commands with being off or on leash...it's just another trick I might ask for.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby Cindy » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:47 am

Pretty hard to get too mad at that adorable face!! I think people have covered the tips pretty well and I have to agree that some of it is his age. I remember when our first Britt/Springer cross turned 11 months. She went from being pretty well trained and well behaved to "oh YES, I'm faster than they are and boy is this fun!" No treat, trick, or anything worked. We were desperate trying to find trainer who would come to our house and work with her in our particular situation. About the time I finally found someone, she turned a corner and became a well behaved dog again. As for the "shock collar" - we started using this for Layla when we got her a year ago. We didn't get it to teach her to walk on a leash but for having control when she was off leash. Her recall went from being almost non existent to the best of our 3 dogs and she does this without even being vibrated. On a rare occasion, she still needs to get a little nick but once reminded she's great. We are total converts to the electronic collar and will never have a dog again who isn't trained to one.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby adele » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:17 am

Lisa's reply reminded me... when I did dropped the leashes - I didn't call "come", I said "Stay". Both my dogs have a pretty good "stay". It is so easy to practice. We practice "stay" randomly throughout the day. It's easy... when you get up to get a drink... tell the dogs to say and reward on your return... (well first you have to build up to them being able to say while you leave the room)... I also use stay at every single intersection. I rarely have my dogs heeling so they are usually ahead of me. When we get to an intersection I tell them to stay.. then catch up to them and look for cars .. then say okay... and we cross. If they step off the curb they are told "back" and we don't go anywhere until they return to the sidewalk and wait till I say okay. This works... then when I drop the leash and I say "stay" and they do - it is the environment where they are used to being told to stay.

About the flexi - I trained Lola (sorta) to loose leash walking using a regular leash and Tramp came already trained to walking nicely on leash (sorta). Neither are perfect at it, both should be given more lessons for when distractions appear - but I figure they are good enough to not annoy me most of the time. I need to work more with Tramp who can get really out of hand when other dogs appear. I like the freedom of the flexi and am willing to put up with the lack of control to have it. When I do walk somewhere where I need more control I lock up the flexi and have a short leash.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby Barb Wright » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:12 am

Just thought I would mention that most Flexi's have a lock so that you can give yourself a regular leash of a specific length whenever you want. Then when you want the dog to have freedom to the full length of the Flexi just release the lock. I trained Cassie to loose leash walk with a flexi using the Flexi leash lock. I had to use a command...mine was "with me"......so that she knew it was time to stay by me with the pressure off the collar.

Another method that works is to have two leashes of different material, say a leather one and a nylon one, or a Flexi. The leather leash is for loose leash heeling and all leash obedience work, the other is to be used for letting the dog enjoy his walk with freedom to sniff, etc. It doesn't take long for the dogs to learn the difference in the leashes and what is required of them with the particular leash.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby BARB J » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:54 pm

I'm so sorry about your scare. That's my worst fear with Gus. We've a long ways to go for recall.

We have 'Come!' for normal requests, but are working on the serious recall which really means business. We've chosen the command, 'Now!!!!' and were told we must never allow him to refuse this command during training. The rules for this special recall training are as follows.

1. Never say the recall word more than once.
2. Never ask your pup to come to you if you feel he is distracted and won't obey.
3. If the pup doesn't come, go get him and bring him to the spot you were at.
4. When he comes, have a party! His favorite treat of all time, should fall from the heavens in copious amounts. Not one
treat, but 5 or 6! Look what happens when I say, "Now!!!!' and you come!

We started doing this in the house with no distractions. Gus is 11 months now and he'll respond now, if I'm at the doorway and he's outside, even if he's involved in digging, because he knows the reward is great. It works on the leash at the park, too, if I'm careful he's not too distracted.

But, I have no doubt at all that if he got out front or loose at the park, that he'd ignore me. We have lots and lots of work to do, and have also been considering getting trained with a collar. We want to eventually be able to hike with him off leash in the mountains and the desert, and I'm not sure that will ever become a possibility. Then again, he's just a pup.

I'll have to look into the waist leashes. We have a retractable leash for wide open spaces so he can run more, but they scare me. They can wrap around a leg and really do some damage. Or the walker can grab the line and it can really rip the flesh to the bone.

Good luck with Toby. I know that helpless feeling.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby tobster » Tue May 20, 2014 12:01 pm

Want to provide an update, since I got so much great advice.

I decided against the flexi lead, I don't think I would be consistent enough in training to introduce it just yet. I did pick up a cheap e-collar online. It has beep, vibrate, and shock. He doesn't respond (or notice?) the beep at all. The vibrate has settings 1-100. I've been using a medium-level vibrate for recall (using a new word) and he responds INSTANTLY. He's iffy on low vibrate.. I haven't tried high levels of vibrate or the shock at all, I think it would spook him more than get his attention. I'm happy with the results, just hoping that it will stick when he's not wearing the e-collar too.

The other behavioral issues that have come up are jumping and biting. I just moved to Northern California (anyone involved in Brittany club/activities in the area, by the way?) and a few of my new neighbors are terrified of Toby. This is pretty shocking because he absolutely loves all people and he is totally sweet. But he is sooo excited to meet new people he wants to jump up, and he also decided recently that play biting with humans is OK. With the move, I really slacked on training, so I know it's my fault, but I've got to turn it around ASAP. It's really sad to see people afraid of petting my dog because he is just so excited to see them.

So what's the best method for stopping jumping? He jumps up on command ("hug"), and also knows "off" (feet on the ground), but I'd like to stop him from jumping up in the first place. And then what to do about play biting? As a small pup I did the "yip!" and ignore thing, but that doesn't seem to work on him anymore. I've thought of using the e-collar, but I'd prefer to just keep that to recall only.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Running Away!

Postby adele » Tue May 20, 2014 1:16 pm

I'm having the same problem with Tramp right now only he is 60 pounds. He can really scare people.

He has to sit when people approach. I am ready with treats and have a tight hold on a short leash (so I can make sure that if he does get too excited and jump that he doesn't reach the people). If he is sitting calmly then he won't use his mouth, he only does that when he is too excited. So, generally as people approach I make him sit and tell him what a good dog and give him a treat. People always smile because if I say sit both dogs are sitting and looking at me waiting for a treat. If they want to pat him I just warn them that he may jump but tell them that I am working on it... generally people come forward and as they do I warn him to stay and use the treats. But I am ready with the leash to keep him off people just in case. It seems to be working. It's a bit of a pain because I'd really like to be able to just walk past people without stopping ... I figure once he's sitting nicely as they pass I'll move up to walking nicely (maybe have to do a "stand" first).

You could also try a strick "heel" (doesn't work with Tramp becaue he doesn't know what that means and he walks without pulling so I haven't bothered to teach it to him... may have to)
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Re: Running Away!

Postby Lisa » Tue May 20, 2014 2:54 pm

I usually teach a dog to sit or lie down when people approach them. If I need a little extra "help" on the sit to keep the dog from popping up and jumping, I will step on the leash, so that they only have enough leash to sit or stand, but not jump. If little kids want to say hi to the dogs, I kneel down right next to my dog and hold the collar. This has two benefits - 1) I can better control the dog so they don't jump up and knock the kid down and 2) I can see what the kid is doing and intervene immediately if necessary.
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Re: Running Away!

Postby DLDoiron » Tue May 20, 2014 10:23 pm

Tobster.
I live in S.CA and go up north the end of July for Brittany Fun Days. Give me a call at 562 6990-3139 and I'll give you all the details. I do belong to the N.CA Brittany Club
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Re: Running Away!

Postby DLDoiron » Fri May 23, 2014 5:28 pm

I just noticed my phone number had too many numbers. 562 690-3139
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Re: Running Away!

Postby BARB J » Sat May 24, 2014 7:59 pm

My immediate suggestion is what Lisa suggested. When I predict people might greet Gus, rather than walk on by, he gets put into a 'sit' and I step on the leash so his only possibilities are 'sit' and 'down.' He'll try to jump, but settles down pretty fast for an appropriate meeting.

I have not seriously tried the suggestion we were given at training, because my friends (despite my pleas) encourage hyping up Gus and his jumping and rough and tumble greetings. *sigh* But, our trainers have great success with it.

They suggest having a pizza party. A guest rings the front door bell while the master gives their leashed dog whatever command they choose to stay off - 'sit', 'down', 'wait', or whatever. Depending on the dog's level of control, they may either walk past but within reach, or greet the dog with or without a treat. If they make it to the kitchen without the dog jumping on them, they get a piece of pizza.

If not, they go out the back door, around the house and try again. The more guests the better.

Eventually the leash is removed and the guest asks to approach and pet the calm dog. (Yeah, right . . . not with a puppy, but there's hope!)
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