'Running away' from a dog that won't come back..... - Labradors Forums
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 'Running away' from a dog that won't come back.....

Ok, a subject I speak on nearly every week to someone, so I thought id write it once and be done with it and hope its useful and food for thought.

Its such common advice to 'run away, calling!' when your dog runs up to another dog or person etc etc.

However I REALLY wouldn't be running in the other direction when your dog does this. Its such commonly given advice and I hate to be the party pooper on following it but:

1) If your dog does not obey you at 2 yards from you it will not obey you at 200 yards.
A dog that has the self confidence to take off and take itself 150 yards from you is not going to be overly bothered that you are.... 'Fidoooo Fidooooo Fido i'm LEAVING!! I'm going!!! See ya!!!!' etc etc as you run away... So if its blanking you at 2, you won't EXIST at 200 ... or not till he's good and ready anyway.

2) Meantime, the person the dog is running up to, sees you disappearing, running into the distance, and rightly should feel rather aggrieved. Yes its a regular method to try and get the dog back... based on the dog 'suddenly getting insecure and panicing and racing after you....but imagine if you have a sensitive dog, or are a bit dog wary yourself, and the owner is skipping away even FURTHER.... its not exactly going to endear you to the situation. And chances are THEY then have to deal with the situation because your dog is away from you AND you are miles away. Then we get cross when people shout or whack or kick out at our dogs etc etc. But you aren't there to give them the confidence you are in charge.

3) If your dog starts to follow that dog or person... or worse still the dog yours is approaching panics and bolts with your dog chasing after it, you are EVEN further away to DO anything about it.

4) Commands and voices sound very different at 2 yards, 20 yards and 200 yards. A dog who reliably understands and complies at 2 yards... may not at 20. And definitely won't at 200, so if you genuinely want to feel your dog 'KNOWS WHAT I'M TELLING HIM, because he does it when I call him at 20 yards...' get out and PROOF it.

Sit him up at 200 yards, and recall him. Take him back, sit him up at 200 yards and call him. Over a few weeks do it 50 times!! TEACH him what you look like at 200 yards and what your commands SOUND like at 200 yards. he may still ignore them if he chooses to, BUT you have some confidence that he has seen you at that distance and complied, and he has HEARD you at that distance and complied. A dog gets called at 20 yards 100 times a week.... but how often do they get called when they have streaked off and are now 200 yards? Not often. It needs working on BETWEEN.

---------------------------

Why do we do the running away yelling thing? Answer: To make it look like we are DOING something to the person involved. No other single reason. Once in a blue moon it will work. Usually when the dog is still young and genuinely insecure (he soon won't be) and secondly when he sees a negative response from the dog is is bowling up to if even vaguely sensitive to canine body language (some aren't sadly!!)
If the dog has gone that hard and fast, we KNOW we aren't stopping him. We KNOW he will only **** an ear to us when he fancies, be that when he sees the dog is unfriendly by body language, OR when he has played himself out if they are 'welcoming'.

So don't DO it! All you teach the dog is he can ignore you!! He can hear 47 shouts of his name, hand clapping, you running off like Lindford Christie, and he gains 100% security in the fact you can't do naff all about it, your commands aren't to be complied with and he is on his own so he best make the best of it.

So, what DO you do then? Well the simple and quick answer is train for this don't just respond to it when it happens in situ, in reality, on a walk.. but that's a whole other post.

What you DON'T do is say a single word. You see your dog do that 'freeze and goooooo'. Get walking. Get running if you want. But TOWARDS your dog NOT away!!! You are saying nothing, you are asking nothing, you are commanding nothing so you ARE NOT CHASING THE DOG OR GIVING IN TO HIM.

However what you ARE doing is showing the person being run up to that you are coming to take control of the situation. As you close the gap you give yourself the chance to communicate with that person be it an apology or simply a 'stand still' or a 'please don't pat him when he jumps up at you, PLEASE!!'.....

Also you have about 100% more chance that your dog, because its MUCH more familiar will comply with your command at 20 yards than 200.

So get walking/running. Say NOTHING even out of embarrassment to the owner, do NOT call.... you are making things right by COMING. You don't need to then chuck loads of useless verbage at your dog which is actually aimed at the person thinking you have no control etc etc.

Get to a 'safe distance' and that could be 5 yards.... might be further if your dog is not usually a culprit to do this.... wait for a moments respite in the play or whatever... and squeak that ball and use that voice. You will shock the pants off your dog because in his red mist he was thinking you were 150 yards up the track and suddenly 'here you are!!'. Suddenly you are Harry Potter to Fido.

Rustle that treat bag, use the 'whats this, whats THIS????' type thing to get im back and as he turns and COMES..... THEN throw in (if you can try and remember!!) a 'come!! Gooooooooood come Fido... woooo! Come!!!'

Then hand on the collar.... VERY important. Secure the 'package' ;-) ;-) Forget arguing with said person, apologising, explaining, waffling etc etc for a few seconds whilst you ANCHOR your hound.

Then do your verbage. Brief or otherwise.... then walk away making yourself HUGELY interesting to your dog.

Yes in the scheme of things, you can chalk it up as a failure. but you have dealt with it as swiftly as is humanly possible. You have stayed in 'control distance'. AND probably even more importantly, you have NOT taught your dog to ignore you.

:-)
Di
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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How I wish I had read this when Bamber was a puppy! It took me about 4 years to work this out for myself through trial and error, having made things more difficult for myself in the meantime by doing everything you have described above! (He is now 5 and we have now got his training to a point where I am finally in control in these sort of situations, which is a very nice feeling!)
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ah yes, went through this yesterday with George. I think he caught a whiff of "hoo-hoo" at one of the farms. TBF, he is generally pretty good.

Though OH went off after him, but it is George who did the Harry Potter.

One thing that does work with him: He is very good at emergency sit (stop didn't seem to work as a command but sit he does very well.) I can get him to just sit and stay put and then can come after him (treat in hand.)

Whilst he has a bit of a disconnect with 'come,' he seems pretty wired in to sit.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Read this and thought I would give a recall at 200 yards a try. 200 yards is quite a distance. I usually call the dogs back at about half that distance.
I was really impressed they both stayed put while I walked 200 yards away. I can't manage to shout very loud so had to use a whistle and hand signal to recall but they both dashed in.
I've never thought of varying the distance, I do the boring obedience type training to practise recall. The dogs seemed to enjoy the change and loved running back. I suppose it was easier having the dogs attention rather than when they have run off to see another dog, that's a bit difficult to set up for training, but at least they know what I look and sound like that far away. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 'Running away' from a dog that won't come back.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana
So, what DO you do then? Well the simple and quick answer is train for this don't just respond to it when it happens in situ, in reality, on a walk.. but that's a whole other post.

What you DON'T do is say a single word. You see your dog do that 'freeze and goooooo'. Get walking. Get running if you want. But TOWARDS your dog NOT away!!! You are saying nothing, you are asking nothing, you are commanding nothing so you ARE NOT CHASING THE DOG OR GIVING IN TO HIM.

However what you ARE doing is showing the person being run up to that you are coming to take control of the situation. As you close the gap you give yourself the chance to communicate with that person be it an apology or simply a 'stand still' or a 'please don't pat him when he jumps up at you, PLEASE!!'.....
What do you do if you see an owner attempting to recall their dog away from your dog in an ineffective or inappropriate way? How would you handle that situation?

I have never had a problem with my dog's recall and fully appreciate how lucky I am; we have done training but it is also in the inherent nature of my dog to want to be with his owner.

However, I remember one time when a beagle called Milo came over to play with my dog when his owners didn't want him to (they were busy building a snowman during the time we had the thick snow). They repeatedly called 'Milo, Milo, Milo' to no effect. Twice I walked over to them with my dog so their dog would follow.

The third time he came over we were walking a good distance away across the field and I had no intention of taking their dog back to them a third time. Again the owners were repeatedly shouting 'Milo, Milo, Milo' which was getting really irritating and I was thinking if I was Milo I would be ignoring that too.

Eventually the male owner ran over across the field, clearly annoyed with his dog. As he approached, the dog cowered, and the man wacked it across the bum and picked it up.

I was completely stunned, wanted to react but didn't know how to handle th situation. All I managed was something about using treats to train the dog to come back.

I appreciate you have written this post to help people reflect on why they are carrying out 'run & call' behaviour but thought I'd share this experience.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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To be honest Laura, its totally relevant. They have probably been told, like so many to stand back and call... and 'never go to your dog because its giving in' or some such thing... Its the 'static' version of 'run away and yell!!'

To be honest if I have a dog come up to mine that is being a pain or clearly blanking its owners, I will, making a quick assessment that its not an obvious sabre tooth tiger, throw a slip lead round its head and tow it back to its owners. And stand with them, making a clear point they put it on the lead before I move off again.

That usually does the trick in terms of removing unwanted canines from my group (and another cracking positive for having your dogs wear slip leads not clip on as if it hasn't got a collar on I can still get it easily.) ;-)

If its patently aggressive I will walk briskly on, and if it follows, it follows, frankly its their bad luck. I won't go to a ROAD but they can puff after me yelling all they like. If they catch up, I will clearly say that I would of put it on a lead and brought it back to you but it looks like a nasty bit of work so I wasn't touching it.

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Fantastically useful advice as always, and now a sticky
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Glad you posted this Di as I can never understand why at all the obedience puppy classes etc the trainers give this advice because frankly it doesn't work!!!!

So many times do I have another dog decide being with my little group is far more fun than walking with their owner...said dogs owner calling and running away without the dog even giving them a second glance or noticing :roll: I often end up taking the dog back because I know full well that otherwise this other dog will quite happily join us for the rest of our walk and I don't come out to exercise everyone elses dogs :lol:

P.S Di - I met Gill's little Wylanbriar baby the other day, she is gorgeous!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for this, Di. Unfortunately I have been one of those people spouting this as a suggestion to improve recall ops: (I think read it in a training book) and yes..it used to work...but doesn't anymore. I always worry and rewarding or reinforcing the wrong behaviour, so your post has given me the confidence to do what seems far more logical in the first place!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachandmurph
Glad you posted this Di as I can never understand why at all the obedience puppy classes etc the trainers give this advice because frankly it doesn't work!!!!
I think like a lot of old techniques, this method has got a little mixed up over the years.

The Running Away method was taught to me by an elderly, experienced Trainer and it worked when nothing else did with my Lurcher. BUT he taught me to get the dog's attention, using a check chain lobbed on the ground near the dog, BEFORE she had legged it and THEN to run the other way the moment her focus was broken and fixed on me.

Running the other way calling a dog, which is already in full flight away from you, is as pointless as blowing your whistle at it's bum when you start whistle training. You need to be one step ahead of the dog, watching it all the time, and get it's attention before it switches it's ears (and brain) off to all commands for it to work. Unfortunately this seems to be the bit many newer trainers forget to tell you.

Good post, Di.
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