Q. My dog doesn’t come when I’m leaving for the day! I let the dog out before breakfast (we live on 100 acres, she can go out off leash) and when I go out to call her in, she takes off! Sometimes I have to go to work and leave her out all day, and that worries me sick! Any ideas how I can get her to come back? She’s not chasing anything, she’s just running away for the fun of it.
A. Oh dear! There are many ways to combat a runaway dog, and the simplest one is to invest in a cable, kennel, or really long line. Don’t give your dog opportunity to run!
While that will solve the problem, that won’t deal with the issue of your dog viewing ‘come’ as ‘run and play’! ‘Come’ may need to be replaced with another word, such as ‘here’ or ‘c’mon in!’, or a whistle,(Famously, getyerbutthome has worked with a certain dog of mine…), and retrained.
Don’t let your dog fail at all ever with their recall. Start from the basics again, six foot leash, treats and all! Graduate to a longer leash and continue to retrain. Now is a great time to have a partner! Let the dog drag the leash, and call the dog back and forth, giving plenty of treats and love.
In case of failure (which you shouldn’t allow) or escape, here are some tricks to lure your dog home.
- Go back inside.
- Sit down and turn around, back to your dog.
- Pretend there is something OH SO AWESOME! In the grass.
- Scream bloody murder (Please note this does not work at all ever on certain dogs, while it works like a charm on others.)
- If your dog is ball-minded, throw a ball and have them fetch.
- If your dog is a travel lover, open your car and say let’s go!
- Rattle the food bowl.
Never, ever, ever, scold your dog when they have returned to you! They were playing. They thought it was fun! The only way to win with your dog is to make coming to you more fun than running away.