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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Why does he keep running off

I have an 18 month Staff cross who keeps running off into the same places. It's a new thing that he does but why? Can someone help me? Why does he do it and how can I stop him?
Emma Pickersgill, via facebook

Sounds to me that Emma has to become the most interesting thing in the park and really work on her recall. Anyone any tips?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Karen Wild, behaviourist advises:

Hi Emma! If it’s a new thing it may be that he has had one or two extremely enjoyable experiences after running away and then realised that he can continue his fun no matter what you do! There are a few things I would use to help. Firstly I would get a long line (30ft training line, or washing line if you like) and attach this to his collar so that he trails it along. Never let the line get more than halfway along its length away from you as you walk. Secondly, arm yourself with the tastiest treats you can find, plus a toy he loves – squeaky ones can be good. Finally, as you go for your walk practice calling him back after only a few feet, and keep it up into a great game. Get him to chase you by running away (as long as he does not grab or snatch). Build this up into such a game that the second you see him alert to something in the distance, you can grab the line, call him, run away and offer him a treat too. What dog wouldn’t want to be with such a fun owner?!


  1. Whats motivating him to run off? If he loves food I would try re-call and then treat with cheese, sausage or chicken. Something really worthwhile! Maybe use a whistle. Make sure he associates the whistle with treats though. A whistle will cut through his concentration better than your voice and wont give away any of your stress or anxiety. You can buy 30-120ft training lines on the internet. Put him that until re-call is spot on.

  2. What places does he run to? Are they food/other dogs/people - what's the attraction for him?

    What do you do when he has run off?

    How good is his recall in other places?

    Sounds to me like the recall needs some more work!

  3. Olwen Turns MAPDT -

    It sounds as if you need to do some work on your recall. Get a whistle and everytime you feed your dog, toot first. Your dog will learn that toot = food and start to come running.

    In the meantime use a long lead and harness so that your dog has the freedom to move around but not the ability to run off.

    Don't always call your dog when it's time to go. Call back often, sometimes just to give a treat, sometimes to go back on a short lead for more walking and sometimes to go home. Always get hold of the collar, that way if you decide to put on the lead you don't have a dog dancing just out of reach.

    Dogs naturally want to sniff around, just be more interesting then the smells, take toys to the park with you that only come out at the park.

  4. Well, thankyou so much. i will get a whistle, funny tho, i was looking at them yesterday.
    ive found out that its a lady who puts food out for the fox who lives round here.
    His recall is really good, its just in that place near the gates and what makes it worse, he waits till im not looking and away he goes. i always call him back fuss him and let him run off again but i will look up a nice tasty doggy treat to make and use that. thank you for that.