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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20173
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have a 2year old lab who keeps running away even when out

Customer Question

We have a 2year old lab who keeps running away even when out for a walk. He runs away to his "wife" and son. Wplease suggest something we can . He has been neutered also we have tried electronic collar we have had many dogs over the years and never anything like this. Mgt.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Many dogs don't come when called because they have learned that the only time they are called is when fun time is over. People call their dogs to them to make them come inside or to stop chasing prey (cats) or to be put on leash (end of free running time) or even crated. The only association they have with the come command is negative.

Dogs also find chase to be a highly amusing game and have learned that if they get close to a human, the human might chase them. They love a good game. So what you need to do is make coming to you more pleasurable.

The easiest way is to reward your dog with small tiny treats and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me. Good treats are vienna sausage slices or liver slivers. These are things that dogs don't normally get and usually find irresistible so they are pleased to come to you to get them.

I alway recommend starting inside since most dogs are more than willing to come when inside. You can even have a helper and both call the dog to them in turn rewarding the dog for coming to you.

A shock training collar can be effective to use as a reprimand for long distance recall. The tone that precedes the shock is often handy to alert the dog you want them back to you. However, they must be used properly to be effective. You work with the dog on recall with positive techniques first and use the reprimand only after the dog is doing well with the recall. I use it to get the dog's attention back on me after a strong distraction. They are best used by experienced trainers or they become ineffective.

If his "wife" is in heat then that is a powerful attraction. Even the most well behaved dog is tempted by a female in heat. If that is the cause, it will last about 3-4 weeks.

Since he really wants to play with his "wife" and son, you might want to arrange regular play dates with them. If he knows that he will have time to play with them on a regular basis, then he will be less likely to run over to their house.

Another option would be an electronic fence. They have several different kinds. Underground wired fences work by delivering a shock when the dog approaches the wire. However, with this type, a dog can run through them given enough provocation. They also have petsmart instant fence. I works differently. As long as the dog is in the predefined area, the collar receives a signal and doesn't shock. If the dog leaves the area, they are then shocked until they reënter the field. Of course, there is a safety feature built in to stop shocks after a certain period of time and in the event of a power failure. See one here:

I used this for my rottweiler and it contained him and he was 130 pounds. He did exit once to protect another of our dogs that was not contained but he immediately reentered the yard when the other dog ran.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi ,

Just a quick follow up to see if you have had time to review the answer I provided and to see if it was helpful.