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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20178
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Saluki rescue female, l have had her 3.5 years, recently she

Customer Question

Saluki rescue female, l have had her 3.5 years, recently she has regressed to when l first rescued her. She sits five or so paces away from me, when l move one step forward, she gets up and lies down the exact distance we started at. 2 hours later l managed to entice her to get into the car; after three episodes she is now on the lead for a month, at a different park. I plan to take her back to where l can safely let her run free next week and see what happens. Although she now will often not come out of my bedroom to join my older Saluki in the morning walk. Up till now she comes out for the evening walk.
Is she attempting to fix her position as leader of the pack as the older dog looses power? To all appearances she is in command of the situation not me. This Saluki is the most intelligent dog of all the Saluki rescues l have ever had. You can literally see what she is planning.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 3 years ago.

I'm Shantal and I'm a moderator for this topic.

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Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 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.
I'm so sorry no one answered your question. It must have been in a different category where I did not have access. In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
What obedience training has Safra had?
Is she still jumping up and using stairs normally?
Is she eating, drinking and eliminating normally?
So is it that she won't come to you when outside or inside now or that she doesn't really want to go for walks?
Did it start by her not wanting to come to you when she was off leash?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response, sorry for the delay, l have only just got the email.

We have been to several one to one trainers without any success. Safra is the 9th rescue Saluki l have had, of course they are all different, she is one of the worst cases l have had, and is also incredibly intelligent and able to manipulate my older Saluki and probably me too, to get what she wants.

She is now doing most things normally, we just have days when she will not leave my bedroom for 24 hours. I could put a muzzle on her and carry her downstairs. This however is not my way of solving problems. I have worked on her for nearly 4 years, and the off lead problem is only recent for me, although when she came to me the previous owner could not catch her and used a lemon spray collar on her.

I am not sure whether she is spooked or whether we are suffering from a leadership problem. Dilly the older dog is declining and Safra may be trying out the power game of who will be head of the family, her or me.


Tomorrow l am going back to the fenced park and will let her off after just over one month of exercise on the lead in a different location. I hope l will be able to come home at some point.


I think Safra is happy, she has lots of friends human and dogs, we spend up to three hours a day walking in parks, l work at home so the dogs are not left for hours on end. She is so damaged that nobody wanted her.


I just have come to a cross-roads when l did not know what to do next, l do not think a dog made for running should spend her life on a lead.


I would be grateful for any help. Thanks Althea Wilson

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. Let me give you my thoughts on why dogs stop responding to the come command.

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.
Additionally, dogs 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.
Now I know you are saying to yourself that your dog already knows the command which I do indeed know, but I'm going to recommend changed to a different command with the same meaning such as "Here". Often changing the command to a different word stops the dog ignoring it. So use "Here" instead. When your dog is off leash (at first in a contained area), call her to you multiple times for no other reason than to reward her for obeying. Then let her run back off to play. This helps teach her that just because you call her doesn't mean she has to stop what she is doing permanently, just that she has to come to you and get her treat. Eventually you phase out the treats all the time but still give occasionally so they never know if you are or are not going to give the treat. I recommend hot dogs slices (vienna sausages) or raw chicken liver slivers as treats. They are high value treats and most dogs love them.

She is likely testing your authority by not listening immediately. That is a passive way of starting to take over leadership. So keep a short leash on her and give the heel or Here command and start walking once she knows "here". you can not let her ignore it as that proves she is stronger willed than you.

You sound like you have a good grasp of dog behavior and issues and just need a few tips to keep on track with her. We often can't see the issues with out own dogs as clearly as we can with a total strangers. I'm sure you will see a lot of improvement pretty quickly. I actually had one owner that came back 2 days later and said changing the command to Here corrected the problem overnight which even I was amazed it helped that quickly.\

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 .