You would think that our dogs are all magnificently trained, polite hosts, and greet people calmly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dog chaos reigns when the doorbell rings. Are we proud of that? No, of course not. Our only excuse is that most of these dogs’ lives have been in the pandemic era. We’ve gotten out of the habit of having people over.
That proved problematic today. A friend was dropping off a key and rang the doorbell. Ironically, the key was for the training room where Hope is teaching a Dog Manners class. Dog chaos grew. Three of the dogs charged madly for the door. Tango, napping soundly in the office (a.k.a. Hard At Work), didn’t pay any attention. But the other three maniacs acted like they’d never seen another human before. Booker and Torque got out. Torque came right back in when called. Booker didn’t.
Unfortunately, our friend came to the “front” door (which is actually at the side of the house) outside the fence. The people who regularly come by know they should come to the back (inside the fence) door. And latch the gate when they come in. Firmly. And double-check it before taking another step.
He’s so special
We’ve mentioned before that Booker is special in a not-good way. He’s sweet and he’s smart, but life is a challenge for him. He’s not a danger to anyone, but he doesn’t know how to react to new and different situations. His reaction on being “free” was to look around with confusion. But when called, he started play-bowing and making rocking-horse motions. He was inches from being gone with the wind.
The fastest way to get a dog to run away from you is to chase it. Since all healthy dogs are faster and more agile than most humans, it’s not a game you can ever win. Most dogs love a “chase” game – especially when they’re the ones being chased. You can almost see the dialogue bubble over their head saying “Yay! Let’s Play Keep Away!”
Luckily, we are dog trainers and our own advice came to the fore: The best way to get your dog to come to you is to run away from them. (It also works with human toddlers, as our former next-door neighbor will attest.) We know it goes against every instinct you have. When somebody you love is running off, potentially facing danger, you really want to go after them, stop them, protect them. In Booker’s case, maybe wring his little neck and feed him gruel for the rest of the week, as well.
Run around the house
Hope remembered to take off running, away from Booker. She ran all the way to the other side of the house, opened the gate, and Booker ran right into our fenced yard. He was actually thrilled to be back on familiar territory. And we were delighted to get him back. He got lots of treats for good behavior.
If you’ve ever had a delivery or service person leave your gate open, you know the sinking feeling and terror that takes over when your dog gets out. We’re hoping our morning’s adventure will help you remember to run away from your dog. It takes a conscious decision, so don’t let the panic take over. The best way to get a dog to come to you is to run away from it. Dogs are, by nature, predators. It’s part of their make–up to chase something that moves. If acting like prey is what it takes to get your dog back, it’s completely worth it.
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