When your Dog Gets Out

The other day, I am embarrassed to admit, Jessi got out of our house. I was carrying a monitor out and she sneaked out the door. I hate that. As careful as we are, it can happen. As careful as anyone is, it can happen. My four regular dogs all ran out too because I was worried about Jessi and didn’t close the door. There was a lady walking her dog along the street too.

I don’t worry about my four. They are all comfortable off leash and will come back to me easily enough. When we first got Chase, he wouldn’t come to me whatsoever. Or my husband or anyone. He had learned that it was dangerous to come when called. Well, we convinced him otherwise and now he has a great recall. And he’s off leash so much for agility, flyball, and hiking that he is comfortable with it and doesn’t feel like he needs to run off and explore.

I tell all my fosters that one of the most important things they can learn is to come back to their person. It’s so important. I worried Jessi would run out onto the busy street that borders ours. Fortunately she didn’t. I just opened the front door and she ran right in, so that was good. Then I rounded up my regular 4 and they went in too. They all thought it was great fun.

I always have a long line in my car if I need it, and some other auto accessories that are useful for emergencies and dogs. I don’t use them often, fortunately.

But when your new dog gets off leash outside your house, and it can happen to anyone, what do you do? First and foremost you cannot ever punish your dog when he comes to you. Ever ever ever. Even if you are screaming mad that the dog got out and doesn’t have a recall, you have to be happy and reward the dog for coming back. Coming must be fun!

Training a recall can take a lot of work. One of the things I like to do is just get the dogs used to being off leash in a fenced area or on hikes. That way they know that they can come back and get a treat, then go off again. And make it fun, you have to be the most interesting thing to the dog… and that is quite hard to be!

Good luck in training that recall!