Yesterday I was taking my dogs for a walk, usually I take the Papillons together, then the old lady Carmina, and then Lizzie. Not necessarily in that order. I could walk them all together, and I have before, but they all have different athletic abilities so it’s easier to take them separately, and I get extra exercise. But I digress. On my second loop yesterday with Carmina, a little Miniature Pincher came tearing across the street from seemingly nowhere. Fortunately the min-pin is a small dog, so although Carmina was far from happy and would have preferred just throwing the offending creature out of her way, we managed to get him out from underfoot and continue on our way. Half a block later, here he comes again, tearing down the road after us. He’s not aggressive, just a little unwise to rush up and try to sniff the butt of a much larger and entirely unamused dog.
As I start looking around trying to figure out who this dog belongs to before he follows us another block attached to my growling dog’s butt, a girl pull up in a little pick up truck. “Is my dawg followin’ yew?” … Um, yes. That would appear to be the case. She gets out of her truck, leaving it running and doesn’t take half a step toward the min-pin before that little package of canine lightening takes off in the opposite direction. So what does she do? Gets back in the truck and let’s the dog chase the truck all the way back down the street –as apparently the “dawg” will chase cars, but going to her was out of the question.
Thinking that that was the last I would see of the elusive min-pin, I finished the old lady’s walk and got Lizzie. 10-15 minutes later Lizzie and I make it back around to that street and as if on cue, here comes the little streak of black lightening heading directly for us. Are you kidding me?!! Here’s that same dog, in the same place, doing the same thing and no twangy girl in pajama pants anywhere in sight. Unlike Carmina, Lizzie is more interested in landing a big paw flat on the min-pin’s head, ducking and weaving thus frustrating the little dog’s attempts to sniff butt. I decide to just try to move on and jog off with Lizzie.
About a block down just when I think my plan has worked. Yes, you guessed it, again. Black lightning does strike twice. This time, he nearly goes under the tires of another passing truck before bee-lining for another shot at Lizzie butt. Now, I am truly aggravated and not just a little angry at little Miss Pajama Pants. So, I wheel around and start jogging back to what I think is the house the dog came from. As I get closer, I see the pajama pants hanging out, occupied with things other than looking for or securing her dog. This really ticks me off, so I yell in a not-so-congenial manner “HEY, COME GET YOUR DOG!” She looks over and slowly starts walking in my direction and as soon as she gets in non-yelling earshot the excuses start. He won’t come, they let him out, blah blah blah blah. I compose myself and tell her that her dog is going to get run over or something else unpleasant if she keeps letting him run loose like that. And then more excuses and, well, he has always come back and had only stayed gone a really long time a couple times.
I am fully aware that I completely wasted my time and breath, but I told her, listen, go walk him down if it takes you all afternoon. He’s got to stop sometime. So I start walking after the dog, basically in attempts to put her in the awkward position of forcing her to deal with the issue all the while trying to explain to her that she needs to try to train her dog to come. I could be wrong, but it seemed like a classic case of the dog that doesn’t come, then when he maybe did come in the past he got in trouble. Doggie translation “I go to person when called and bad things happen.” As I tried to give her some pointers it was pretty clear she wasn’t going to do anything about it, but I guess I felt I was at least trying to help the little guy. She also admitted to playing a game in the back yard where they would lunge at the dog so it would run and they’d play chase. Hmmmm….and you expect different outside the back yard?
I assume they eventually caught the dog. I went on my way after walking it down for about 15 minutes, but at least herded it back to the cul-de-sac where he came from. I suspect that nothing will change and the sad truth is that the energetic little black-lightening butt-sniffer will keep getting out and running off until one day his luck runs out. Sigh…….
Major rules I was taught for teaching come, just so your dog doesn’t do this nonsense:
1. When you say come, no matter what the dog is chewing, destroying or peeing on, if your dog COMES to you, YAY!!!! GOOD DOG!!!! Dog must understand that COME = YAY good things!!! NEVER call a dog to you to discipline it. If your dog is digging up your flowers, GO TO IT to discipline.
2. Keep treats around the house and practice saying “COME!” Every single time that dog comes to you, it gets a treat. (reinforcing COME= YAY!!!)
3. If your dog plays “catch-me-if-you-can” in your backyard (I went through this with Lizzie). DO NOT try to chase and catch her. You will lose and the dog will find it to be a fantastically fun game. Whoo hooo! In the back yard, just walk your dog down, calmly, slowly, and determined. If it takes you half and hour, do not run, do not try to catch, just systematically walk the dog down. I found that it kind of freaks them out and they give up pretty quickly. After about a month of doing this with Lizzie, she has now stopped that behavior.
It can work….Lizzie was definitely heading down the catch-me-if-you can road, so I asked for help, advice, and read books to find techniques to stop it. These major pieces of advice have done well.