Failed experiment

John and I tried an experiment with Roxy today.  We had her outside, no fence, on a leash.  We showed her (and gave her) cheese and regular dog treats and basically tried to convince her that hanging out with us is the best thing in the world.  Riley had already proven that he could be trusted off the leash and would come tearing back towards us if we called.  It was Roxy’s turn, so I unclipped her leash.  For about a minute, she stayed right by us, eating cheese and dog treats, but her normal greed wasn’t as strong as the pull of all that freedom.  She took off, with Riley right behind her, and me and John chasing after with the leash and the treats, calling her name and basically just trying to keep her in sight.  We did eventually get her (only about two minutes later – felt longer), but we’ve learned our lesson.  LOTS more training before we try that again.  If ever.  She might just be a runner.


  1. momma betty

    That’s a trick that usually worked with toddlers, but I was always afraid to test it too far. What if they didn’t follow you, or worse, ran the other way?

  2. Zannah

    Natalie, that’s certainly something worth trying, but only if I have at least some of her attention (and some barrier between her and the road). Yesterday, she didn’t even glance back to see if we were chasing.

  3. We’ve also had to resort to “running away from them.” Our yellow lab was the one we couldn’t trust to return to us. Unfortunately, our black lab (Sophie) would, but when she was following her alpha dog, all of our hollering was for naught. I do think some dogs are more prone to being runners (and hunters!) Maybe a trainer would beg to differ, though. It’s worth trying it out with a long rope.

  4. Had to come back for another suggestion. This usually worked pretty well. Our goal was to get the dogs some really good exercise. We would stand at opposite ends of a huge field (these were soccer fields and baseball diamonds that weren’t in use at the moment) and we’d each have treats (usually chunks of carrot) in our hands. We’d take turns calling the dogs and they’d run like the wind, get the treat, and run back to the other person. I guess it could be a starting point if you’re looking to work toward off-leash walks.

  5. Zannah

    Wombat, we’ve tried the back-and-forth treat thing before. It works pretty well in the yard, to the point where it’s sometimes hard to get her to run to the other person because she KNOWS you’ve got more food for her. Why waste the energy running? We definitely need to get a long lead, though, and try the running away thing.

    Wait a minute – your dogs like carrots? Are they part horse?

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