Friday, November 13, 2009

Dog Woes

It was another beautiful sunny fall day today so I decided to take my dog to a new park and do a little training with him. The park had a large baseball field with an opening. I stood at the opening and let him run. I was working on calling him to come, which is one of our biggest issues with him. He totally ignored me and romped around the field. Then he came back toward me and slipped out the opening before I could get him. He headed straight toward the street...which was a couple hundred yards away. I yelled and called for him, but he was perfectly happy to run. The only time we've been able to get him when he's gotten away is with the I ran over to the van and loaded Dori in to go find him. I kept my eye out in the direction he was and I saw several cars slowing down and stopping. That had me very worried...but about 10 seconds later I saw a golden streak come barreling back toward me. I bent down and called him and he came right toward me. I stomped on his leash with much relief. Then about 30 seconds later I saw a few cars pull into the park. One came right up to me and the guy asked if the dog was OK because he just hit him. What? He said he has slowed down and the dog ran in front of him and he's pretty sure he hit him. I looked down at the dog and he seemed perfectly OK and his tail was wagging. Turns out the guy drives dog rescue transport every Sunday and he was just beside himself that he hurt a dog. We chatted for a minute or 2 and I assured him that the dog was OK. I was thinking to myself that he must have missed the dog because he was able to run back to me.

A few minutes later the dog started limping. By the time we got back in the van he was acting a little strange and moving slowly. So I realized that he did get hit. I picked up Parker from school on the way home and he was so upset when I told him. He is a gentle soul and doesn't want to see anyone or anything hurt. I felt so bad! We brought the dog home and he did whimper when he jumped out of the van, but didn't fuss in the house at all. In fact he moved up the stairs rather quickly. He went right to his favorite spot on the sofa which is where he's been most of the evening. We did go downstairs and watch a movie and he followed us down and just sat at our feet and chewed on a bone. Normally he's going down the hall and trying to get into stuff and we have to keep after him. But he's definitely remaining close now. I talked with a friend in VetMed today and she told me how to check him out. He did not get upset or snap when I check out his paw or belly, so we concluded that he was just in shock. We've continued to keep an eye on his all evening and he seems to be OK...just a little slow.

I feel really bad about this. I feel I am responsible. I do think he's going to be OK. We realize we have a big problem with our dog bolting. We got him from the humane society about 6 months ago. His previous owners let him roam their neighborhood and animal control was called on him several times. The elderly couple that had him finally relinquished him because they couldn't take care of him. We did go to dog training at PetSmart, but that was basic commands. We are thinking about hiring an individual to come work with us and the dog...we need to have positive control of him and we don't. We plan on taking him with us to Alaska next year, but he just isn't ready for something like that now. We have to be able to control him and get him to come when we are on vacation. Especially being in the wilderness. Some people have mentioned getting a special collar for him, but I really know nothing about that. Any suggestions?

Diana is a crafty creative Midwestern work from home mama of 3. She enjoys playing with PhotoShop Elements, sewing & crafting, creating fun for family & friends, camping, and reading. She is the owner & operator of Custom Blog Designs.

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  1. Yikes. I had a dog bolt out the front door one morning and the same thing happened to me. Someone was sure that he hit her. She was a car chaser. You must have been scared out of your mind. How interesting who found Cooper though. You may want to take the PS intermediate class. I think they cover that in it.

  2. Oh, he's so cute and reminds me of our dog, Buffy. In fact, are you sure you didn't "steal" this picture of him? ;) Just kidding of course!

    (Hope you can "solve" the training problem.)

  3. Hope he is feeling better today.
    We did couple of different things with Toby. 1st we used a nylon rope, like one of those 100ft jobs you get at the hardware store. It is light so he did not feel it on his collar and thought he was free but he knew when he got to the end. We would call him right before he got to the end if we were quick. We started short and then got longer.
    2nd we used 2 people. (keep him on the rope just in case he bolts) But we basically play catch with the dog, one of us would hold him and the other would call and Toby would run back and forth between us.
    Another thing we did is not do this in the back yard, we went to the open spaces so we had the chance to correct him. Lots of praise and a few treats help too. Oh and Toby is a bit hyper so we did this after a walk and he was a bit more responsive after he had some exercise.

    Good luck & hope this helps.

  4. I wish I did have a suggestion, but I don't unfortuntely. They are just like little kids aren't they? My kittie got out once, and I felt horrible that I left the door open. But just like with our kids, things happen, and thank goodness you found the little one!

  5. The cocker spaniel in him makes him want to run and run. It's definitely part of the spaniel in him. We had a cocker spaniel when I was growing up who shot out the door and went straight to the road, when unfortunately she was hit and killed. We now have two cocker spaniels in our home and we also have a "wireless" fence so that they do not get out and get ran over. It costs about $250 to $300 with one collar and each additional collar was about $100. But are pets are family and it was well worth it. There is no cables to bury (which those systems are cheaper) and you can set it up anywhere. The downfall to a wireless system is that it covers a circle as to where the cables can be burried to match the shape of your yard. The dogs are very easily trained and ours have never went outside their circle. If you check your local pet store or google wireless fence or underground fence for dogs. We found that we could buy the same system cheaper online than at a pet store. They are well worth it. They dogs can run and get their exercise and at the same time be safe. Check it out.

  6. Remote Shock Collars are one of the most effective, easiest and most humane training aids available. Remote Shock Collars are placed on a dog's neck, allowing a trainer to deliver small static corrections of varying strength by remote control. The correction the dog gets from the remote dog training collar is no different than static from walking on carpet. The benefits of working with a remote dog training collar is the trainer can immediately correct a dog's mistakes at a distance far greater than leash training allows. A Shock Collar is a safe, effective and humane way to train your dog. A Dog Training Collar is a safe, effective and humane way to train your dog.

  7. I think the Anonymous person who posted about shock collars is a shock collar salesperson! They should only be used as a last resort - they are not humane and they're not necessarily that effective. A much more humane way to teach your dog not to bolt is to work with a dog trainer. I know this because I had a dog who bolted - once he got lost in the woods for three weeks and another time he almost got creamed by a car. Within three sessions the trainer identified the cause of the behavior and taught me how to turn it around. Working on recall with your dog on a very long leash is a great place to start.

    I hope you can find yourself a good trainer who uses positive reinforcement training techniques - your pup deserves it!

    I publish books about adopted dogs and at we've got some basic training tips listed. They might help. Good luck!


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