Naughty 20 month old who runs away

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Rachel S, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Rachel S

    Rachel S Registered Users

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    Scout is a 20 month old neutered lab who on the whole is very good. She is keen to please and is obedient.
    However, in the last few weeks she has become really difficult to get back at the end of a walk.
    She just gets a naughty look in her eye and I can’t get close to her without her running off. She does the same for my husband and we can be out for hours trying to catch her. Food doesn’t work at all as when she’s in this mood, all she wants to do is play by dodging us when we try to approach her.
    We have a large green outside our house where we regularly play fetch with her. She used to do this beautifully but now, after a few throws or even straight away she will just start running off, trying to get us to play chase with her.
    This is becoming a real problem as its becoming difficult to take her out and let her off the lead. She will come back beautifully when called, for a treat, or without a treat most of the time. It’s just out on the green outside our house, or at the end of a walk where she really plays up. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we might break this cycle?
     
  2. Chewies_mum

    Chewies_mum Registered Users

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    She probably doesn't want the walk to end! I think you need to make coming home/to the green a really fun thing. You could try playing a favourite game or (this is what we did) associate a particular phrase and treat with going home. For us it was "home time" and a tasty treat when we got inside. Now he happily trots inside and waits for us to take his harness of and give him a treat.
     
  3. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    Hi @Rachel S

    You have turned recall on the green into an exciting game of chase. It provides hours of fun, literally. She thinks it's a game. Never chase after a dog when you say come. If anything run in the opposite direction. But at your point I suspect that that manoeuvre would not work.

    Put her on a 10 metre long line and practise and practise recall, rewarding each and every time.
     
  4. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Agree with what Michael said above. Once you rebuild recall, I suggest lots of putting lead on, continuing walk, off lead again to ensure putting the leash on isn’t regarded as only ending the fun.
     
  5. Rachel S

    Rachel S Registered Users

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    Thanks all! We’ve bought a 10 meter long lead and are going back to recall basics!
    Thank you for your suggestions. We’re definitely going to be putting back on the lead at more regular intervals, and hopefully soon we’ll see the nicely behaved dog we had a few weeks ago!
     
  6. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    The idea is to teach the dog that following the cue come does not necessarily mean the end of the fun. You don't want her to anticipate that come means the cessation of the outing.

    At the initial stage leave the long line dragging along in the grass. Call come. If she comes then reward with a treat. Then tell her finish or whatever release cue you have taught her and allow her to resume the sniffing, running around or whatever she was doing.

    When you have her coming back reliably, then you might follow QuinnM15's suggestion of putting the lead on and off. The idea is to avoid her thinking that the lead going back on means the cessation of what she was doing.

    Dog are very, very good at learning patterns. That's what allows us to train them. But sometimes we have to be smarter and throw some randomness into the pattern so that they cannot work out what we really want to do -eventually go home.
     

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