How to Control an Escape Artist at the Dog Park

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How to Control an Escape Artist at the Dog Park

This is a discussion on How to Control an Escape Artist at the Dog Park within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi everyone! I currently have a 1-year-old husky/golden retriever mix named Sky. Due to her husky breed, she can be very stubborn, but I train ...

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Old 06-09-2019, 11:53 AM
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Unhappy How to Control an Escape Artist at the Dog Park

Hi everyone! I currently have a 1-year-old husky/golden retriever mix named Sky. Due to her husky breed, she can be very stubborn, but I train her every day to try and help this. I train her on our walks and at home, mainly with recall, sit, down, place, and other basic commands. She used to not listen to me at all, but she is very food motivated and we have made lots of progress.

Still, it can be difficult to get her attention/control some of her behavior, especially when she is interacting with other dogs or sees prey (squirrels, cats, birds, etc.) She is extremely prey driven, with some animals being more interesting to her than others (usually squirrels/rodents). When she sees prey, she is unlikely to listen to me/follow my commands unless I have food.
I have been training her on our walks to improve this, but she definitely still cares more about squirrels/other animals in comparison to me/my rewards.

It's even worse at dog parks due to the distance that is put between us and the many distractions. The last time that we went to a fenced dog park was a few months ago, which makes me so sad. Whenever she is in an enclosed space (yard, park) and sees prey on the other side of the fence, she has tried to escape. Fortunately, I had caught her in the act every time up until a few months ago, when she saw a squirrel at the dog park and proceeded to climb over the fence. I caught her within a few minutes with the help of some other dog owners, but it was such an anxiety-inducing experience and I'm not sure what would have happened had she run further away. It has now become a habit of hers to do this more regularly, which is frustrating and scary. Where I live now (Portland), the fenced dog parks do not have very tall fences, so I am worried about taking her to one. She loves other dogs, and I want her to socialize more and have these fun experiences, but I want to know that she won't escape. What should I do?
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:16 PM
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Personally, I would probably work with a check cord and train, train, train again.
With the cord she at least can't run away.


Also try to get her attention *before* she starts running.
Dogs show, when they are about to chase something.
Might not be a long time, but their body language always says: "Ooooh, thrilling and fun" before they start running.


If you manage to catch the moment, before she is totally engrossed, your chances are better to redirect her attention.
When that works, and you have her attention, either give her great snack (when she likes that; mine does pretty much everything for food ) or do something exciting with her.


Revan starts noticing that rabbits are fun, because they run away.
Now, I know where they mostly are on our ways and then I am double careful.
He wouldn't run away for longer (usually he comes back rather quick, because it's short fun for him).
As soon as I notice him staring I call him to me; same, when I see the rabbits earlier (which is surprisingly often the case...).


I also put him on a leash, when we reach a certain destination.
Not because he would run away, but because I don't want him to go hunting.
A quick chase - I already really dislike that, but there it's up to me to kep my eyes peeled.
If he were to go hunting for the kill... Gosh, I'm just happy he isn't.
I'm probably too soft for that


EDIT: I also work with a clicker.
So, as an alternative to calling him or in case he's right next to me, I get his attention with a click and put snacks in him.



Also: In case of worst case scenario, you might want to get a GPS-tracker, so you at the very least can find her, if she were to tun away again.
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