Someone likes to run out the backyard gate...

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Someone likes to run out the backyard gate...

This is a discussion on Someone likes to run out the backyard gate... within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; So I have two dogs-each under 4 yrs old. One is a pit/terrier mix, other is a chihuahua. Our backyard if completely fenced in and ...

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Old 10-08-2017, 12:49 AM
  #1
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Someone likes to run out the backyard gate...

So I have two dogs-each under 4 yrs old. One is a pit/terrier mix, other is a chihuahua.

Our backyard if completely fenced in and we don't have a door that opens to it from the house, so it's about five steps in the driveway from house to backyard.

I try to give the dogs a chance to learn and show obedience by not holding them from door to door-at least on the way in because then I'm outside with them. Anyway, big dog is very good and will even stay by the door when what I'm about to say happens.

For what seemed like at least a few weeks, both dogs would walk nicely from yard to house. I of course would stay within a step of both, and in front (so they were kind of following me while I was walking backwards). Now, twice in the last week, little dog has paused, taken a step back and actually gone around the cars (single lane driveway) and escaped into the neighborhood. Luckily, he is predictable and smart in that he sticks to the sidewalk and goes to the same spot.

I'm here to simply ask why he might be making a run for it? They are royalty in our house, so I can't imagine he'd be running from me for any reason since at night he will curl up next to me. All I can think of is that maybe I need to take him for a walk? I know people walk their dogs for exercise and bathroom, but our yard is big enough for both.

Curious to hear opinions on this. For now, I'll surrender to carrying my not-quite-10lb dog in and out of the house.

Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:56 AM
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It could be anything going on in that particular spot- might be another animal that's been marking that area, might be a female in heat nearby (even if he's neutered he might still be attracted to her), might be the first time he found something tasty or smelly there and he's hopeful that he'll find it again.

He's probably bored with staying in the house and yard anyhow- people don't just walk their dogs for exercise- on a walk the dog can see and smell everything that's been happening out in the world, it's good mental stimulation. It's probably more exciting to smell all of the people and animals that have been by on a walk than run around in the same yard everyday.

I'd also say off leash in an unfenced area is probably not the best way for the dogs to "learn" obedience. Practice in your yard off leash, or practice in the outside world on leash while they're still learning.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:10 AM
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Exclamation Wow. // U *never* walk Ur dogs?!?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

... I have two dogs- each under 4 yrs old... a pit/terrier mix, & a Chihuahua.

Our backyard is completely fenced-in, but [no] door opens into it from the house; it's about 5 steps... from house to [gate].
I... give the dogs a chance to... show obedience by not holding them from door to door - at least on the way in, because then I'm outside with them.
...
For ... at least a few weeks, both dogs walked nicely from yard to house. I [was] within a step of both, & in front... walking backward.
Twice in the last week, the Chi has... escaped into the neighborhood. ...

I know people walk their dogs for exercise & to pee / poop, but our yard is big enough for both [exercise & toilet].

Curious to hear opinions on this.

For now, I'll surrender to carrying my not-quite-10-lb dog in & out of the house.
...
How big is Ur house? - just the living space, not attic, garage, furnace room, etc, but how many square feet of living space?

I'm sure it has bathroom/s, a kitchen, running water, heat / possibly AC depending on climate, & other mod-cons.
I'm sure there are beds, probly some upholstered chairs as well as dining or kitchen or other seating, & so on - plus, there are "things to do" for humans: TV / internet & all it offers / books, mags, e-books, maybe newspapers / crafts, etc...
hobbies, the phone, music from many sources, board games, cards, cooking, maybe gardening, praps exercise gear, possibly solo sports - for all i know, there's a putting green in the backyard [out of the dog-zone] & an archery target, or a virtual golf screen projected onto a wall in the finished basement, across from the pool table & the wet bar. :blink:

I interviewed once with a woman whose house, for her, DH, & 2 children under 8-YO, covered over 7,200-sq-feet.
Not including garage, attic, or outdoor space - a dock, a patio, small fenced yard, outdoor cafe', grill, hammocks.

Their 'home theatre' had stadium seating, upholstered lounge-style chairs, & a 12' high by 20-ft wide curved screen. The 'backyard' was pathetically small, but had a deep-water dock with a dual outboard yacht, & a drydock for winter.
Their kitchen was bigger than some fraternity kitchens I worked in, at Penn State - frats start at about 2 dozen bros, & go up to maybe 60 residents.

They had an intercom system thru-out the 3-story maze that was their house - so they could talk to one another without having to track each other down to ask a simple question. They had 5 full bathrooms, & 4 half-baths, one in the 3-car garage. :blink: But they still left the house, despite all its amenities & amusements.

I told her i'd need a map to find my way around; she had a walk-in closet larger than an average great-room, with electric clothes-racks overhead like a dry-cleaning facility, plus store-style carousel racks for hanging garments, & built-in drawers, shelves, cubbies, etc, for shoes, hats, purses, totes, scarves, belts, & other accessories. That was Hers.
His was the same size, but only 2/3 was clothing & accessories; 1/3 was sports & leisure storage - including vertical slots & harnesses for a kayak & a sailboard, 3 surfboards, snowboards, & an electric motorcycle. There was an ultralight - in the garage, beside the 2 SUVs & the 20-ft camper.

There was a grill - on a roofed paved patio, with tables & seats for about 20, so they could host a party by the boat-slip, & a dumbwaiter to move stuff from the kitchen above to ground level, or from the party level to the dishwasher & the 2 double-door chillers - one for frozen, one for 'frig.
There was a wine-room... & a built-in humidor for cigars, in the wet-bar. But they still left the house.

The boys went to school - & soccer, baseball, karate for the elder, music lessons for both. Dad had golf, jogging, & deep-sea fishing; Mom had golf, tennis, & racketball at the Club. They went out to restaurants frequently. They went to concerts, movies, on trips to visit family, & abroad.
They didn't live in their house, even with all its wonderful amenities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ur dogs need to get out - to meet other dogs, ASSUMING that Ur dogs are sociable... & to meet other humans, also *assuming* that Ur dogs are tolerant of or friendly with non-family.
But even if they are not eager to play with other dogs, or don't want to meet other humans outside of their familiar family & friends, they still need what professionals call "enrichment" - like our human hobbies & interests, things that make life interesting & fun.

They need to explore scents, see & smell & be other places, have experiences that they cannot have in the house, or in the yard. It's too limiting.


Cats don't like "strange" - moving house for cats is quite upsetting [but no one suggests that U move & leave them behind, of course ]. Cats are notorious for leaving a new home, & trying to get back to their former home.

Dogs, like humans, love their routines - but they're way-more open to new places, new persons, & new experiences than cats.
Dogs love their homes & their families - of course, they do! - but they like exploring new places, meeting new persons [most of them do ], & even if they aren't social butterflies, they like to do stuff that's not the same-old thing that they did, daily, for the past month... or 6. Variety is nice.
Then they like to go home, to familiar places & well-known ppl. *sigh*
Cats would choose staycations; dogs would travel, & return.

Aside from any consideration of boredom or frustration - is it worth having the dogs "show obedience" when having them off-leash for that short transit from yard to house, can put their lives at risk?
Being run over or hit by a car is only one possible risk - dognapping, being harassed or hurt by someone [deliberately or unintentionally / accidentally], a bad fright, being lost, eating something that makes them sick, all sorts of things can happen to a free-roaming dog, & while some are exciting & interesting, others are terrifying or very dangerous.

If U really want to avoid leashes, install an overhead trolley from the gate in the fence to the door-frame of the house; clip the dogs' collars to the drop-lines, & they can "show compliance" by trotting to the door & waiting for U to come un-clip them, & put them indoors.
One at a time - hold the collar, unclip the drop-line, put one dog in, close the door, hold the other collar, un-clip that drop-line, open the storm door, STEP INTO the opening, cautiously open the interior door, scoot dog #2 in with a hand on their bum, & step in right behind, so there's no chance for a breakout by the 1st dog, who's milling around in the entry.

Frankly, leashes are safer & easier. they go in the door worn on the dog, & no one will slip out while U are trying to enter with the other.
Safety first - variety second!

- terry


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Old 10-08-2017, 09:00 AM
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Obedience may or may not have been the correct term for me to have used. I just figured if the big dog was behaving and good enough to stay on the stoop as I started to give chase (I go back to let him in and then jog to the spots he usually goes, hoping to not hear a car screech) then maybe there is something I'm doing that makes the little one want to run.

The really frustrating thing is that he SPRINTS out of the driveway to ensure his escape. Just always makes me think he is running from, not to.

Good insight here though, seems there is simply a yearn for exploration that he will readily go to satisfy.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:03 AM
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I dont think it's you. Your little dog just seems very curious he probably likes the smell of that spot. Maybe put him on a leash on your way inside so he can't go over there. :-)
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:03 AM
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This is an easy one. Bottom line is that there is something interesting enough over there that outweighs the dog listening to you. If the dog runs off then the bottom line is it is not reliable enough to be trusted off leash yet. Practice more leash work going from car to house, or wherever for that matter. Make going from the car to the gate or house an on leash fun exercise! On leash. That way if the dog tries to go anywhere other than where you're leading it you can give a correction. Then praise and reward like crazy. The dog probably knows what is expected of it and is making its own choice not to obey. If its still choosing not to obey when it knows whats expected then it needs more leash work. Make it tons of fun for the dog to keep its interest. Praise and reward must outweigh any corrections given through the leash.
Dogs learn to listen every time by repetition. It may take weeks of repetition, but will work.
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:25 PM
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Dogs like people get very bored when there is no variation in their lives. Every Vet, trainer and people that know dogs well, recommend that in addition to being allowed off leash in their own fenced yards, they also be walked through the neighborhood, on leash. This provides some level of mental stimulation for them, and allows them to safely explore new areas. I would think that your dog just wants to explore, not necessarily run. That need to explore is one reason I can never trust our dog off leash away from the house, she just wants to wander off to explore and sniff stuff. I try to walk her every day, succeed probably five days a week.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Obedience may or may not have been the correct term for me to have used. I just figured if the big dog was behaving and good enough to stay on the stoop as I started to give chase (I go back to let him in and then jog to the spots he usually goes, hoping to not hear a car screech) then maybe there is something I'm doing that makes the little one want to run.

The really frustrating thing is that he SPRINTS out of the driveway to ensure his escape. Just always makes me think he is running from, not to.

Good insight here though, seems there is simply a yearn for exploration that he will readily go to satisfy.

They are 2 different dogs, with 2 different personalities.

I had Shadow, a terrier mix, and Jersey, a Chow Chow some type of herding breed mix. I treated them the same way, trained them the same way, had even taken the terrier mix to obedience classes when he was around a year old. They both would come at a whistle. I moved to the country when they were older, no leash laws, yet it was only Jersey that hardly ever had a leash on her unless I had her off the property. I had to keep Shadow, the one who passed obedience class, on a long line. If I did not keep him on the line he would pretty quickly decide that exploring was worth more to him then anything I could offer.

Keep your dog on a leash until either you have proofed the go to the house command, or have her religiously coming when called.

I'm also going to echo take them for walks. You can look at it like this. An animal in a Zoo has ample room in their yard, they are provided with toys, mental stimulation, great food, etc, yet I bet if they could talk they would tell you that they spend most of the day bored, they'd love to get out and explore. Your dogs are the same way, unless they are going to the park, doggy day care, driving around with you, etc at least a few times a week they are going to be very bored.
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:38 AM
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And then there's my rebellious Houdini dog. He has a very interesting little doggy life. I take him basically every ]where with me because of his separation anxiety and destruction when alone at home too long. But he ignores his favorite chew tows and

Last edited by Shadowmom; 10-10-2017 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Typos
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