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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Echo is a one year old cocker spaniel mix;I adopted him back when he was about 4 months old.He was quite an obedient dog,if you don't count his chewing issues;he's past those though.
Lately,however,he seems to have taken an interest in stray cats (we have one at home,he doesn't bother him) And a few months ago,he made his first escape.We used to go to the beach daily,and he would walk off leash beside me.That's when he first ran away.After he made another attempt,I stopped walking with him off leash,much to my disappointment.My real problem though,is this:whenever we open the door to the yard,which is not fenced,he tries to escape.We try to keep him inside,but he still manages to find an opportunity to slip away,and he usually doesn't come back when called.He starts chasing the strays,and runs further away whenever he sees any of us coming towards him.
We've never scolded him for coming back home.He's still not neutered.Any advice on what I could do?It is really dangerous for him to run outside on his own as we live near an avenue.
Thank you in advance! :)
 

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It sounds like he is just growing up into a normal dog! Puppies are very insecure creatures that like to stay close to any animal they perceive to be their 'parent' when in new surroundings. Then, when they start hitting sexual maturity around 6-9 months, their newly developed confidence makes them much more venturesome and independent. This is where training is required for an obedient and mannerly dog.

Here is a snip of advice I gave from a similar thread:

The most important command a dog needs to know is 'come' (or any choice of word to that effect). Go to a co-op store or a tack shop and buy a lunge line; the 30' kind used for horses. Shouldn't cost you more than $15 for a cheap one, which is all you need for a dog. Take this to a park, and you can begin practicing your recalls. If you use 'come' a lot, you might want to choose a different, special word like 'here' or 'quick'. Reward it with high-value treats-- only the good stuff: hot dog, cheese, whatever your dog is crazy for. One last thing, DO NOT show the treat to the dog as you call them! In the event of a real emergency, you really don't want them hanging back unless you are waving a treat!

Once they have gotten really good at coming running when you call them, you can step it up a bit by calling them when they are sniffing, or even when they least expect it. As a last step, I unhook the lead and start calling the dog over at random. I do this maybe 2-3 times each time we go to the park, just to keep them on their toes and to keep the word fresh in their mind. The whole time I use my high-value treat, so when I give my 'emergency recall', all the dogs can pretty much bank on it that I am going to make it really worth their while if they drop whatever they are doing and come running. The odd time that I don't have treats with me, they're none the wiser until they are safely back and I have their collar.

That, in a nutshell, is an emergency recall. To avoid wearing it out, I have a few less urgent commands that I use. If the dog is just dawdling, I use 'let's go!' (great backup if your emergency recall does for some reason fail). They get smaller treats (kibbles actually) for this. For dogs just learning off-leash skills, you might even want to reward them just for checking in with you. It's a good habit.

Occasionally I will duck out of sight and use 'Where's Sparky?' when they find me by my voice, they get a good treat like hot dog (I taper it down to kibble eventually). This is how I train dogs to stay within sightlines of me (I can see them and they can see me). Again, this saves me from having to use and emergency recall if someone does something not that urgent, like disappears behind a bush for a few seconds.

The ASPCA has some great links along these lines:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virt...g-behavior/teaching-your-dog-come-when-called
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/training-outdoor-adventures
There is also a wealth of videos on the internet devoted to teaching recall, as well as recall games. Kikopup and Zak George have some very comprehensive videos on the topic.
 

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In the meantime, keep a short leash on him and grab it before opening the door. Do not let him drag it when you're not home, he could hang himself. I personally train my dogs to sit when doors open. Kabota does it automatically now at any and every door, but that takes time, effort and a ton of treats, so keep him safe with a leash for now.
 

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Neutering him will be the simplest and most effective solution to your problem. He has a natural drive to go out there and make babies, and there is not much you can do to interfere with that drive. I could go on and on about the social importance of neutering your dog, the massive amounts of strays and homeless animals, etc - but when it comes down to it, it's the best thing you can do for Echo.
 

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Neutering him will be the simplest and most effective solution to your problem. He has a natural drive to go out there and make babies, and there is not much you can do to interfere with that drive. I could go on and on about the social importance of neutering your dog, the massive amounts of strays and homeless animals, etc - but when it comes down to it, it's the best thing you can do for Echo.
I'm totes in favor neutering, but that's not true. My escape artist was a pediatric neuter and my current, neutered 3 years dog will run for the hills given half a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Neutering him will be the simplest and most effective solution to your problem. He has a natural drive to go out there and make babies, and there is not much you can do to interfere with that drive. I could go on and on about the social importance of neutering your dog, the massive amounts of strays and homeless animals, etc - but when it comes down to it, it's the best thing you can do for Echo.
I am going to neuter him in the near future,it's just that his vet told us to wait for a little bit longer.I don't plan on breeding him anyway.But I don't think it is going to solve the problem,not entirely at least.
 

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I'm totes in favor neutering, but that's not true. My escape artist was a pediatric neuter and my current, neutered 3 years dog will run for the hills given half a chance.
Yes there is a myth that neutering/spaying cures many problems.
 

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Excellent advice already given ,but I'll reinforce the fact that neutering will not stop all problems re escaping , reactive ness and a range of other behaviour problems.With two of my males they developed other issues .That said ,I think it is essential to Spey/ neuter if not breeding .
 
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