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Why You Should Not Chase Your Dog

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I’ve learned a lot about puppies, dogs, and training over the last few years and one thing that has really stuck out in my head is never chase your dog!

I Had A Dream….

This bit of advice has stuck out in my head so much I’ve been having dreams about it. Last week I dreamt (is that a word?) about my guide dog puppy in training, Stetson, Walmart, and Walmart employees. For some reason Stetson was running around the store, loose and off his leash. All of the Walmart employees were chasing him trying to corral him.

Of course, Stetson thought this was a great game and continued to play keep away from all the Walmart employees. It was quite a fiasco with people sliding into displays, running into each other, and Stetson being the agile puppy (hmmm…it’s 2017 now and I’m surprised I ever described Stetson as an “agile” puppy) narrowly escaping everyone’s grasp. Quite simply it was like watching the three stooges.

Why You Should Not Chase Your Dog

Did you learn a lesson from my dream? The moral of the story was do not chase your dog! Why? because he thinks it’s a game. If you chase, he runs away. I’m sorry to say that most likely he’s quicker than you. I’ve seen it many times at the park or on residential streets…people frantically chasing their dogs while the dog simply moves gracefully and speedily out of the grasp of their owners. So, what should you do to get your dog to come to you? Don’t chase them like the picture below!

Me Chasing Dogs

Run Away!

To quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail…RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! That’s right. If you want your dog to come to you run away from him. Once again he’ll think it’s a game, but now it’s his turn to chase you. Take a look at the picture below. Linus and Stetson have me in their sights and it’s only a matter of seconds before they’ve caught up to me.

Dogs Chasing Me

In my experiences running away from your dog or puppy is an effective way to get them to come to you. Try it sometime and let me know how it goes. When you chase does your puppy run away from you? When you run away from your puppy does he chase you? Do you know of any other effective ways to get your puppy to “Come” to you?

UPDATE: Nearly 9 years after first writing this article I still find this all true.  When my 5 year old niece comes to visit she’s a little hesitant with the dogs.  I get it, they’re twice her size, but I always warn her not to run from them because they will start chasing her.  From time to time she will run and Linus, Raven, Archer, and even Stetson will inevitably start playing the chase game.

On a second note.  Archer has learned how fun the chase game is to play (Linus taught him the game in our backyard) and anytime we let him into the backyard he tries to initiate the chase game (he likes to be chased) which I hate to say has really hurt his recall.

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  1. This is great and this morning I actually tried it. However, Rufus (the puppy) still wants to run away from me even though I’ve been the one running away this morning. Is there another way to stop them from thinking ‘I chase the human so now it’s my turn to be chased’?
    I don’t like smacking but this morning I caught him and gave him a smack, but I’m not sure that’s the best method. I can’t think of another way to let him know that him running away from me is bad.

  2. I have a small doggie and at times she makes it so hard for me. I let her out the back yard and she loves to be outside which I don’t mind she is an indoor dog but I let her out. Anyhow when it’s time to come back in she won’t and when I go to get her she runs away from me and I try to get her but she keeps running. Then I run out of breath and in pain. I even try to get her back with her favourite toy but that doesn’t work. My question is how to I get her to come inside with out chasing her when I walk away she doesn’t even come at times. Iv tryed everything.

  3. No one would be able to just steal my dog like that – she would escape her harness or attack a stanger that attempted it. Of course she would probably also bite any stranger that tried to pet her while she’s tied up so I don’t leave her tied up alone anyway.

  4. Will a dog just give up ifmore than one person is chasing him? If the 2 or 3 of you could go after hi, maybe the dog just will give up running from you. I’ll bet a larger dog can be caught faster than a smaller dog.

  5. I know this game. Archer started playing the same game in our backyard. Our strategy is to find a higher value item that will get him to come back to us. Here are the items Archer likes better than playing the chase game with his stick:

    1. His favorite squeaky toy.
    2. His stinky fish treats.
    3. His Brush (amazingly he returns when you pull out his brush…he loves getting brushed).
    4. A nice juicy steak…I made this one up, but I’m sure if he had the opportunity to nosh on a nice juicy steak he’d return to me.

    Hopefully that helps good luck with your training.

  6. When we let my puppy out in the backyard, he will often make his way to our garden and grab sticks of mulch to chew on. Then the chase game starts when we try to take the stick from him. I have tried on occasion to walk away in an effort to coax him to come to me but instead he’ll go hide under our patio table or behind our BBQ. Any suggestions?

  7. I can see this happening lol sounds like a dreadful morning.

    On a side note, in terms of leaving your dog unattended outside, I would never do it. Ever. Not necessarily because I’d be scared of my dog escaping or causing a fuss, but because people out there could just take your dog while you’re out shopping, even if its just in and out.
    I had a friend who left her dog outside and she did the same thing- just went in to get some food from the food court and she was in and out, but when she came back her dog was gone and a man who was having a smoke outside said that a man came and took the dog as if it were his own dog! It was very sad.

    I suppose it also depends on where you live. If you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, it might not be so bad..

    But yes, just be careful.

  8. It’s difficult not to chase your dog when he/she gets loose in dangerous areas. I’m glad everything ended up okay for Luna.

  9. right outside the store a “helpful” woman said “you should really have her on a leash!” Thanks… she was 😛

  10. This is a great tip that I could have used this morning! I had tied Luna’s leash to a fence right in front of the produce shop, in her harness. When I came to the cash register less than a minute later, she was just sitting outside the door waiting for me. As soon as I approached her she ran. I know people will tell me I shouldn’t leave her tied alone, but I needed some food and she’s never escaped her harness before. Maybe it was on too loose. Anyway, I chased her around for a while and luckily cars stopped for her when she ran heedlessly into the road. Eventually she stopped and came to me when I sat down on the ground. I knew at the time that chasing wasn’t the way to go, but I couldn’t think of a better plan and was scared that my dog would get hit by a car. Blah, what a morning. I also didn’t get my food because I had to drop my basket and run after the dog.

  11. @Miko, when you chase your dog they consider it a game. It’s okay to play chase with your dog.

    The main point is you want to be sure your dog will come to you when you call his or her name. From my experience if you chase your dog they will not come to you even when you’re calling their name.

  12. that’s a good tip, and i love the pics to go along, very cute! but does that mean that it’s always bad to chase your dog?

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