Yesterday I was running next to M on her bike. I really like doing that and when I do, I am very focussed. We passed a human with her dog, a young and friendly dog who wanted to play with me. She was off leash and she came running towards me. But when I run next to the bike, I do not want to play because I focus on the running. So I ignored the young dog and she understood I did not want to play. She did not return to her human, however, but ran on and crossed the road. It is a busy road. Gladly for her the car that was approaching saw her and stopped, but her human got totally hysterical and started running after the dog, screaming she had to come to her. Which her dog, obviously, did not.
I thought it kind of funny. But since this is a dogtorial, I will explain to my human readers what went wrong in this case. So they can learn from it and avoid making the same mistake. This was a dangerous situation, the dog could have been hit by the car. I am very capable of walking home alone, because I am an intelligent and sensible dog. I watch out for cars and other hazards. But most dogs don’t.
So what to do when your dog runs away from you? The first thing to remember is: never ever run after your dog. We are much faster, so we will always outrun you. Besides, when you run after your dog, she will get scared or consider it a challenge. Either way she will run even faster. What to do, then? Make your dog come to you. Seduce her with a yummy treat or a favorite toy. Make it fun for her to come to you, more fun than running away and checking other fun stuff. In the end, when you have established a good relationship with your dog, she will come to you anyway because she learned that being with you is the best thing in the world. You will not need treats and toys anymore. But in this particular case the dog was still very young and the relationship with her human was not strong yet.
The second thing I would like to tell you about this situation is what happened when the human finally got her dog. She ran towards the dog, screaming, drove her into a corner and than fell onto her. I don’t know how to describe it otherwise: she just jumped on the dog, both arms around the poor thing. It must have terrified the little dog. Then the human started to talk to the dog, in a way a lot of silly humans talk to us. She said: “What did you just do, you stupid sweetheart, I told you not to run away!” This is very odd. One: you don’t argue with us like you argue with other humans, it is useless. Of course you told us lots of things, but that doesn’t mean we comply! We forget most of all this blabla anyway. Two: the little dog did not think ‘oh my human told me not to run away but I feel like doing it so I will’. No, she probably did not think at all, but just felt like running and did it. We are dogs, remember? We don’t think that much – which is great, by the way. Humans should try it.
What should the human have done in this case? Well, her dog was behaving badly by not coming to her. But the dog could really not help it, she just acted on her impulses and she is still too young to know how to behave properly. So when the human finally got to the dog and the dog waited for her (she did, you know. She could have jumped and run away, but she didn’t), she should have given her a yummy treat and put the dog on the leash. In a calm and composed manner. No screaming, no jumping on the dog, no harsh words. Just put her on the leash and continue the walk. Like nothing happened.
There is one other very obvious thing to mention about this case. The young dog should not have been off leash in the first place. It was a busy and dangerous surrounding, by the road and all that. The dog was not yet capable of handling situations like this and her human placed her in a dangerous situation by letting her walk off leash. That was irresponsible of the human. I am not in favor of walking on a leash, don’t get me wrong. I like freedom. But in some situations it is safer to walk on the leash. It is not that bad, really. By walking on the leash you make sure your human is following you and you do not have to wait for her all the time. I consider that a great benefit of leashes.