We’ve all experienced that dreadful moment at one time or another when we need our dog to run back toward us because he’s getting too close to somewhere he shouldn’t be. Like that one time that Ryder basically ran into the middle of the road because there was a shady spot across the street. Or that other time we were hiking and Ruby disappeared for a good 15 minutes because she thought it would be fun to get the zoomies and go way off the trail. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. If this happens, don’t chase your dog. If your dog is getting to a point that’s out of sight, follow so that you know where she is, but don’t actively run after her. It will most likely do more harm than good.
It’s important to have a safe recall that your dog responds to if used. However, if you don’t have one or if it’s not working, really try to read your situation. Often, if your dog is not responding to you he’s too stimulated by his surroundings and that arousal takes precedence over your command. So if you try and chase him, there’s a good chance that he will end up running in the opposite direction, potentially toward more harm. I’ve found that after failing to try to get a dog to come back toward me with voice commands, the best thing to do is to slowly crouch down to a squatting position and try to lure your dog to you in that state. Obviously this will only work if your dog is in range and can still see you. If he’s not in viewing range then you need to get closer. Once he sees you, stay calm, get in to a low squatting position and call him over to you. It’s hard to do this when we’re frantic and afraid that our dog isn’t going to come back, but most of the time this trick works.
Try this out at home or in a secured area, like a fenced in park. Then try the chasing method. You’ll find that chasing your dog when she’s already highly stimulated,will only add to her excitement and she’ll think you’re playing a game of chase. But, of course, a safety recall word is always the best option so keep that on your to do list if you haven’t checked it off already.