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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gracie, the two year old lab/boxer mix who recently joined the household is smart and sweet and obedient in all things except one. She had spent her life, until she came here, crated during the day and at night, and had apparently never been out except on a leash.<br><br>
She adjusted remarkably quickly to our household, including to being uncrated. She comes when called, she drops things on request, and basically understands everything that is asked of her and complies. She is, of course, full of energy and very playful. She has no phobias or hangups, is even tempered but not timid. In short, as perfectly balanced a dog as I have ever met.<br><br>
The only one of the other three dogs who is completely trustworthy off leash is Jack, the little JRT. He accompanies me on all my chores, gardening, etc. Tascha and Toby have to be on leash if they're not in the dog yard. Here we come to the issue with Gracie.<br><br>
Gracie, when properly motivated (i.e., she sees me out and about), will bend down the fence and climb over it. This has happened several times. She then runs around like mad and does her best to elude capture. The behavior is not unexpected, considering her previously extremely constricted lifestyle and her youth and high energy level.<br><br>
I need to train her to come when outside the dog yard. (She comes like a gem when in the yard.) Any tips, other than using a long line?<br><br>
(BTW, I'm working on reinforcing the fence entirely. She only climbs it when I'm outside of it. I've been dealing with that temporarily by keeping her in the house when I'm working outside, but for her own safety, I need to be able to catch her more readily if she does manage to get outside the fence.)
 

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My dogs both come, but one comes every single time I call whereas the other one is more easily distracted by bicyclists, kites, anything that looks like fun or danger. We rewarded them with treats and/or play over and over and over whenever they came to us. We extended the distance and just did it over and over and over. Repetition is key. But also, finding the right motivator for the dog is important, too.
 

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If she likes to comfort you when you cry, sit on the ground and pretend to cry. This works really well if a dog is the type to get in your face when you cry.<br><br>
What do you do as soon as she gets over the fence? Does she run around with you trying to come toward her? Sometimes turning your back and walking away causes them to realize the party is over, and they will follow you.<br><br>
Of course if she loves treats keep some in your pocket for just this emergency, and reward her when she comes to you, no matter how you get her to come. I only mention this because some schools of thought in dog training think giving food as a reward is a no-no, but my view is, whatever works. I much prefer food rewarding than harsh methods of training.<br><br>
Those are the only two things I've ever tried that work, besides training on the long lead. Good luck! Hopefully the lab part of Gracie has watered down the boxer enough that once you strengthen the fence she won't be able to climb bit. I've cared for boxers that can scale eight foot fences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I haven't tried the crying - it may work. The other day, when Ziggy pinched me, I pretended to cry, because it amuses him so. (He's a bit of a sadist - he imitates my crying, and then laughs.) Gracie came over, visibly upset, and I realized I can't play that game with Ziggy when she's around. I hadn't thought about doing it when she gets out, though - thanks!<br><br>
The first time she got out, I turned away from her, walked to the gate and she followed me in. She's very smart, though, and that only worked twice - the first time with the gate, the second time with the back door.<br><br>
The last time she got out, even luring her with a can of cat food didn't work (and mine are all mad for cat food). I tricked her into going into the duck yard, and then was able to get her. But, yes, I will just need to reinforce every "come" with food for a while. I'm sure they'll all appreciate that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br>
As soon as I saw Gracie, I was worried about the fence. She has a lab face, but a boxer body.<br><br>
I'll work with her on a long lead. Then I will contact someone I know who trains and ask whether I can bring her over to their place - they have several acres fenced in, and that would be a good place to reinforce the training safely.
 

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I had a boxer/greyhound mix once, who amazingly never climbed fences or ran off after small animals. He was too clingy, after three returns to the shelter by folk who couldn't cope with him, poor guy. He used to lie on my driveway in the afternoons and watch the kids in the basketball court three blocks away. He had the most amazing eyesight of any dog I've ever known. But he was completely trustworthy off leash.
 

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She's not so much "eluding capture" as she is playing a fun game with you.<br>
Both of mine are the same way when they get loose.<br>
Attempting to go after them is only going to encourage the game, and I worry that they may run into the road.<br>
There are two things I do to recapture a running dog:<br>
1: Lie on the grass, flat, and don't move. 9 times out of 10, they'll run right up to my face.<br>
2: Put dog #2 on a leash and bring outside. Play with dog #2. Let dog #2 try to play with your fugitive. The fugitive puppy won't be able to resist.<br><br>
Tip: Once you've made the "capture" don't immediately end the fun or scold. This will only make it more difficult to catch the dog in the future. Keep a bit of fun going just a bit longer. Wrestle with the dogs inside or something.<br><br>
I have not bothered training the dogs to not escape. My ultimate goal is to make it impossible for them to escape, and if they do escape the fault is mine...not theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's more than playing a fun game with me - it's a very frenzied, fast running around. It's as though, having been closely confined for much/most of her life, she's experiencing freedom at last and can't get enough. I have never experienced anything close to this with any of my other dogs.<br><br>
I do bring Jack out, in the hope of attracting her, but she ignores him completely.<br><br>
I have also tried the lying down thing. It has no impact.<br><br>
I always do play/treat/reward after *capture*, and I certainly don't scold. (I'm not inexperienced with dogs - this is just to an extent I have never seen.)<br><br>
I agree that, if they escape, the fault is mine. That doesn't change the fact that it's necessary to work with her so that I have a chance of *capturing* her before she gets to the road where cars zoom by at 70+ mph - that road is less than an eighth of a mile from the house, and although not a highway or heavily trafficked, it just takes a split second, one time, and she's dead. She's highly motivated to get out of the dog yard if I'm outside. It's not a problem otherwise, but I spend a great deal of time working outside during the spring and summer, and it would be a shame to keep her cooped up all day.<br><br>
I had intended to enlarge the dog yard this year to encompass the pond and circle around the chicken house and the chicken yard, partly to give the dogs a lot more space and partly to further discourage predators from approaching the duck and chicken areas, and that might help alleviate Gracie's desire to get out of the fence. However, I'm thinking I need to put that on hold until Gracie gets older and slows down a bit. The other dogs ignore the ducks and chickens, but Gracie's running frightens the birds. I don't think she has any interest in hurting them, but stress can easily kill a bird, and apart from that, they don't deserve to be frightened.<br><br>
SomebodyElse, I didn't mean to imply that boxers are generally runners - I just know how athletic they are about getting over obstacles such as fences.<br><br>
I very much appreciate all of the advice - it's easy to overlook something. Sophie, my first Pyr, used to head down the street (in the grass or on the sidewalk - she was very smart about that) at that Pyr lope that looks so slow and easy, but covers ground incredibly fast, the few times she managed to get out. Her goal was to see as much as possible. I'd run for the car keys, get ahead of her, open the door and invite her for a ride. It worked like a charm every time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> (Sophie figured out how to work the gate latches, so I kept combination locks on them, but when I was working in the yard and coming and going through the gates, I wouldn't put the locks on until I was done, and she took advantage of that sometimes.)
 

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I hope you find something that works for you.<br>
I wasn't implying that you were inexperienced, I just know how frustrating that situation is.<br><br>
My Booger lived in a crate from 6 weeks to 6 months of age.<br>
Because she was so explosive when they'd let her out, they eventually just left her in there, and pulled out the bottom tray for cleaning. She has some hardcore psychological issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Hazelnut</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2871856"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I hope you find something that works for you.<br>
I wasn't implying that you were inexperienced, I just know how frustrating that situation is.<br><br>
My Booger lived in a crate from 6 weeks to 6 months of age.<br>
Because she was so explosive when they'd let her out, they eventually just left her in there, and pulled out the bottom tray for cleaning. She has some hardcore psychological issues.</div>
</div>
<br>
I didn't mean to come off defensive or irritated - I apologize if I did. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Poor Booger. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> I think the same thing basically happened with Gracie, except I gather she was let out at least some of the time when they were at home and awake. She's just such an thletic dog that it must have been incredibly confining for her, and apparently they didn't have a fenced yard, so she never really got to run. Part of the issue may resolve itself with time. She's really very adaptable. There aren't any dog parks in this area - that would be another option for getting her used to leash free time.<br><br>
She's been incredibly good for Toby, my other lab mix, who came to us with some fairly severe emotional/psychological issues, most of which have been resolved, other than his fear of storms. Just in the short time Gracie has been with us, that too has improved for Toby. We've had thunderstorms the last couple of days, and Toby has been largely unaffected. I think it's the hard play she gives him, plus having a buddy who doesn't boss him around, the way Jack and Tascha tend to do.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mlp</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2871845"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
SomebodyElse, I didn't mean to imply that boxers are generally runners - I just know how athletic they are about getting over obstacles such as fences.</div>
</div>
<br>
Oh I was referring to his greyhound side. Greyhounds are never to be trusted off leash. He was an exception though. He was never the handful my boxer customers were, thank goodness!
 

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Be glad she's not a Siberian husky. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br>
I would say practice, practice, practice on the long line or at your friend's fenced property. That's what I did when my dogs were young. A lot of practice where I knew they would be safe. Use A LOT of high value treats or toys at first, whatever motivates her. I also used to hide from my dogs when they didn't come when called. I wanted them to get the idea that it was their job to follow me around, not my job to follow them. To this day if I turn them loose, they keep an eye on me at all times. Of course I was able to start with them as young puppies, which is easier than starting with an adult dog. But with lab and boxer, Gracie should be highly trainable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So today my ex let Gracie out while I was working in the yard. It was too much temptation for her and she climbed the fence. I tried sitting on the ground and crying, and that didn't work. So then I walked over to the car, opened the door and called "Gracie! Do you want to go for a ride?" In she zoomed, I closed the door, and took her for a ride immediately, as positive reinforcement.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mlp</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2874319"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
So today my ex let Gracie out while I was working in the yard. It was too much temptation for her and she climbed the fence. I tried sitting on the ground and crying, and that didn't work. So then I walked over to the car, opened the door and called "Gracie! Do you want to go for a ride?" In she zoomed, I closed the door, and took her for a ride immediately, as positive reinforcement.</div>
</div>
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Awesome!<br>
Its so great that you followed through with a car ride!<br>
During the rides, act like you're having the time of your life, too!<br>
You might very well have found the solution to your problem!
 

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lots of practice with the long line, another thing that has worked for me and also takes time; is going to a secure place like a school yard which is mostly fenced and when she is not looking hide where you can still see her. She will start looking for you.<br><br>
Only other thing I could suggest is re enforcing the fence so she cant climb over it.
 
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