Bentley got loose.  This was due to pure stupidity on my part.  I broke the cardinal rule of training a dog.

NEVER SET YOUR DOG UP FOR FAILURE!

It was the first nice day in awhile, so I decided to take Bentley for a run.  My mom keeps suggesting that when I do this, I leave Bentley off-leash because she is sure he’ll just follow me.  I know better.  But the suggestion kept running through my head.  Who doesn’t want a dog that’s so well trained and loyal that he follows you around?  Thing is, you actually have to TRAIN your dog to do this.  It doesn’t just happen magically.  The path I was running on runs along a highway, behind people’s houses, so it’s got chain-link fence on both sides.  So at one point during the run, I dropped the leash to see if Bentley would stay with me.

Didn’t take long for him to take off.  And I knew we were approaching a street.  He would run off ahead of me, stop, turn, wait for me to get close, then take off again.  So I got his attention, and turned around and ran away from him.  Didn’t take him long to blow past me, but this time he stopped long enough for me to step on the leash and we continued our run.  Toward the end of the run, I decided to try it again.  I get onto this path at the local elementary school.  There’s an opening behind the school, and one at the far end of the baseball field.  I made the huge mistake of *hoping* Bentley wouldn’t go through the opening at the field and would follow me to where we started behind the school.  SO. STUPID.

'Running Dog' photo (c) 2009, Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz) - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Naturally he went through the hole at the field.  At first, I kept running, slowly, calling to him, hoping he would see that I was going away from him and come after me.  No such luck.  He knew he was free.  He was zooming around like a rocket.  I knew I had ZERO hope of catching him, so I ran on to the back of the school.  Two seconds later, Bentley came running up.  He had been running through the woods.  It had rained, then snowed, then the snow had melted, so he was absolutely covered in mud. And somehow, he had lost his leash.  His collar was still on, but the leash was nowhere to be found.  I had no idea how I was going to get him home.  Oh yeah, my dog is friendly, enjoys jumping up on people, and it was election day, so people were going in and out of the school to vote.  I was mortified.  Bentley was having the time of his furry little life.

I realized I couldn’t catch him.  He knew that if I caught him his freedom would be over, and chasing him would just make it into a game.  I didn’t want that.  So I decided to just go home.  Bentley sort of followed me.  Mostly he saw me moving off and again ran to keep ahead of me.  He stopped to say hi to some dogs fenced in someone’s yard that were snarling and making a ruckus because they saw another dog.  He wandered in and out of yards.  He went up to people’s doors only to scurry off as I passed.  He almost was hit by a car which made me feel even more stupid, idiotic and embarrassed about the whole ordeal.  I nearly got my dog killed for my stupidity.

In the end, I was able to run into the open garage and he thankfully followed me in.  At which point he got a thorough bath for his troubles.

Worn out after his adventure

Moral of the story:

DON’T SET YOUR DOG UP FOR FAILURE! Also, don’t chase your dog. He thinks it’s a game and will have lots of fun trying to keep away from you. He’s also probably a lot faster than you and has more energy/stamina. Instead, turn the game around and run AWAY from the dog. Now he’s it, and he’ll come running to catch you. At which point you can hopefully get a hold of his leash or collar!

tl;dr: Bentley escaped. I got him back by running away from him.