What to Do if Your Dog Gets Loose

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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.

Retractable Leashes

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Retractable or flexi-leashes annoy me.  As with most things, there is a time and place when they are quite useful.  Your normal walk with your dog is NOT one of them.  Far too often I see these people with their dogs WAAAAAAAY out in front of them, dragging them along.  And then when another passerby, dog or squireel comes along, they try frantically to reel the dog in.  But the problem is that most of these leashes are basically a thin cord that hurts your hands, so grabbing the leash to pull the dog in doesn’t work.  There’s also the issue of hoping your thumb is quick enough to get the latch in the locked position.  So there’s some 15 feet of cord out there, and it gets all tangled up around people giving them rope burns.  Teach your dog to walk nicely at your side!

Bringing a puppy home

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pre-grooming

Bentley on the car ride home, pre-grooming

Meet my new dog, Bentley!  Bentley is a 7-month old…. well, I was told he is a Yorkie-Poo, but aside from the  black and tan Yorkie coloring, he doesn’t really look like it.  Quite adorable though!  I picked him up from the animal shelter after work last night.  Turns out I’m already Bentley’s 3rd owner.  And he’s not even a year old!

Originally, I wasn’t planning on keeping his former name.  But the first time I went to see him, I actually saw a Bentley on the road (not a common sight around these parts) so I figured it must be a sign!  Other names I had considered were (Han) Solo (he’s scruffy-looking, after all, but it could sound to much like “No”) and Wicket (which sounds too much like Wicked, and I don’t want to give him any ideas).  And really, Bentley rather suits him somehow.

First thing I did once I’d picked him up was whisk him off to Petsmart to get groomed. Learned quite a bit about my new puppy on this trip.  He loves to jump up on people. (need to work on that)  He has stitches from getting fixed, thus they couldn’t bathe him.  He had some mats in his fur, so they had to shave him down fairly short.  And Bentley is apparently REALLY mouthy.  So much so, that they weren’t able to trim the hair around his face at all because he kept nipping. (REALLY need to work on that)

Once we got home, I promptly took him for a walk, hoping to wear him out a bit before bed.  He’s fairly good on a leash, but he wants to chase deer and bark at other dogs.  Bentley is either starved (not likely) or super food motivated. He goes crazy for treats.  And when I gave him some kibble, he practically inhaled it.

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