Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Runaway Rufus

Posted January 7, 2011

My 15-month-old dog Rufus likes to bolt through an open door and play the game “Catch Me.” This is getting to be dangerous. Rufus, a cocker-spaniel-poodle mix, has no fear of cars. I yell “Stop” and Come here” in my best macho voice but it does no good. It may take 20-30 minutes to catch him. Rufus is lightning quick.

What kind of behavioral training is required to eliminate this problem? How long will it take to rein Rufus in?

And another thing – should I scold him when I catch him or is that just reinforcing the bad behavior? I’ve heard that dogs live in the moment. The scolding should come when he first darts out the door and not when you bring him back. What about that?

Sometimes I can coax him into my car but that’s becoming less and less of an option. Rufus is not a treat hound so snacks don’t usually lure him into my arms.

What kind of training do we need here for lovable but roving Rufus?


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  • jdem Jan 10, 2011

    Hello Bill - Our experience has been that obedience class is the best bet - it trains both the owner and the dog. We have had very good experiences with 3 dogs so far at the class at the PetsMart in Cary. If you try that, ask for Jackie - she is great !

  • gertie626 Jan 9, 2011

    Good Morning Bill, I have the same problem with my Shih Tzu. Luke is scared of the fly swatter so whenever I take him out or he bolts the swatter goes with me. I make sure he knows I have it and if necessary I will give him a few pats on the rear. We do not play with the swatter, he has been taught that it will hurt if we use it. Works with Luke so try it with Rufus. You just never know what it will take. Enjoy keeping up with you through WRAL. Have a great day and a better week.

  • mbsheisey2 Jan 8, 2011

    Pianoplayer's idea sounds good until you can figure out a good way to train Rufus. Because he sounds like a new addition to the family and your household is going to have to adapt to him too.

  • pianoplayer Jan 7, 2011 about putting a leash on him before you open the door? And make sure you are standing beside the dog NOT letting him pull you.

  • mamananagramps Jan 7, 2011

    Rufus looks like part Bichon Frise..That is a game with them..They are very quick and love to do the bichon run...Take him to the dog park and let him run....:)

  • NC Sunshine Jan 7, 2011

    Bill, 12 years ago my husband found a 3 week old Goldie Mix who had been thrown away. He used a book called The Family Dog Book by Richard Wolters to train her. She is the most well behaved dog I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Try it. I believe you will be pleased with the results.

  • rabrantley Jan 7, 2011

    Bill, does Rufus have a microchip? If not, and he doesn't always wear a collar with tags, I strongly recommend it in case he gets away from you and someone else finds him. A vet, shelter or rescue group can scan him for a microchip and contact you.

  • mbsheisey2 Jan 7, 2011

    No shock collars! Would you want something like that put on you? That picture of Rufus is so adorable!

  • goduke1965 Jan 7, 2011

    I am not sure if you have thought about an electric fence but it has been awesome for us. We have a Cavalier Spaniel and she loves to go out side. The electric fence has given us piece of mind that she will not leave the yard.

  • jdlewis76 Jan 7, 2011

    And before anyone wants to hang me, I wouldn't actually shoot them.




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Bill Leslie