Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Runaway Rufus

Posted January 7, 2011 6:50 a.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2011 7:02 a.m. EST

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?