Jump to content
BC Boards

Taking off

Recommended Posts

Here we go


Bula is almost 2. We live on a farm - big. She has been off-leash since she was a puppy and has been great. Until now.


2 weeks ago the dogs found a road in the back of our property that went to a couple of houses. The guy had extended the road, we didn't even know about it.


So pretty much everyday Bula would take off - the neighbor would bring her back.


So I have been only letting her out when I can keep 100% attention on her and engage her by playing ball, going in the river, or having her follow me around.


Yesterday we went out, I turned around to get the ball - she was gone. She was at the neighbors house again.


Today my DF just called because while he was outside playing fetch with her - she took off!


So I have gone through the routine of recalling her with postive reward

Keeping her on a leash so she understands to stay around

Keeping her engaged and not on her own while outside


DF is getting very frustrated. We don't want to have to have a fenced in yard. We want her to be able to be out.


The next option is electric fence with collar.

or on a leash constantly - but how do you play on a leash?


So yes, we are frustrated. DF and I fight a lot about this. He has never had such problems with a dog. So any advice? Tips? Similar stories with success?


We are right now in a obedience class - cause I thought it would be fun to refresh everything and go meet other dogs and people.


We have horses, chickens, huge area to run. She has 2 other dogs to play with everyday and usually lots of others. She is active all the time, eats well. It just befuddles and is very alarming to us.


Thanks for your help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are not boring at all!! We use a wireless electric fence by PetSafe and are very happy with it--no wires and I think you can train the cats with a collar if they are over 8lbs. We are considering this for our cat when he is older. I take him out on a harness for the time being.


I have trained my dog that "yard collar" means just that, when she has it on, she knows it. I never let her outside by herself. When she has on her street collar and is leashed, we have a specific area that we walk out of the "boundary" and she knows the difference.


confession: there has been a time or two that she has been out on her street collar and unleashed, (bounding out to greet someone), spotted something that warrants mischief, and if she takes off, I yell "Yard!" and she stops at the boundary--yes, I know that's cheating, but it keeps her safe.


The wireless fence is like the others, of course, it doesn't keep other dogs out. I recently was mortified when the neighbor's poodle puppy came rushing at Polly into our yard and Polly roughed her up in a fit of resource guarding of her toy that we were playing with. I wish she was nicer to puppies and small dogs..my failure :rolleyes: The neighbor took no offense and the pup was fine, but that's another reason we don't let her out by herself.



We found the PetSafe system at our local feed store for around $280.00 and the add-on collars for other pets cost around $80, I think. We are thrilled with it, and when we had to recently get some new collar parts, customer service was great.


Best of luck to you!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perfect topic for me right now!! I was wondering what the best invisible fence is. One where I can afford and one where I don't have to bury wires. I don't have a huge yard to fence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well the neighbor brought her back, again, last night. ball and all.


Researching the fences...


wireless sounds nice because I don't want to bury a line.


I am also figuring out different things I can do with her because maybe she isn't stimulated enough.


The house she keeps going to is a junk yard. Seriously. Lots of metal, tires, old cars, trailers, its disgusting and I freak everytime I think she is there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd have to ask - what is so rewarding about going off to the neighbor's place? Is there something real appealing about it, like something to eat (dog food left outside, things we think are yucky that are available there, play with someone, whatever)?


Some dogs have a tendency to wander and just check out the neighborhood, sniff for wildlife, etc., but usually a dog that goes somewhere repeatedly, is going for a purpose (or some reason that is rewarding). Can you find out from this neighbor just what seems to be drawing her to visit?


If I'm reading things right, she is taking off and going to visit even in the middle of a game with you or your hubby. That seems quite unusual and like there must be something very rewarding at the neighbor's. Again, I'd have to question just what is such a draw for her.


One set of neighbors' dogs come over this way on rare occasions - they just seem to be out and about wandering, and beat it for home when our dogs react or we yell at them to get home. Dogs from another neighbor sometimes come to visit and it seems fairly obvious that they are here to socialize, see if anything interesting is going on here (while they were outside at their place without family), and looking for a walk or playtime.


Can you talk to this neighbor and get a straight answer about what she may be doing there? He seems responsible and friendly enough to be bringing her home multiple times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats a good idea.


There are actually 2 houses right next to each other.


One is the old man with the junk yard that border's our property, he is a familiar person to her because he comes to our house to fix our tractors.


The second is a house with young kids. They play with her.


But I play with her - I throw the ball all the time, I take her to the river, take her walking, she plays with Kramer (other dog) she "herds" the horses. I take her to class.


Just very befuddled at the moment but that is a good suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just an aside from the main topic here - do not allow her to "herd" the horses. It is a bad habit and one that could result in tragedy should one of the horses kick her or bite her.


Back to the main topic - is she especially fond of children? One of my dogs, Megan, would give me up for a baby or small child any day of the week as she is quite entranced with them.


If you can not figure out and solve the problem, you may find that you have to put a long line (50' or longer) on her for playtime, fetch, etc., so that you can have hold of the other end and while she can play about quite comfortably, she can not run off and ignore your recalls.


That said, you might need to work on her recall, using something (treat or toy or behavior) that is irresistible to her. We find that for one of our dogs that has "problems" with the recall in the heat of certain situations, that he will respond to the "down" command so we tell him to down, he downs, and then he can be recalled. Maybe something like that will work for you if she attempts to leave when you are together. Aside from that, it sounds like she can not be left outside to her own devices (which I would never recommend anyway).


I hope someone will contribute some advice that will be a real help to you. Best wishes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You would not choose to come here to learn about stockdog work (I like to avoid the use of the word "herding" as, to me, it implies an entertainment activity with a dog or a kennel club performance activity), as I am nothing but a rather lame excuse for a novice handler.


We only have cattle and my hubby is extremely particular about letting the dogs work them. Not having sheep or other good training stock is also a disadvantage to our progress. One of the these days, I hope to be able to remedy that.


There are some very good handlers in New England, and I hope you have the opportunity someday to be able to learn from and train with one of them.


Our Megan is a bit like Bula, only that she will disappear in her quest to hunt the elusive woodchuck. If she is missing (and my dogs are not ever out without constant supervision, but she can be expert at slipping away), she is to be found with her full attention (to the point that she won't hear you until you are within feet of her) riveted to a woodchuck hole. When she finally realizes that nothing is coming out of that hole and she is left all alone, she heads for home.


I have spent many a worried and exasperated walk around parts of the farm, checking out her favorite woodchuck holes. The one time that she did see a live woodchuck out of ground (on a very mild day this last winter), she was totally fascinated and clueless as to what to do about it.


Our old Rocket (BC/Aussie) and MacLeod (Aussie) would have given her a good lesson on ridding the farm of a varmint (woodchuck or raccoon) but, alas, they have both passed on. It's just as well - I don't care for any of these dogs tangling with either of those tough creatures that are minding their own business.


Best wishes solving your problem!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why does she go? cause she can! She gets rewarded by your neighbor who probably makes a fuss about catching her up and maybe playing a bit, or playing with the kids....Mom is not always as good as new kids :rolleyes: Then she goes home where you are all worried and probably make a fuss (not saying that I wouldn't either, it's natural) that makes it "special".


If pricing is an issue you could do cheap hotwire fencing. It would not take her to long to where she wasn't testing it if she got it each time she tried. All farms can use a e-fence charger for one place or another so good argument for your DF. You could start at that part of the prop and add on as you need to or want to.


It's probably not as good as underground fencing would be but if you can stop the habit now I think she'll revert back to what was comfortable before.


Stockwork or "herding" lessons will help her with self control (call it what you will but take it seriously) You might even find yourself adding stock to your farm for enjoyment or extra income. I agree with others "Herding" horses is a ticket to the vet or worse. I would really not want to take the chance.


You can set her up, "catch" her going and correct her, but that's going to take some real work as she seems to be a bit sneaky so you'd have to be extra diligent.


You might try having the neighbor be not so nice and ask the kids to not play with her there but maybe come to your yard if they want to play with her. If she gets no reward from going there she might tire of it...maybe


Good luck and I encourage you to find something quickly or she's going to be testing her boundaries more and more.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our plan would be to chase her home, make it uncomfortable not only at the neighbors but on the path to the neighbors, decide how far you are willing to let her go and make anything beyond off limits. We just brought home a new female last night, today she went with me when I went to get the mail, we have a gate set up that comes down during the winter, then there is a place down the drive where our fencing comes to an end. I expect all our dogs to not venture past that point unless I ok it, she followed along with me, when we got that point I stopped her, told her to stay, when she disobeyed I chased her back, I did this until she got the point that if she stepped past that part of the driveway it would become uncomfortable. I went down to the mailbox (another 150 foot away), walked back, she was laying in the drive waiting for me, she did not get up until I passed, I praised her and we walked back to the house.


I just had a thought, did you ever teach your dog that she has boundries, or where her boundries based on places she had not discovered yet. If we never define their boundries eventually they will start exploring and see not reason not to revisit.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

When she does come home we don't make a fuss, we don't talk to her or pet her, just let her into the house. She usually just goes straight to her crate. Its like she knows!


She has boundries in the front of the house - like the same when I go to our mailbox. We do have a wooden fence up around so It probably wouldn't be so hard to put a hot wire on it.


thanks for all the suggestions and stories. it helps realizing mine isn't the only one!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it's the kids she's seeking out, can the kids come over to your house and play? It might not be the kids, it might be one or more of their special toys. OR, the kids might be spilling snacks, etc in their own yard, that Bula can hunt down and snarf up. Samantha would leave me forever for a ball throwing little boy, and Shoshone, even from her early days, would tolerate anything if she got a cookie.


The appeal of any one or any combination of the above might be what you're working against. Ask the neighbor who brings her back if they would call you when/if she gets away again. Go over quietly and see what she's doing. You might get helpful information, that you could use in your strategizing.


Good luck!


Ruth n the BC3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...