Your Pet Question:
My two-year-old poodle cross runs away every chance he gets–almost like he’s playing tag! My son takes him for a 20 to 30 minute walk each day and I take him for a 45 to 60 minute fast walk at night. What can we do to stop him from running away and/or not coming when we call? He also becomes aggressive when he’s in trouble.
Jody Cunningham, Alberta
The Expert Says:
It’s not the length of exercise time your dog receives; it’s what you do during that time. Keep your dog on a leash while walking him—preferably a retractable leash or long lunge line. When you’re out, let the leash out to the full extent and then command your dog to come. Have a very special treat handy in one hand and reel him in with the other. When he arrives, give him the treat and lots of praise. Keep this up for a few weeks and eventually he will realize that coming when called is really to his benefit.
It’s imperative that a dog comes when called, not only for your convenience but also for his safety. A basic obedience course is needed here to regain respect from your dog and establish a leadership role. As for the aggression, there are different techniques to modify a dog’s aggressive behaviour depending on whether it’s toward humans or other dogs. Find a local animal behaviourist to help you with that.
Deena Cooper is a certified animal behaviour therapist and owner of seven Deena Speaks Dog outlets throughout Toronto, Ontario.