CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

It’s a dog’s life . . . the thrill of the chase

PUBLISHED: 18:16 16 February 2015 | UPDATED: 18:16 16 February 2015

large group of dogs

large group of dogs


Dog behaviourist Helen Goodall shares an email from a frustrated owner

Most owners want to let their dog off the lead where appropriate, but poor recall is not an uncommon problem.

Some of you may have watched the popular video clip of a dog running after a herd of deer, completely unresponsive to the increasingly desperate calls of his owner. I hope to help the owner below gain an improved response from their dog and avoid similar public humiliation!

“I’ve got a problem that is ruining walk times with my dog. When I let him off the lead he runs off, he chases anything he sees and if he meets another dog, I can’t get him back, which gets me into trouble with other dog owners. When he does come back I can’t help but be upset with him, but he dances around me and I can’t catch him. I’m worried he might run across a road one day. Please help!”

Firstly, we need to consider your dog’s basics responses to you whilst at home. If your dog doesn’t do as you ask where you spend the majority of your time with him, he will be less likely to respond to you when outside. It is really important your relationship is on track. You should feel he is willing to listen and accept guidance, rather than making up his own rules.

Whilst out on a walk with him on the lead, practise commands and encourage him to make eye contact with you, giving him tasty treats to reward his focus. As your dog is already keen to chase wildlife you should avoid areas that are scent rich whilst you practise the basics of recall.

To help, use either a retractable lead or a five or 10 metre training lead. Call him to you regularly, use an encouraging voice, holding out a tasty treat so he can see there is a point to returning. With practice, he will start to focus on your hand position when you call, which can be a good guide to him if he is at a distance.

It is important you really make him feel he is the best dog in the world when he runs to you. Never show you are cross – if he ignores you at first, start walking away from him, calling his name in a high pitched tone to get his attention. Once he learns that you can be consistent via the lead and that he has a treat as soon as he has got to you, he should be more willing to come each time.

Recall is also about making yourself more fun than anything else. Watch him and be ready to call him before he becomes fixated on a moving object in the distance. Put your phone on silent! You need to engage with your dog or he will lose interest in you.

Once a dog is ready to try further distances, I change directions and speeds, becoming more unpredictable. Encouraging his need to want to be with you is vital. If you always follow your dog, he won’t feel the need to locate you, but take it for granted you are walking behind.

If your dog is super friendly and wants to dash over to every other four legged friend he meets, you will need to do some slow steady work around other dogs to start teaching your dog how to behave calmly. If he runs and jumps at another dog he could get himself into trouble, and as many dog owners will know, it can take just one bad incidence of aggression to turn your dog into an aggressor himself. My next article will be about this topic, helping owners tackle dog to dog aggression.

Helen Goodall runs Dogs Behaving Badly


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Suffolk

Fri, 16:28

Spirit Yachts is a Suffolk success story. After 25 years of designing and building luxury vessels sailed all over the world, it has plenty to celebrate | Words: Ross Bentley

Read more
Wed, 14:52

Creative couple David and Henrietta Villiers have designed a stunning new home at Aldeburgh | Words & Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Wed, 14:40

With so much going on around Suffolk this weekend, it’s not easy to decide what amazing events you’ll be attending. Allow our handy guide to 5 things to do make that decision a little easier!

Read more
Tue, 14:44

Cocktails with dinner? Tessa Allingham dines at The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds, where chef Greig Young says good food can be fun

Read more
Tue, 12:04

Not many people know it but a lot of your favourite films have been made in Suffolk. From blockbusters to independent, here are 21 films made in Suffolk.

Read more
Tue, 09:34

With breath-taking beaches, stunning stately homes and picture-perfect places, it’s no wonder so many TV shows choose to film in Suffolk. Here are 20 that set up camp in our county

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

We’re always looking for ways to reverse the signs of ageing, and ways to keep our skin looking fresh and youthful, and the ACCOR Plasma Pen is the new treatment promising to deliver these results. Sue French at French Complexion in Hadleigh answers your questions...

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Private, intimate and unforgettable: here’s why you should consider a bespoke package wedding at a stately home

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

We all love a good cup of coffee, whether it’s a latte, flat white or just plain black Suffolk is home to a multitude of wonderful local coffee shops. Here are 10 of our favourites with no chains in sight!

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

An exclusive charity sale at Bishop & Miller gives Ed Sheeran fans the chance to own some of the singer’s personal items

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search