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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 10285
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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I adopted a 2.5 yr. old sheltie 9 weeks ago. She sleeps with

Customer Question

I adopted a 2.5 yr. old sheltie 9 weeks ago. She sleeps with me in bed and likes to be petted in bed. On the leash she likes to walk and will sit & stay (I take her to obedience class). However off leash and off the bed she runs away from me. She is in a repetitive pattern of scooting away from me as soon as she jumps off the bed in the morning.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the dog. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Maggie. It isn't lethargy. It's a compulsive desire to run away from me when I'm not in bed.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Maggie?
Customer: She eats well, walks with me for miles daily, is in excellent health. Maggie is scared of me. I think she might consider me part of the kidnapping team that brought her to me from her nice home 11 hours away. It was probably traumatice for her to be in a car with strangers for 11 hrs.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 7 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today. I am working on your question now. It may take a few minutes for me to type a personal response or type questions regarding your situation. Your patience is very much appreciated.

It is more likely that she was never properly trained with recall. Many owners get angry when the dog runs away from them and so when they get the dog they treat it poorly. They yell or hit the dog, rather than praise the dog for coming to them.

Also this is a herding dog so it very may well be she is anxious to get to work so she goes ahead of you, but again never learned proper recall.

Where are you as far as training goes? What method of training is used?

What recall word are you using?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
After I retired from teaching, I trained 2 collies to be therapy dogs; they were certified thru TDI. They worked all their lives. Now I have a sheltie who has a psychological problem. She knows the word "Come" and does it beautifully when on a long leash. So, that is not the problem. The problem is when she has freedom, she deliberately avoids me. I walk thru the house, if she is on the living room sofa and I walk thru the living room, she jumps off and runs into another room to get away from me. I never get angry. I am a loving, patient, dog owner. Maggie is my 10th dog and I've only ever had 1 dog at a time to give my full attention to. She doesn't go ahead of me to go to work. She goes in any direction to get away from me that is a quick exit. I love her to death and she cuddles in bed and paws at me to continue rubbing her, but off the bed she doesn't relax for a minute. She's always alert to see where I'm coming from so she can scamper away. My instructor in dog school trained my collies for therapy certification. He uses the no treat method. Just high praise. Maggie responds well to the class because she's on the leash.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Can you wait 1/2 hr. I have to run an errand. I will be home by 4:45 EDT
Expert:  Sally G. replied 7 months ago.

That's fine, I have to run to a Heart worm clinic at 5 :30 , I will answer you now , however you can always come back to this post and ask more questions if there is something you don't understand:)

Expert:  Sally G. replied 7 months ago.

That might be your problem, the fact that she is not getting a reward for her to come to you. The problem is you don't know anything about her past or how she was trained or treated so you have to come into this expecting the worst , no one really gives up a perfectly behaved dog. It is likely this dog broke free a lot and was punished for it, though she may have very well also been trained on leash so she knows she cannot get away and has no choice to go to you. However her reward is only praise so what is the payoff?

You have trained two therapy dogs (I was an evaluator for tdi for many years) but I am suspecting their background history was very different and what works for one breed does not always work for another and the same goes from dog to dog.

It is very important to see what will motivate this dog to turn around and come back to you. I might start putting something special in his food and call him to come to you at each feeding. I might also change the word come to here in case there are bad connotations associated with the word come from his past.

I would start off at home in a small area off leash and practice come in close proximity with a special treat in your hand such as a hot dog or chicken sliver, then increase your distance and wait time.

It is clear that this cue is not being made special enough that he wants to come to you.

I might also use a different command altogether such as heel or side and see if he will come back to you for that off leash. If he does not then you need to up your game and find something that floats his boat.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No thanks on phone call.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No thank you on phone call
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No thanks on phone call
Expert:  Sally G. replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I was unable to contact you again as there was a glitch with the system. regarding the phone call and opt out. I sent it to a moderator and they corrected it. Did you have any further questions?

I would suggest clicker training for this dog since we don't know about the past. Are you familiar with this?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Forget it. I do know about clicker training but I do not believe it's appropriate for Maggie. She is sweet, gentle and smart. Her only issue is she runs away from me when off leash. She came with emotional baggage that needs to be overcome. I think it will take her time to trust me and bond. Let's disconnect this service. I must not have communicated to you correctly what it's like living with Maggie because your suggestions in no way fit the problem. She does not respond to food at all, even hot dogs and steak. I can hold out in my hand a piece of hot dog and it takes her 5 minutes doing circles, running away, returning, circling again before she'll come close to get it. And she rarely comes back for seconds. I give her lots of pets when she's on the leash on the sofa but she doesn't relax. Only on my bed when my feet are on the bed does she relax and enjoy the pets. I'm sorry my attempt to get your advice wasn't productive. Good luck with other clients. Margo Drucker
Expert:  Sally G. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you Margo, it was difficult because you did not mention the dog no likening food , nor did you mention changing your come command or anything else I mentioned. You only stated that your trainer does not use treats. I hope you can find a solution to your problem, obviously what you are doing is not working and when something does not work , any good trainer knows to change up the routine. Good luck to you.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Please disconnect me from your service. We weren’t a good match for communicating. No satisfaction on either end. Good luck with your other clients