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Anybody with a Houdini Dog?

(12 Posts)
LetThereBeCupcakes Fri 10-Jun-16 19:54:21

11 (ish) month old lab, we're his 4th home that we know of and used to be a stray. We've had him about 8 weeks so very early days.

In all honesty he's a cracking dog, especially given his background and age. Very bright, soppy, gentle with 3 YO DS. Except that he keeps taking himself off for walks! He can climb trees and brick walls up to about 5 foot and can squeeze under ridiculously low gates, every time we think we've secured the garden he finds another way out. He'll be fine for days, make me think we've got it cracked then all of a sudden he's gone. He has a gps tracker on his collar now, but I'm 6 months pregnant so although I can track him I can rarely catch him. So far he's either come back or somebody else has caught him. So far we've been lucky, today a delivery man found him, put him in his van and brought him back. Next time whoever finds himself might not be so good intentioned.

We try to keep him physically and mentally active, working hard on recall.

Any suggestions? Anybody had a dog like this that eventually settled down? I'm on edge the whole time at the moment!

Bubble2bubble Sat 11-Jun-16 07:36:32

I just saw this the other day, A bit American, talking about electric fences, but I thought the theory was good.
Kikopup on Youtube also does some work on teaching boundaries which is well worth a look.
Maybe whistle training if you haven't done that already?
Absconders are really hard work, sympathies.

LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 11-Jun-16 07:45:59

Bubble thank you for that link, that sort of training is right up my street and I think Ddog's issue is his lack of recognition of "boundaries". Will make a start on that training today.

Slothlikesundays Sat 11-Jun-16 08:14:36

Have you had him done? This usually helps with roaming. Didn't fully cure our previous rescue who used to be homeless by made it more a once every 6 month hunt through bins rather than a weekly occurrence. He also settled down with age and security. When he knew he was here to stay he settled.

Bubble2bubble Sat 11-Jun-16 08:15:38

Four homes in under a year is a lot, poor lad. He may settle down a bit with age, and also when he realises how much you want him around.

this is another good thing for focussing his mind on his own territory.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Sat 11-Jun-16 08:21:13

My childhood lab used to do this - in her case it was purely food motivated as she'd decide to head off for a nice bin-raiding session ...

I'd love to say we cracked it but she eventually stopped when she was about 8 or 9 and it all seemed like too much effort

We used to worry ourselves sick about it when she went AWOL but realised that she was very sensible and quite cautious - she crossed roads very carefully (going to wait at crossings!) and a few times she'd 'hand herself in' to the parks police (we lived v close to Richmond park) who'd call us to pick her up

Good luck and yes, as a pp said, the roaming might decrease if he's neutered

LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 11-Jun-16 09:20:20

8 or 9? <Faints>

He was neutered by the rescue (at 5 months old which I thought was a bit young...).

It's such a worry. We're in a quiet residential area bit he's fast, it wouldn't be long before he reached a main road. Terrifying.

tabulahrasa Sat 11-Jun-16 09:24:59

I'd have him on a harness and longline till he was trustworthy TBH.

LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 11-Jun-16 10:24:10

Sorry realised I missed a couple of replies.

Yep, 4 homes, poor thing. Although we don't know for sure, we think the background was bred as a working gundog on a farm, couldn't be sold (possibly due to being black) so dumped. Found straying in Ireland in November, along with his brother (also black). Taken to a kill pound. Rescued from the pound and put in foster care whilst they sorted vaccinations and a passport. Brought over here to another foster home in December, she then decided to adopt him. In late February she decided she didn't want him so put him back up for adoption. We brought him home in early April. So it's not surprising he's got some issues!

He's so lovely though, currently snoring with his head on my lap.

tabula yes I think you're probably right.

Bubble2bubble Sat 11-Jun-16 10:31:52

That's tragic sad
You are probably doing this already, but loads and loads of getting his attention on you, making your self really fun to be around, playing, scenting games, everything that makes him want to stick close to you. Food on you at all times smile
Agree harness and longline while he's in the garden might give you a chance of getting him if he started to leg it - calling him back first but then using the longline if he didn't respond could really help

anametouse Sat 11-Jun-16 10:41:37

Get a good harness though, mine can get out of those things too!

LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 11-Jun-16 10:51:23

Oh yes ana, our other ddog was terrible for harnesses! The only one we could keep on her was a ruff tuff, or something like that. Even that she would chew through if you didn't keep an eye. She spent the first 2 years of her life as a puppy farm breeder so she also had issues, but her physical limitations meant she was easy to contain as she can't jump anythibg more than about 2 feet

New dog is somewhat more challenging in that respect! He's a joy to train though, so quick! Although we've had to forgo classes for bow as he was finding it too stressful.

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