I have a Shih-tzu age one. He is very well behaved with one exception. He will dart out of the door and run. I know this is a game to him but, it’s not funny. If he is in the back yard (finced in) or in the house he comes back as soon as called. It’s only when he is beyond that scope he runs. I am so scared he will get hurt. Last night he darted out the door and ran like hell across the street and all around in the neighbor hood. He is very small only 8 lbs. He has been clicker trained but won’t come even for the clicker. We do call and click to to avail. I know it is wrong but I panic. He seems to think it’s all a big game. Please HELP.


  1. sparrow

    Hi there,
    First, how are you using the clicker? To be effective, the clicker is used to reinforce a behavior after it is done (for example, if you are teaching a dog to sit, you might lure him with a treat and click the second his butt hits the ground, or click/treat for small movements of the butt towards the ground, until he is in a sitting position). If you’re clicking before he comes, then it reinforces him running away. If you’re already using the clicker correctly, that’s great! The Clicker Training website has a list of beginner and advanced tips for using clickers really precisely (link at bottom).
    Have you seen the clicker solutions yahoo group? http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Click… They have a ton of people who clicker train, from people just starting out to professional trainers.
    Anyway, they might have more ideas than just me, so I highly recommend you check them out (nothing like free advice from the pros!)
    My advice would be to start working on recalls with him in the front yard. Start with a 6 foot leash and click and treat for attention on you, coming to you, etc.. Right now the great outdoors is probably so exciting that it’s difficult for him to focus. The more you’re out front, on walks, going on rides, and generally seeing new things, the less exciting it will be (and the more appealing coming to mom or dad for a treat!). Once he’s giving you his attention outside, put him on a long line for safety, to keep him from running into the street if he gets distracted, and practice recalls from further away.
    Working on other behaviors out front, such as sit and lie down, can also help him learn to focus.
    You can also train a “Roadkill Recall” – named for what it keeps your dog from ending up as! I put a link to it in the sources. This is for emergencies rather than general recalls like in the house, in the yard but not near danger, etc.. It takes work, but could save your dog’s life.
    Best of luck, and I hope this helps!

  2. no qf

    He needs to learn door waits and coming when called (it must be trained to be 100% and it can be). The clicker is not a remote control – the clicker is used as a secondary reinforcer for the DESIRED behavior only. You need to brush up on clicker training and basic obedience.
    The links below will help with all of these.
    Also try the booklet Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson (it works!).

  3. raticals

    My sister’s 2 yo dog was killed. He played darting game, ran right out into her street and it was over so quickly.
    She did get another dog, but this time around she invested in training classes, that taught the basics, including “recall.”
    Try putting your dog on a leash, tell him to “come.” Start out very close to him, to prevent mistakes. You want to create a situation that is correct as much as possible.
    When your dog makes a move to come towards you, regardless to whether or not he actually comes, you praise him, then give a treat.
    Continue with this method, increasing the distance and always treat-reward his positive behavior.
    Once he’s consistent with coming on a leash, try a longer leash. Lastly, once he’s reliable on a long leash, let him off the leash (only in the house) and call him. When he comes treat him, and always be super positive.
    If he thinks he’s going to be leashed, each time you call, then chances are he’s going to keep darting, so learn to mix it up, so he is never quite sure when he’s going in his crate, going to be leashed, or whatever the case is.

  4. lopingde

    Get him a small training Collar. When he jumps out press the button. There are several different levels. remember this is only for that one thing. It will divert him from jumping out in the street. Some people may think this is extreme,however this action is dangerous.

  5. brandy G

    Try taking him out on a leash. Do this as often as you can for a while. Maybe it will teach him where is boundaries are.

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