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Escape Artist

Escape Artist

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Escape Artist

by sands904 on 4/29/2010 at 8:07 AM in Lance

I was outside working in the yard yesterday afternoon and all three dogs were out inside the fence. I was on the north side of the house pulling weeds and going in and out of the gate. I came back inside the fence to take Lacey and Logan in the house. Logan has been showing signs of allergies so I didn't want him outside too long. I took them inside did a few things for dinner which was cooking in the crock pot and went back outside.

As soon as I walked out I noticed that the gate it standing wide open and Lance is nowhere to be seen. I walk around the north side of the house (the side were the open gate was) and around to the front of the house. The garage was open and usually when I take him out that gate we are either going for a walk or a ride in the car which he LOVES so I thought maybe he would be sitting by the car waiting for me. No such luck. I walked back around the house the way I came yelling 'Lance Here' and one time 'Lance Dinner' (He loves his dinner and I told myself I would only use this in an emergency, which I thought this qualified as). I am starting to get worried now but decided I am going back in the house to grab the whistle we used when we started working on recall, Lacey and my car keys to go looking for him. As I come around the side of the house to the open fence gate I see Lance on the other (south) side of the fence by the second gate which is closed. He is standing there all wiggly and happy. I open that gate and he walks right back into the yard. I rewarded him with all of the treats I had left in my pocket, petted and hugged him and threw his Frisbee for him for a few minutes. I wanted to make sure he knew he was the BEST DOG EVER for coming back!!!

I don't know for sure where he went while he was out but he had to be out about 10 minutes or so. It was a short, little adventure but one that could have ended a lot worse. We have a really busy highway not too far away. Lance and I have been working on his recall for a long time and he has always been really good with it when he is on the 50 or 100 ft leash or when I drop his leash but for him to come back when he escaped was AWESOME. Moral of the story having way to get your dog back home could save THEIR LIFE!
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I sympathise with you over Lance doing a disappearing act. I have a lurcher (greyhound/border collie) which is the top cross for coursing dogs. I don't know if you have the sport in the USA. I am a Brit and in the UK it was banned along with all hunting with dogs a few years ago. In coursing two greyhounds or lurchers are held on a leash and a hare (jack rabbit) is driven by beaters, about 100 yards past the two dogs who are then released after the hare. They compete against each other, and they score points how the hare is forced to change direction obviously to avoid the dog bringing them down.

I rescued Millie when she was about two year old. I think she was a coursing dog, because it was about the time the ban was made law, and because she was obviously the type favoured for that sport.

When i got her, I had another lurcher, Tigger who was a whippet crossed with some kind of terrier. She had been a racing dog, again abandoned, probably because she was getting two old. She was about six when we got her. I had had her for about three years when I adopted Millie. The first day I had Mille, we went for a walk on the moors which are wild hills just outside by back gate. Excellent dog walking country, which runs up the backbone of England. As Tigger was always off leash I took a chance with Millie letting her off too. She behaved well until she saw a hare in the distance probably the best part of a mile away and she was off, followed by Tigger, who had never shown any interst, but she knew it was a competition and joined in gleefully. These dogs can do about 45mph and off they went and had their own coursing competition. I don't like them killing, but of course it is their nature. As I said it was against the law, but althoug execellent runners, neither of them could read! I was whistling and calling,frantic thinking that Millie might just disappear. I knew Tigger would come back eventually. After twisting and turning, which would have earned them points, eventually Mille won the competition and brought down the hare. Then much to my surprise came running back and dropped the dead hare at my feet. Obviously she had been trained to do this.

I tried to avoid letting the two lurchers chasing hares but unfortunately they did it repeatedly. Often the hare got away. Tigger would then come and find me, but Millie if she hadn't git a hare could be away for hours. Fortunately hares are not common like rabbits but it was a worry to me.

Tigger died at the grand old age of 18 and she had chased a hare in the morning, then had a kind of fit at lunchtime, She recovered and I took her to the vet.,who examined her and could find nothing wrong. He said she might not have another. However when we were going to bed, she had another seizure. I took her to an all night vet, and after a blood test, he said all her organs were excellent for her age, except her brain, probably a tumour. So to save her further pain, we had to say goodbye. When I returned home about 1am Millie and Boo, my Pug-Zu were distraught, particularly Millie, who knew she had lost her hunting competitor but close buddy.

I wish I could say that this stopped her hunting, but no. She became worse. One afternoon about 3pm she just dashed off, and she can disappear in seconds. I had Boo also a labrador and a weimaraner, that I walk in the afternoon. Fortunately the two big dogs had not seen Millie go, or perhaps they would have followed. I didn't dare whistle, but Iknew she would be deaf, when she was on a chase. It was the middle of winter. I had to return home with the other dogs and kept going on the moor several times. I took Boo with me about 8pm, 5 hours since she had disappeared, and to my great relief she came in the blackness. I had been afraid that she might have run on to one of the roads that cross the moor and been hit by a car. Previously once I had seen both Tigger and Millie running back time and time again sniffing. They had obviously lost the sight of the hare and as they are sight hounds, their sense of smell if inmferior to that of a sniffer hound. Running back and forth they were lucky, it was commuter time and there were lots of cars, but fortunately they all stopped.

Although I have worked a lot with dogs, it seems to be impossible to break that hunting instinct, unless of course you get the dogs as pups. But when they are mature the urge is too great. especially if they have been trained to hunt.If they are near they are obedient, but any distance away, they are off.

After this incident, a long leash, I am afraid, is Millie's lot in territory where there are likely to be hares. I still haven't managed to teach her to read, but we must obey the law.

michdwy on 4/30/2010 at 1:36 PM

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