Our dog runs to home when scared

Posted by Janey
Jan 12, 2010
We have a lovely rescue dog who we have had for two months now, she is fourteen months old; she is fearful of other dogs but was learning to socialise until off the lead one day a couple of bigger dogs turned on her and she bolted for home. She did not come back to our command which she is quite good at usually. This has since happened three more times in a week and isn't entirely connected to the memory of the size or breed of the dogs that turned on her as she bolted when a smaller dog get too playful with her. We keep an eye out for the dogs that caused the problem and put her on the lead but worry that if it is becoming more difficult to predict that we'll end up putting her on her lead all the time. We want her to be able to be off the lead as she has a lot of energy and ideally for her to overcome her fear or for her to come to us instead of running home. Any ideas?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 12, 2010
Hi Janey,

First of all thank you for rescueing the dog and giving her a lot of TLC!

I understand how you feel about giving her more freedom by walking off-leash but I recommend you have her on a leash until she gets over the fear and becomes more reliable at recall.

The good thing is that she runs back home, rather than running off elsewhere and getting lost. However, there might be chances that she gets hit by a car, etc.

You don't usually know much about history of rescue dogs. She might have had being attacked by big dogs or something. Same thing can be said regarding her experience with people. Since she is still 14 mos I would get her a lot of socialization with other dogs and people, including children (but never unsupervised please).

Also from 1 yr to 1.5 yr old, some dogs can suddenly become more fearful towards strangers (dogs and people) and more protective about resources including YOU because it is a transition period from puppyhood to adulthood. When you socialize your dog to new dogs/people please take baby steps to help her build confidence. If you flood her with too much at one time it will backfire and make her even more fearful.

Start with very friendly and confident dogs. Joining an obedience training class will be very good to establish strong bonding between her and you too.

Good luck