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Sharkie the Escape Artist
  • I just wanted to share what happened last night. I hope there isn't a more current thread on this.

    Last night, while Sharkie and I were at the dog park, he gave me the biggest scare of my life. I was completely careless, and opened the gate to get his ball that had rolled under a fence and out of the park. He slipped in between my legs before I had a chance to grab him. For the next five minutes, he led me on a chase around the dog park parking lot and the police station the park is next to. I was begging him to come back to me, but he was constantly out of reach. He thought it was a game. The scariest part was when he started running towards a very busy street, but looped up to the entrance of the police station instead. A police officer trainee heard me screaming for help and we managed to force Sharkie to double back to the dog park area. I had a few hard falls lunging after him and have bruises and skinned palms/knees from sliding on the road. Sharkie ran back to the dog park gate where I finally managed to lunge at him and grab onto his harness. I was lying on the ground gripping his harness and weeping in relief. Sharkie, of course, was happy and excited about his little adventure. This is how my husband found us, since we had planned to meet at the dog park. I was completely overwhelmed and hysterical with the relief that Sharkie hadn't run into traffic or gotten away. The worst part was watching him run towards the busy street, and the only thing I could think about, while sprinting after him, was that he would get hit by a car and die.

    I was so mad at him, but mostly at myself. I need to be more careful, and I'm so glad and thankful he didn't get hurt or lost. I've known for some time that shibas are not off-leash dogs, but this experience really shook me and was extremely eye opening. I'm honestly really nervous to take him out by myself now. Also, I know that Sharkie is my responsibility, but I'm upset that no one, aside from the police officer trainee, helped me. There were a dozen people at the dog park, and a few people in the parking lot, and everyone just stood and watched as I ran after Sharkie, screaming and begging him to come back, like a maniac. I was screaming and asking for help, and everyone just stared. Anyways, sorry for this semi-rant. I'm still really shaken up about what happened, but now I know that I need to be even more careful and watchful at all times when Sharkie and I are outside.

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2016-01-28 08:01:31
  • ehu_guyehu_guy
    Posts: 23
    @viv_henley So sorry that happened to you. I'm actually not surprised that no one helped out :(

    A similar thing happened to me when I was dog sitting my friends shiba and shiba terrier mix. I opened the front door to just go to my car to get something, with the intention of closing the door behind me, but Charlie, my friend's shiba slipped past my leg. Long story short, I followed him at walking pace for about 15 mins until he finally cornered himself in a fenced off neighbor's driveway a long way from my home. Needless to say during the whole ordeal I had all the same thoughts running through my head that you did.

    #1 thing I did once I got home was door training for my shiba. Ehu now knows the wait command (we do it every single time we cross the street on our walks) and always before he's allowed to set a single paw out any doorway. I can't stress enough how much of a life saver this can be. When we approach a cross walk, he now automatically waits until I give his release of "okay", but I'll still say "wait" even when he automatically does it just to keep reinforcing it.

    Another thing I learned from my experience is not to run or lunge after a loose dog. They will think it's a game. When I tried to run after Charlie, he started running. When I stopped running, he stopped running.

    Good luck, and really try to train a "wait" command. It can be a life saver and is actually really useful in various situations.

    Edited to add - Also, as frightening as it is, stay calm. When you're screaming and acting like a manic, he'll not want to come back near you out of fear. I think that's also why no one was willing to help. They might have just been in shock.
    Post edited by ehu_guy at 2016-01-27 14:32:49
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    I'm so glad you were able to get him back! That sounds super scary; a similar thing happened to me last night. Pylea was doing the shiba 500 outside after her last poo of the night, and she zoomed so fast that her leash slipped off my wrist and out of my hand. I freaked and went "nononono!!" and tried to grab her leash but she kept zooming. Luckily she didn't leave the patch of grass (which is adjacent to a busy street) and I was able to grab the leash. In that moment of panic I did NOT say "come" or "stay" calmly, which is what I should have done. I think in addition to what @ehu_guy said, we really have to keep a level head when this happens and use the appropriate commands. After all, these situations are exactly why "come"/"stay"/"wait" are so important to work on every day.
  • @ehu_guy Thank you for the suggestions. We will definitely work on that. We've been working on "wait" when he's leashed, but we haven't done it while he's off-leash. Also, yes, looking back, I should have stayed calm. I get bad anxiety sometimes in stressful situations, so staying calm was not my go-to reaction. It was dark out, and he was starting to get further away from me. I was worried I would lose sight of him. On one of my falls, I lost my glasses, and had no visibility of him, which didn't help how scared I was. The police officer trainee was pointing Sharkie out to me. The times that we weren't running, and Sharkie was waiting to see what I would do, I stopped moving towards him and brought out treats to entice him. It didn't really work which frustrated me even more. Hopefully, this doesn't ever happen again, but I will try to stay as calm as possible to get him to come back to me if it ever does.
  • @pylea Glad Pylea was ok! Yes, all his commands went out the window when he took off. I tried "come" with no luck at all. He was having way too much fun running away from me. I really need to remember to stay calm. It'll be really difficult since all I remember feeling, trying to get to Sharkie, was sheer panic and terror that he would run into traffic.
    Post edited by viv_henley at 2016-01-27 14:50:56
  • ehu_guyehu_guy
    Posts: 23
    @viv_henley. Yes, good luck and work on it all the time. Ehu is never off leash except in completely fenced in environments. He's leashed all other 99% of the time. Working on "wait" on leash is fine. I hook him up before our walks, open the door, make him wait, step out myself, then say "okay" and he follows. Same thing crossing the street. As we approach the end of the sidewalk (even in the quietest of neighborhoods) I say "wait" (he's on loose leash and stops on his own) then I look both ways, say "okay" then we cross. It's really like teaching a little kid. What's funny is now after he waits, he looks both ways too. Hilarious. Probably because he's seen me do it 100 times. We do this at every crossing, which really is almost 15 times a walk, 2 times a day. It's really drilled in there, yet still sometimes I have to remind him as he'll put one paw off the curb into the street while I'm still saying "wait wait wait!" Shibas... always work in progress.
    Post edited by ehu_guy at 2016-01-27 14:56:02
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1164
    That's such a nightmare! :( I'm glad he's okay!! I definitely want to work on "wait" as well. Yesterday when I was in the bathroom, my boyfriend got home from work and Ozzy was eagerly at the door waiting for him. When my bf got the door open, Ozzy immediately dashed out, luckily focussed on greeting my boyfriend and not running off. When he told me that Ozzy had made it out the door, though, I was still terrified... My boyfriend is new to dog raising, and he's not used to being cautious with the door and stuff; he once accidentally let my parents poodle out when he held the door open too long, which was pretty scary since we lived right off of a freeway. I should've anticipated that he would be home soon and put Ozzy in his puppy pen or something, I didn't expect him to arrive during the minute I was in the bathroom. I'm glad Sharkie is alright, I know staying calm is easier said than done, especially with a busy street near and no one willing to help... It seems like a race against the clock until something bad happens. Don't be too hard on yourself, he is safe now and you've learned the importance of caution. Now you can work with him and practice staying calm without the chaos of an unpredictable situation. :)
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2016-01-27 15:35:40
  • I'm so sorry that happened. Its always scary when something like that happens, especially out in a public place with lots of cars coming and going.

    We've had a few escapes here at the house. Just the other day Tang decided he wanted to go for a walk. The good news is our dogs don't run from us, they usually stroll along, notice we're not there and wait. If Moxy gets out, he likes to go over to the neighbors front door and wait. Thank goodness all of our dogs like meeting people, so they're easy to catch. They do know the wait command, but it doesn't always work.

    I'm also not surprised no one helped you. Most people just don't want to get involved. I'm not one of those people. I see a lost dog, I try to catch it. I see a loose dog walking through my neighborhood, I go get a leash and treats. I've had neighbors call me to tell me they see a lost dog and if I can come get it. Thats about as involved other folks get.
  • Thank you for the kind words, @lilikoi. I'm glad Ozzy didn't go too far! That would have been horrible if he had gotten away.

    I pocket dialed my husband during Sharkie's escape last night. He called me just now, and said he had just listened to the voicemail and immediately felt the need to call me and hear my voice. He said I sounded terrified in my voicemail, when I was asking for help and calling for Sharkie. I never want to experience that again. We'll definitely be working on his commands and me staying calm. I don't think I could ever forgive myself if anything happened to Sharkie. We've only had him for a month, but he's already a part of our family.
    Post edited by viv_henley at 2016-01-27 16:00:01
  • @moxyfruvous That's awesome that your dogs will wait for you! I hope we can get Sharkie to that point one day.

    Also, I do the same when I see loose dogs, which is why I was so surprised no one helped me.
  • Kiba has taken several training classes. I work with him all the time and he knows his stay command and I still have problems getting him to come inside the house from being outside in our backyard. Shibas love their games I suppose. One day he loves bacon and the next he doesnt care for it...everyday I need to come up with some new way of getting his attention, this morning i had to kick a ball toy from the backyard patio to inside the house lol...oh and Ahri also does the same thing at times.

    Kiba will actually follow me to their room and once he realizes what is happening he will immediately do a 180 and run away to an open area and hide behind big objects like the couch or chairs or whatever.

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