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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Urge I feel awful and so stupid. We lost Rupert in the woods for over two and a half hours this morning and it was totally our fault. I'm SO unbelievably happy and thankful to have him back. He is never going offlead again in the woods!

We walk Rupert in some local woods every morning for 40 minutes or in an area with signs which say 'off lead dogs welcome' as its such a big wood with secure fencing all the way around and no livestock around, perfect dog walking area recently. I spent a lot of time training when Rupert was a little puppy and his recall is pretty good (95% reliably with distractions) and he recently passed or equivalent of the US CGC in the presece of lots of other offlead dogs and distractions and I've always been pretty confident in his recall, else I wouldn't have let him off. I've been able to call him away from sudden horse riders in the park no problem, but I have never taken into account prey drive over riding!

I like to think I'm a pretty cautious person; I'd never let him off near roads or other people (except in the dog friendly parks) and I've always been confident he's come back if required. I thought he had very low prey drive, a he's only really shown a vague interest in birds and I've always been able to call him back. Plus he comes from British show lines, no working in there for a long time! Plus he's never really wanted to more than about 20 feet away from us in this perticular woods and always stays on the path.

So I was I'll this morning an let me OH wall him alone and I got the dreaded phone call '...Ruperts been missing for 20 minutes' :( so I freaked out an got a friend to drop me off and the woods. My OH said he saw a squirrel or something move in the woods and just went. Is very thick Forrest so his voice wasn't carying far.

So we split and walked around the whole woods about four times for hours, calling, whistling, shouting ect (we've both now lost our voices!) and I swear I could have physically died from a heart attack.

Everything was going through my head; what if he's managed to get out of the woods and onto the road, what of someone had stolen him, what of another dog had hurt him, what if he's fallen in the lake and was downing. Too much to bare thinking about :(

So eventually, he just came back like nothing had happened as let us clip him back on. I can't believe I've been so irresponsible as to trust the recall of a 12 month old puppy. It's a risk I will never take again, unless I KNOW I can keep a full eye on him maybe when he's much older.

Anyway, thought I'd post to let out some steam and maybe a a warning to those who think their puppies are 100%. Feel free to have a go at me about how irresponsible I was, I certainly deserve it and I could NEVER have forgiven myself of something happened to him.

:thanx:
 

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when I needed to let my dog run free I used a baseball park or elementery school park where there is a fence

once I lost my German Shepherd in a public wooded park when I let him chase a rabbit off lead...he came back in five minutes...but it is scary

it's also scary because people can be afraid of these kinds of dogs and if they see them running loose they get their gun...that also happened to me with the GS many times...he would get out of the fenced yard ...now my dog stays inside
 

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I'm so glad Rupert found his way back to you...I can imagine how freaked out you were. Rupert was probably like "what's all the fuss about"! I'm glad it was a happy ending! :)

Jan
 

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Oh that's such a scary thought! I'm so glad he came back safe and sound.
 

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The one thing any dog owner should never think to themselves or say outloud. . .

" My Dog would never _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _"

So glad Rupert turned up fine.
I like that...

I recently had a reintroduction to puppy brain at a local beach where dogs are often off-lead. Haley hadn't been there since last summer when she was 7-8 old months old. It's her favorite place on earth! While always well behaved, she was very much set in her dober puppy ways back then and would spend her time there galavanting up and down the sandbars. Present day, she forgot we now have rules and decided she was allowed to ignore me. Wasn't in any danger, stayed close, just wasn't the same dog she was during our training and other off-leash excursions. Well out came the long line, and we re-learned to listen. 30 minutes later she was allowed to play. Next time we go, we are spending the first 30 minutes training.

While I know this wasn't applicable in your case, I too thought she was 99.7% reliable. Either I hit the jackpot and found the instance where she was .3% unreliable or I was giving her and my training to much credit.

I have a doberman to do things with her off-leash. It has taken us over a year to get to a point where we both enjoy ourselves. I can't imagine not being able to share that time with her. It's great for the both of us. She does have an e-collar, that "isn't needed" but is always fully charged, transmitter is in my hand, and I wouldn't risk going without it.
 

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How scary! Glad he was found safely!

I also use an ecollar for free running after they are about a year old, due to your exact experience. I almost never have used it, but it is there as a safety "leash" for me. In my case, when we travel I usually run 2 dogs together, and the 3rd on lead has to wait his turn. Pack mentality can really get them to zoom off after a bunny or deer.
 

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whew! glad everything turned out fine, I cant even imagine how I would feel
 

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When I looked at the title, all I saw was "I lost Rupert", I panicked. I am so glad everything turned out. Rupert is my favorite boy. I'm sure he thought, what's all the fuss. So glad he's ok.
 

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Nope, not going to beat you up about it. Not going to say anything much save, to err is human and glad to hear Rupert came back unscathed.

I would recommend using a dog whistle. I have used one since the world began (ok, maybe I am not that old but I do feel it sometimes) and have found that when my voice just doesnt seem to carry because of heavy vegetation etc a dog whistle does. It really does not take a dog long to learn to recognise and respond to such a whistle. All 3 of my boys have their own special trill which is unique to them, this way I can recall say Jack and leave Toby and Russell where they are. (it doesnt always work singularly, sometimes they will all come over but I don't have a problem with this to be honest) However, if I can control them individually I think it is much better for all concerened. Saying that I have one further trill that I use for group recall.
I have found that the dogs listen and react better to a dog whistle than when I shout. Don't get me wrong, shouting their names does work, for most of the time, but the whistle seems to break through the prey drive better.

My trainer friend uses what looks like an old school whistle, (boy is is loud) and this works very well too, so if you aren't too sure about the dog whistle, then maybe this sort will work for you.

Anyhow, just glad to hear Rupert is okay and don't beat yourself up about it, lesson learnt as you have said. :kiss:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you so much for the understanding and kind words everyone! :eek: I certainly am happy to have him back. I've felt extremely emotionally exhausted all day today, it's amazing how much intense stress it caused me!

Thanks for the suggestions and too! I don't think an e-collar is for us, but I'm definitely going to invest in a dog whisle and a flexi lead! I'll wall him o the fields on his normal flat collar and lead then when we get to the fields I'll swap him into a harness and flexi. I just have to get the technique down so he doesn't dislocate my shoulder LOL :D Plus we're gonna do more recal training on a long line, but to be honest on the long line he is 100% already but cant do any harm to do more!

I love him bein of lead, but im going to be MUCH more thorough in my risk evaluaion in the future and never letting him out of my sight. Me and my OH have even spoke about buying a patch of woodland and fencing it off, but sadly I think it's out of our budget.
 

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Glad to hear he's back safe and sound! After 2 hours I'm sure I would have been in tears.

I had a similar situation last summer, when my girl was about the same age as Rupert. Only it was a deer not a squirrel, and she was only gone for about 15 minutes. She was on the trail ahead of me, then I saw a flash of white to her right and she was off like a shot. All I heard was CRASH CRASH CRASH and then nothing. I called and called her and was beside myself thinking she had tripped and broken her kneck in the swamp, but wasn't 100% sure where she had gone in and it was too thick to go after her.

15 minutes later she came trotting back, as pleased as punch, black to the top of her chest in mud. Scariest 15 of my life. I was not impressed.
 
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