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You’d think dogs don’t have a sense of humor until your dog slips her leash while you’re out on a walk.

While you panic and look out for cars, there’s your very funny dog, dancing around and daring you to chase her.

In most cases, the worst thing you can do is run after your dog. Then, it becomes a silly game. Most dogs, even the most well-trained, will run about with joy when they realize they’re being chased.

How To Catch A Loose Dog

First, if there’s a road between you and your dog, check for oncoming traffic. Try to get to the same side of the road, but don’t go directly towards your dog. Don’t run, and don’t panic or get yourself hit by a car.

When you’re on the same side of the road or there’s no immediate danger, you can start to call your dog. If you have any treats, snacks, or anything edible, hold it out while you call your dog. This is the one situation in which bribery is absolutely acceptable.

If you don’t have any food, try rustling a bag, a receipt, or something to give your dog the impression that you’ve got the goods.

Try skipping from side to side, imitating the bouncing, prancing movements of a playful dog. With these movements you can encourage your dog to make a game of chasing after you.

Most of all, you’ll be able to convince your dog that you’re not terrified/angry/anxious, or anything other than your usual, fun self.

You can also try squatting low to the ground. Getting low can make you seem more approachable and interesting to your dog, especially if they’re scared.

Practicing Better Recall

Hopefully you’re not reading this while your dog is on the loose, but if you are, best of luck!

When you’re not chasing your dog, you can work on her recall skills to help ensure that she listens next time she’s loose.

Always practice recall in a safe, fenced-in area like a backyard or dog park. Or, try an open space with your dog on a long line (check price on Amazon).

Give your dog a high value treat when she comes to you as often as possible. Shoot for at least 90% of the time.

A high value treat is usually meaty and smelly, like a piece of lunch meat, freeze dried liver, cheese, or something they absolutely love. Dry milkbones and kibble are considered low value treats. What would your dog sell her soul for? Tricky Trainers are a huge hit with Matilda and Cow.

Avoid giving your dog opportunities to chase prey. It’s very difficult to recall a dog while she’s in the middle of chasing a squirrel. You can work on this skill while your dog is under control, on a long line.

I have and love my dog’s long lines. They’re just a very long leash, mine are 30 feet long, and give my dogs plenty of room to run around near my apartment, at the beach, soccer field, any open space. For less than ten bucks, you can twart your dog’s next attempt to run into the road.

When You Catch Your Loose Dog

When you finally catch your dog, whether they returned to you or you had to retrieve her, resist the urge to let her know how upset, stressed, embarrassed, or all-of-the-above you are. Returning to you should always be a good idea.

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.