Ellie B earns the dreaded double leash

Now you've done it, Ellie B.

Now you’ve done it, Ellie B.

My around-the-block with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle turned into an unwanted adventure last week.

The dog slipped her gentle leader. Oh, my wily beloved rescue mutt has managed to free her nose from the black circle of mesh before, but as we walked down the hill on our street, four houses from home in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, she put on a move worthy of Lebron James in the paint and somehow, some way also managed to free herself of the loop around her neck.

Before I could fully understand that last wiggle and grab her collar, Ellie B danced free of the constraint of her leash and bounded away, away, away from me.

Our street is not busy with car traffic on a weekday afternoon. Knock on wood. But one block over is a much more major thoroughfare. A bit panicked, I herded her the best I could in the other direction. And, quite, thankfully, she dashed behind the house immediately in front of us and into the backyard of neighbors I don’t know though they live on the same side of the street as my dear wife Karen and I.

For the next 15 minutes or so, Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle proved that she will not come, sit or stay when she would prefer to run, bounce and jump. She pranced between two backyards, always staying at least one foot beyond my reach. What a tease.

This 4-or-so dog is faster and quicker than this nearly 57 man.

And so it went until I grabbled a backyard bucket that had partially filled from rain and asked Ellie B if she was thirsty from all of that running. Lord knows, I was, and even that rainwater was starting to look good.

The dog went for my bait, bending into the pail. I got her collar, clicked the leash onto the metal ring, and led her the four houses down to home.

Can I get secutiry over here?

Can I get security over here?

An hour later Karen was not thrilled by the story, worried as I am about the lure of that busier street and our memory of our dog jogging on it when she’d escaped from our yard when she was a pup, before we’d Ellie B-ified and built our better fence.

My dear wife had a solution, and it was off to PetSmart, where we purchased a new gentle leader to replace the one with the popped nose loop latch, and, most magnicently, a double leash.

Now when I walk Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle, she’s hooked up twice. One clip is to the new gentle leader, around her neck and her nose, to keep her from pulling my arm out of its socket. The second is clipped right to the ring on the collar.

Double security. Knock on wood.

Just yesterday, Kitt Crescendo, author of the cool blog The Inner Wildkat, saw Ellie B’s picture with me on my friend CBXB’s blog and asked about her breed. After stating the obvious — Shepherd, yes? — I told of how the rescue folks gave us a long list of other breeds they thought were mixed into this dog of ours. Me, I see Australia’s infamous Dingo, the ears especially. And when she slips free and wants to go on runabout.

Do you have a pet who yearns to run free, and if so, what do you do to curtail that bounding? Do you think we should consider signing up Ellie B for her third round of obedience classes, or is she a lost cause, and why? What tricks might you have pulled to catch the dog in the backyard of a neighbor?

40 thoughts on “Ellie B earns the dreaded double leash

  1. Oh little Ellie B! We can never be too protective of our little rascals now, can we? New Cat lurks by the front door and tries to escape his mini manse from time to time (the nerve). My very quick, very loud “knock it off” sends him running for the hills every time!

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  2. My three dachshunds salute the adventurous spirit of your Ellie B!

    When I finished reading them the post, Sammy, the old geezer of the bunch at 17, reminded me of when he could run – and run, he did, and one time right after a hissing possum. Fortunately, a few nasty hisses later, the possum ran into the bramble, while Sammy stood rooted to his spot, barking but showing the good judgment not to follow Mr. Possum.

    Me and the pups enjoy hearing about Ellie B’s adventures. More, please!

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    • I am glad that Sammy had the sense to keep out of the bramble, and your three dachsunds find pleasure in hearing you tell of my adventures with the rambling Ellie B, Kate. As she goes, I write, rest assured, my friend. Thank you for your kind words. πŸ™‚

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  3. If only you could market that energy Mark. She is adorable….but oh when the rascally-ness of her running and keeping you moving. I can picture you now….chasing….chasing….and her completely aware of where you are and not catching her. Reminds me of my kids. πŸ™‚

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  4. You are great dog parents! I vote for trying again with the obedience/training classes OR, if you are up for it, see if there are any introductory courses around for agility or even flyball. The ones we went to used a lot of the similar positive/operative training techniques but gave the dogs lots more to do. And it was lots of fun for us too. We never went all the way into agility training but the early stuff was very helpful and fun. Sounds like Ellie needs a lot to do. Also, if you can run her somewhere safe or take her for a good long walk BEFORE training that can help settle her down when you are walking normal or want to do a class. Not to exhaust her or anything – just to take that initial surge of energy down a notch. We had/have terriers and will have more and some have had very similar issues. Good solution with the two leashes for safety!

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful suggestions, Elizabeth. They are interesting, the agillity and flyball classes, particularly! You are correct about Ellie B having an inordinate amount of energy, even in our small city backyard. In the classes we’ve taken her to in the past, though, she’s all calm and listens and acts like a little angel for that one hour. Then at home, the flee gene reappears!

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      • Well that tells me you are 1) truly great and devoted pet parents and 2) that she thrives on learning and having stuff to do. Pick something you’ll enjoy and approach it with the same calm confidence she obviously feels when she’s with you in classes. Listen to me, I’m talking like a know stuff. I only know what I’ve experienced which is loving the dogs and how they take us in unexpected directions. Sometimes literally.

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  5. Some dogs yearn to run free. When I was a kid, I had a Cocker Spaniel, Rusty. He would take off for hours – maybe even a day – and then come home with a big smile on his face. Yeah! My brother has a box/shepherd mix, Lola, who was constantly making a break for it. She got plenty of exercise out in the desert, and is much loved and spoiled at home. So there was no need for the Great Escape.

    Good luck with Ellie B. I saw two dingos that are being socialized at our local zoo. There does seem to be a resemblance between them and Ellie B. Very good looking dogs. πŸ˜‰

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  6. Oh Mark, you are such a marvelous story teller ! Ellie B reminds me of the feral dogs in the streets of India, brown , dirty white and a few black ones. Husband says these are “generic dogs” allowed to live and breed for thousands of years. My friend who taught in Egypt said the very same dogs were there as well!

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  7. she is probably going to be a wanderer, runner, mischief maker for a long time to come. probably a good call. as for me, i have nacho the cat who loves to go in and out and always comes back so i don’t really have to worry. that must have been scary and frustrating too –

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    • You can always find Nacho the Cat by her soul singing, too, Beth. ))

      This time, Ellie’s escape was more frustrating after I discerned she was not that interested in dashing out front and into the street. Thankfully.

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  8. Our dogs don’t fight the leash, but Tonto (the younger one) wants to flee the yard each time we open the side gate. He is wily, so we have to watch him. But the pound put a chip in his head, so if he ever did escape, oh, well. I think Ellie is a lost cause. It must just be in dog’s blood to be explorers, like Lewis and Clark.

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  9. Oh, there’s nothing worse than that feeling of looking down at your dogless leash and seeing the little beast heading for the hills. I remember this from suburban living. Now we are in the country and Max runs free as a bird. Which means he never takes off now, Mark. He sniffs and snoops to his heart’s content just around the perimeter of our yard and then barks to come in. It’s all about forbidden fruit, I’m convinced. So glad you get Ellie B back safe and sound.

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    • I’m glad you no longer have to worry about Max’s mad dash among the forbidden fruit of the ‘burbs, Barb.

      That’s bad, but right here in the city neighborhood, one street over from a fairly busy street two crossways, my heart beats out of my chest that Ellie B will dash in either of those directions. Fortunately, this time it was just backyard bingo.

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  10. Ellie looks quite fine in her new leash Mark. Where i boarded some years ago, The owners had a Dalmation called Daisy. OMG. She had an unbelievable amount of energy and would dleliberately try to escape each time the door opened. Yikes! She got out on me a few times and the pusuit was much as you described – through backyards and around in circles. She always looked back as if she was making sure someone was following. I think they think it is a game of chase Mark. Then when I caught her, she did not have her collar on and there was no way to hold onto her. So, I had to straddle her, as if I were riding a horse and guide her back to the house. She was fine with being ridden like that – oddly enough.

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    • Yes, Paul, it is a big game to Ellie B, too. This, I know. So I sat down on a bench in the neighbor’s yard and waited for her to come to me. She advanced to within that magic 12 inches and waited for me to reach for the collar and then dashed away again.

      We try never, ever to have her without collar for just the reason you state. Riding her pony style would be quite the chore. I’m glad you were able to guide Daisy back home without having to buy a whip and chaps.

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