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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I hope this is the right place to post this. I'm a new member, but I searched and found this forum for a specific question and don't want to spend a week with pleasantries and hellos first. No offense.

Tonight, my dog was not listening to me. I'm not sure what her issue is, but as soon as I opened the door she bolted from me (unusual) and chased something. When she came back, she took a potty break but then ran between the fence and the apt building we live in, where I could not reach her. She then proceeded to eat something. I yelled, I said "Bad dog" I said "Come here" I said everything I could to get her attention. She never even turned around.

It is possible she is a little hungry? But I fed her twice today!

The point is, regardless, she does not usually act this way. Though I've never had a structured training program with her, when I adopted her three years ago - she was 2 then - she immediately latched on and has been a very good listener. I can walk her without a leash and she won't run or leave my side. Tonight, however, I thought she was in danger.

I didn't know what she was chewing on. I still don't. It is very dark out. Poision? Animal trap? Dead animal? Worse? I have no clue. But she wouldn't stop and I couldn't reach her.

Finally, I had to run around the back of the building, grab a stick and a rock, and attempt to get her attention by throwing them toward her. (Nothing big or hurtful.) Even though they both bopped her, she never even looked up.

Finally, exasperated because I feared she was in danger, I grabbed a larger stick and proceeded to reach through the brush and bushes and the fence between us and wallop her rear end. At first she didn't notice, but as soon as she did and realized it was me she ran back to the front yard. When I ran toward the yard too, she excitedly ran toward me but I was stern with her, grabbed her leash, and using a stern voice and close leash took her upstairs and placed her in the bathroom for about 1-2 minutes. When I let her out, I was very sweet and told her (not that she'll understand) that she was not being a good listener and I want to keep her safe and I love her. She seems fine.

All that is to say, now I feel incredibly guilty for hitting my dog with a stick. I never, ever hit my dog, and do not use that has punishment. When I train her to do tricks (the only training we've done) I am very reward based. In an emergency situation where she is not stopping do you think a few wacks are ok? Of course, I didn't hit her hard enough to hurt her, but hard enough that she got the picture.

Do you think I've done any damage to our relationship? :.(
 

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You were trying to keep your dog safe in the moment by any means necessary; I can understand that. Sometimes we have to do things that are a little extreme and less than ideal to protect our animals in the moment when unexpected things happen.

What probably happened is that whatever she found was more exciting and rewarding than the reward history (or punishment history) she has with recalls. It happens, for my dog it would've been cat poop, haha. The first thing I would do is make sure this can't happen again, by only letting her out in secure areas where she can't squeeze into hard-to-get spaces, or on leash. Or at least let her drag a line on a harness so you can grab it and draw her out if she gets in somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if she heads to that spot again, since she found something awesome (in her mind) there once already.

The biggest potential issue I see is with this part:
When I ran toward the yard too, she excitedly ran toward me but I was stern with her, grabbed her leash, and using a stern voice and close leash took her upstairs and placed her in the bathroom for about 1-2 minutes.
Dogs aren't great at figuring cause and effect. Chances are, she felt she was being punished for coming to you, not blowing you off to eat the exciting thing she found, because coming to you happened immediately before the punishment. As you might guess, this can damage a dog's recall and make her less inclined to come to you next time.

I know it's counter-intuitive, but in this situation I'd throw a party for her coming to you, excited praise, play, treats if you have them, etc. It's too late to correct the bad behavior (eating the gross mystery thing), because she's already been rewarded for that in the moment (because dogs love gross mystery things), and now, to her, the moment is passed. The best way to handle this kind of thing going forward is management, as I described above, and to work on your recall and "leave it" cues in as many different places and with increasing distractions as she gets better at it, always with amazing rewards.

Keep an eye on her for a couple days. Dogs eat gross things all the time and are fine, but of course every so often they get into something dangerous. I hope she's fine, and overall dogs are amazing, forgiving creatures, so chances are you haven't done lasting harm!
 

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Keep an eye on her, give her extra loves and pets and, work on that recall with lots of yummy treats. Get a treat she loves but, only gets for coming when called - convince her that coming to you will always be better than whatever else has distracted her.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You were trying to keep your dog safe in the moment by any means necessary; I can understand that. Sometimes we have to do things that are a little extreme and less than ideal to protect our animals in the moment when unexpected things happen.

What probably happened is that whatever she found was more exciting and rewarding than the reward history (or punishment history) she has with recalls. It happens, for my dog it would've been cat poop, haha. The first thing I would do is make sure this can't happen again, by only letting her out in secure areas where she can't squeeze into hard-to-get spaces, or on leash. Or at least let her drag a line on a harness so you can grab it and draw her out if she gets in somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if she heads to that spot again, since she found something awesome (in her mind) there once already.

The biggest potential issue I see is with this part:

Dogs aren't great at figuring cause and effect. Chances are, she felt she was being punished for coming to you, not blowing you off to eat the exciting thing she found, because coming to you happened immediately before the punishment. As you might guess, this can damage a dog's recall and make her less inclined to come to you next time.

I know it's counter-intuitive, but in this situation I'd throw a party for her coming to you, excited praise, play, treats if you have them, etc. It's too late to correct the bad behavior (eating the gross mystery thing), because she's already been rewarded for that in the moment (because dogs love gross mystery things), and now, to her, the moment is passed. The best way to handle this kind of thing going forward is management, as I described above, and to work on your recall and "leave it" cues in as many different places and with increasing distractions as she gets better at it, always with amazing rewards.

Keep an eye on her for a couple days. Dogs eat gross things all the time and are fine, but of course every so often they get into something dangerous. I hope she's fine, and overall dogs are amazing, forgiving creatures, so chances are you haven't done lasting harm!
Thanks -- I had that in the back of my mind when she ran toward me. Usually, I reward all good behavior with a happy voice -- but I was worried she would think "running to me just because I used a stick" was a cause for celebration. I didn't say "bad dog!" or "no!" when she ran to me. I just didn't praise her. I was serious and low voiced and took her to the bathroom. (Also for me to think of what to do with her in case there was gross stuff in her mouth.) Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Keep an eye on her, give her extra loves and pets and, work on that recall with lots of yummy treats. Get a treat she loves but, only gets for coming when called - convince her that coming to you will always be better than whatever else has distracted her.
Great idea! I think I'll go search for a real special treat today!
 
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