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Thread: Dog keeps running home when she sees RC cars. Help?

  1. #1

    Question Dog keeps running home when she sees RC cars. Help?

    Hi everyone,

    I have a 15 month old Basenji cross that I rescued about 8 months ago. She loves going down to the park and playing with other dogs. She only mastered come when called in the last few months which was a big relief to us.

    Here's the thing: Every once in awhile there'll be people who bring down their RC cars and planes to the park and she is absolutely TERRIFIED of them. The first time she saw one, she bolted across the park, then the road and sat outside our front gate while we ran after her. She is wayyy too quick for us to catch. That was when we found out..and it was 3 months ago. We didn't see any RC toys after that.

    We were in the park yesterday and someone started up their RC cars, and I knew she wasn't too happy about that. So while she stood there frozen looking at me, I quickly put on her leash and she pretty much pulled me home. And this is a dog that doesn't really pull.

    Today there were 2 RC planes which I didn't notice at all because they were real quiet, and she just bolted across the road AGAIN. Thankfully no cars. I stupidly thought after 5 minutes we should go back down so she can look at them and know that they're not a threat. We've done this with her with cars and it worked..

    It was getting abit dark and those guys left. So once again I unleashed her to play with other dogs. I don't know if she couldn't see me but she first ran to where we sat down before and saw me close by, then started moving towards the direction of home again. I tried catching up to her, calling her name and pretty much almost sh*t my pants because I saw cars along the road. She would check on me every 5 seconds or so to make sure I was coming (I know I probably should've run the other way but the thought of her getting run down by a car kept flashing in my head!) and THANK GOD she stopped before the road...

    Sorry for being so descriptive, I figured the more info the better. I don't understand why this is happening. Or how I could avoid this from happening again. Certainly do not wish for her to be run down by a car...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    There is a dvd called "really reliable recall" which teaches you how to get a reliable recall from any dog.

    You're doing fairly well - if distractions or fail triggers were rated on a scale of 1 to 10... you might have reached level 3 or so. Ie in not very stressful or distracting situations she can still listen to you.

    What you need to do is up the level of distraction and practice recall with this level of distraction/stress - in an environment where you have control and there are no safety problems.

    If I thought my dog would run across busy roads if someone showed with a remote control toy - I wouldn't let her off lead at all. But at a distance from the toy that she could pay attention to me, I'd ask her to do basic stuff she knows well in low distractions (like sit and heel and maybe a few recalls on lead), and reward that with her most favourite things in the world (food or toys).

    Until I could be sure in the most distracting environment - she wouldn't run into danger like that.

    When it comes to remote control cars - my dog loves chasing them. Fortunately she doesn't try to eat them. It took a lot of on lead time and treats to get her to ignore remote control planes and gliders...

    And I would practice heaps of recalls at the park all the time, especially when there are exciting things happening like she's playing with other dogs - will she come then? If not - got some more work to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    I would try finding a cheap RC to have at home to train her with and get her used to them so she doesn't freak out at the park. At least then you're in control of her exposure and can do it as gradually as she needs to desensitise her to the toys. Try and create a positive association with the toys, she probably just has no idea what they are, or she might be freaked out by the sound they make.

  4. #4


    Thanks everyone!

    She definitely will not be going off lead for awhile! And will do more training with distractions. Fingers crossed!

    When we first got her she was terrified of everything! Have a feeling she was mistreated as a baby. But she's heaps better now. Although there are still a few things she's scared of - the soccer ball, the broom, basically anything that moves by itself and she doesn't know what or who is controlling it.

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