Go ahead, ask me.
I'll tell you as soon as the adrenaline stops and I can peel myself off the ceiling.
See that cutie-pie of a face there on the left? That oh-so-handsome Great Dane I talk about all the time?
He escaped the yard. Ran right out the gate behind me.
Stopped about 15 feet away and gave me "The Look." The Look that says catch me if you can, I dare you.
This is what went through my mind, literally:
no collar, same color as snow, will look like a deer, freezing, tennis shoes – wet – cold, need food, don't panic.
I arranged those thoughts into reasonable action and called to him excitedly as I ran the other way with the GOOD DOGS into the house. I didn't hear thundering paws behind me, so I peeked around the corner. He was peeing in a big drift of snow, completely unconcerned that we'd all left him.
This was not going well.
I ripped the door off the fridge and grabbed a pack of hot dogs, then grabbed a squeaky toy as I ran back out the door – the remaining three GOOD DOGS in tow. The squeaker grabbed Talos' attention, but he was nowhere near ready to come inside. He was still looking to be chased.
Still inside the yard, I threw the hot dog over the fence so he didn't have to worry I'd dart after him. I had good aim (for once) and the hot dog didn't land in a snow bank, but rather on the driveway. He ate it.
Still inside the yard, I walked a smidge closer and tossed another. At this point, I stopped feeding him and began feeding the GOOD DOGS lots of pieces of hot dog. Tons of hot dogs were going to them. None to him. Talos took a step closer.
With my back to Talos, I opened the gate and continued to feed the others. Before I could turn around to see if he was intrigued, his head was in my face.
I gave him an entire hot dog, and closed the gate. All the while acting as if I was the most unconcerned person in the world, as if this happens everyday.
I continued feeding all the dogs bits of hot dogs as we went back inside.
The morals of this story:
- Keep an eye on your dog – slipping through the gate (or door) happens in an instant.
- Don't chase! (If I would have ran toward Talos it would have made his day! And would have made him impossible to catch.)
- Reward your dog heavily when he comes back.
- Teach a rock-solid recall and practice it everywhere.