Every time my husband takes the dog on the trail off leash, he turns around and comes back,if he knows I am home. If I am gone, he walks off leash just fine, and doesn't run home. My husband can be stern, but I don't know why the dog comes back. It really upsets my husband, to turn around and poof the dog is gone. He's ready to quit walking him. The dog lags behind normally sniffing where other dogs urinate, but will come when called. Why is this happening?

  • Welcome to pets.SE! Do you really want to know why it happens, or do you more want to stop it? As more clear your aim/question is, as more focussed the answers will be you get :) Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 19:32
  • actually both. Why does he do it, and how to stop it. I know my husband should insist that the dog stay in front of him, so he can keep an eye on him, but he probably won't remember to do that.
    – Sandy
    Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 20:05
  • 2
    Walk the dog on leash? Focus on training come, sit, stay, heel, so the dog understands what you're asking it to do?
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 23:16
  • Thanks, he's an Australian Shepard so he really needs to run. He knows all of those commands, thank you for your contribution. It's a wooded area with a trail loop, it also has a field on one end. He always comes when called. He knows sit, down, wait, out, up, off, come, place, roll over, bang, you're dead, go, this way, with a point to the direction, quiet, speak, spin, heel and no pull. I'm wondering if he thinks I need to be there?
    – Sandy
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


Honestly, it's quite normal for dogs to have one favorite person. It's not like he doesn't like your husband, it's just that you are his social anchor and he prefers to be near you. As humans that hurts our feelings, but for a dog that is pe4rfectly normal.

One possible way around that is to play games with your dog while he's on the leash and continuing the game when he's off leash. That way he (hopefully ;) ) is concentrated on the game and not on you back home. It may take a while to break his habit and keep him with your husband.

Another thought: what happens when your dog runs back to you? Do you talk to him in a high voice like after he did something right? Do you get up and walk with him instead? Australien Shepherds are very intelligent and your dog may find the result of running back home more rewarding than walking with your husband. Bluntly said he may be manipulating you into giving him what he desires.

My personal opinion is this: if you cannot control your dog while off the leash (like stopping him from running onto the street in front of a car), then don't take him off the leash. Dogs have their own minds and some will never follow commands reliably off leash, so that's no failure or anything of yours. Why doesn't your husband finish the walk before letting your dog off the leash? Isn't a 10-minute walk at least better than a 1-minute walk and running back?

  • Thanks! Actually the 1st time I think I got really nervous and called to check on my husband, the 2nd time I'm like what are you doing here, and the 3rd time I leashed him up to take him back to my husband. I wasn't feeling well, but I took him out on the trail anyway. You are so right, he is very capable of working us! The trail is nowhere near any traffic, nor is the short distance to our house, so he's not in danger.
    – Sandy
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 19:26
  • meanwhile my husband hasn't been taking him now. Thx you made some good points!
    – Sandy
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 19:37

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