I am brought here by the fact that I have recently lost a dog to an eighteen wheeler in front of my house. She was an English Golden Retriever puppy, named Ellie, with champion bloodlines, going on a year old. She was very well trained-knew all the basic commands very well, knew many tricks, had a very good attitude, and was basically the ideal case. She knew not to go onto the road (to her that was only for when I had her on a leash). I had been giving her at least 2 hours of intensive training every day, even on vacation, since she was eight weeks old. She was worth (money wise) about $15,000 dollars. To me she was priceless.

It happened when she was doing counting exercises in the front lawn. I was having her bring the tennis balls back in the order I asked (like "3, 1, 5, 4, 2."). She looked up, saw the truck going down the road, and got a little crazy. She ran right into the side of it.

She had always been frightened of large trucks, and I had been training her to keep steady, but she had never even came close to moving toward one on purpose. Does anyone know what her train of thought was doing here, and how I can make absolutely certain this will never happen again?

  • Related question Preventing dog from going to highway about a less trained dog. I don't think this is a duplicate question because the answers here should be more focused on training as opposed to physical restraint. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 12:41
  • You're wanting to do this purely with training and no leashes or fences? Otherwise I think this would be a duplicate with the question that @JamesJenkins linked to.
    – Spidercat
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:59
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    @MattS. I'm not so interested in physical restraint, mostly because a dog with high activity levels won't do as well penned up or tied out, and I don't want to (nor can I afford to) fence along the road. Also, the three driveways would still be open.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 14:53
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    @MattS. I am interested in training, and would like to know if this is possible/how to go about it. I think it would partly have to do with helping her keep her head, but it would be hard to simulate for training. She was 100% positive reinforcement trained, no correction and (at least for her) it seemed to be working excellently.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 14:57
  • IMO positive-only training has its limits. Like trying to get a dog to stay through distractions with positive-only reinforcenment is difficult. By the sounds of it, your dog encountered something she wasn't familiar with and wasn't sure how to act :/
    – Chris
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


You can't completely train that out of them. If a dog has the desire and urge to go after vehicles on a road, there is a chance that they will give in to that urge if they have the opportunity.

One option that might help is an invisible fence. We use the Pet-safe wireless fence for our dogs. We have a border collie that likes to run with and go after fast-moving cars (not slow ones for some reason). He is a good boy and well trained but he likes to chase down cars. It scares me but we have the wireless fence set up so that if he goes into the road at all the collar activates, so he stays out of the road. It should be noted that he is trained and will not chase a car if I am out with him. He will sit by my side and watch, and sometimes give a low growl, but he is trained not to chase around me without a command. He also knows that if his ball goes into the road he is not allowed to chase after it. But if I am not around (so far as he can tell) he knows he can get away with not following the rules.

On the other hand, we have a smaller dog that is nowhere near as smart as our border collie. She will mimic the border collie and occasionally keep running despite the warnings from the collar. I honestly worry because she will receive the correction and yip, but keep chasing for a few seconds and then takes quite corrective reminder from the collar. I only share this to show that nothing is perfect or 100%. Fortunately for me she prefers to play out the back more than out the front, and is usually inside unless we are out with them to keep an eye out. We also live in a very rural area, so the opportunities are rare.

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