Rakka's Escape and Other Mishaps
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    We know that Kai Ken tend to release themselves into the wild when spooked, but I haven't seen too many accounts of how Shikoku act when they've escaped and particularly when they are hurt or scared. Feel free to add your own accounts. I think it's helpful to have this information available in the community.

    Last week, the kids let Rakka and Sosuke out, who immediately took off into the distance. First, I'll say what Rakka usually does when she gets out or takes off. This has happened a handful of times, and normally they come home on their own within half an hour or so, or I find them nearby and they jump into my car. Sometimes someone finds them and attempts to catch them, but they only ever catch Sosuke. I once found Rakka barking at a lady who was trying to lure her in to grab her. As soon as Rakka saw me, she ran to my side and kept barking at the stranger. This is generally what she does when strangers try to catch her. Stand out of reach and bark at them to go away.

    Rakka's also run off during off-leash walks, but always finds me again, even if I'm in a completely different place. She once took off after a deer and didn't come back for 45 minutes (which up until that point, was the longest she'd ever disappeared). I looked for her until it got dark, then I went back to my car, which was on the other side of a 5 foot chain link fence (we had entered through a gate) and a few km away from the last time I saw her. My intention was to make a missing dog post online when she came trotting up to my car. She was soaking wet (the river was over 5 km away). She'd apparently run to the river and then come back and gotten over or around the fence to find me at my car.

    So back to our incident last week. I thought it would be business as usual, so I got in my car to cruise the neighbourhood, but an hour later, I still hadn't found them. Very unusual. Noah called to say that someone had picked up Sosuke and brought him home, but they hadn't seen another dog. Also very unusual. The only time they ever split up is if Sosuke comes back to me to tattle on Rakka for running too far away.

    So I called Animal Services. They'd never catch her in a million years, but they may have had some reports. Turns out, they had received several reports of dogs matching Rakka and Sosuke's description running loose on my block, and that one of them, a "husky" (=Rakka) had been struck by a car, then gotten up and bolted. Animal Services and a few people searched all over for her and couldn't find her. According to the reports, it happened about half an hour after they got loose, across the street from my house (but I was out somewhere looking for them, so I missed it).

    Noah and I took turns looking for her until Noah had to leave for work at 23:30. Around 3:00, I woke up to Rakka at the back door wanting to come in. Her foot was bleeding, but she seemed fine otherwise. After a trip to the vet, the diagnosis was: bruised elbow, bruised lungs, some road rash, broken nails, and a torn foot pad.

    I had also posted on a local Facebook group that there was a missing dog and received a few more witness accounts. From what I can piece together, as soon as Rakka was hit by the car, she ran as fast as she could out of town and into the coulees by the highway. Sosuke followed her, but he's not the wanderer, he's the tattler. So as soon as a car slowed down, he ran up to it and hopped right in, happy to be rescued. Rakka, on the other hand, ran away from the rescuers and spent half the night in the coulees before finally coming home.

    My conclusions:

    -Rakka is a boomerang dog. She wanders far, but always finds her way back
    -She will not be caught by strangers, and in fact, it's better if no one other than her owners try to catch her
    -She bolts when hurt or scared. In this case, I think it was the combo of being hit by a car and having strangers chasing her
    -It's always best to have someone waiting at home when looking for her when she's lost.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
    Post edited by Heidi at 2016-02-06 12:03:52
  • I'm glad to hear that it all came out well. One of my Border Collies lost a leg from getting out, and trying to herd a car, and your story made me fear something like that was coming.
  • This reminds me a bit of when Sage used to bolt- Sage's mother was a Kai, but his mystery dad must have had heavy notes of Rottweiler. As a very sensitive dog, I sometimes would not be able to perceive things that would cause him to bolt when in his youth I used to take him off leash hiking. We'd be going along together - me, him and Reilly- and then he'd be gone and not recalling and I'd wander in the forest calling him and trying not to cry. (big baby!) Reilly saw nothing wrong at any point in this and would still be right with me.

    Tactics that worked with normal dogs- such as just staying where you are till they come back from a rabbit chase which works great with Reilly, Juno or Matsu, did not work with him. High fear was the different ingredient- he was scared, not hunting. The good news is that when I walked back to the car, he would be right there waiting for me. The bad news is that since I could not predict when he would freak out, nor know what what happening to him nor whom he might run into when he was off leash and out of sight and scared, I had to end off leash work with him entirely. (Even though I thought so at the time, it's not REALLY bad news- having a dog on leash is safe and still a good time if you act the same way- curious and together. I leash my Kai even in our woods every spring during baby porcupine season, and for all of our hiking on formal trails anytime, and they don't resent being leashed.)

    Having Sage on leash always has allowed me to more closely observe him, and one thing I have discovered is that he takes the scent markings of coyotes dead seriously, and will turn away without question if he smells them. It may be that something as unknowable and subtle as a warning scent that can powerfully impact a sensitive dog, or one with a previous strong negative experience with that thing, and without confidence from their owner a dog can make up their mind "Nuh-uh, nothing can make me follow you there."
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    Tojo (shiba) often got tired of walks in the middle and would run back to the car and wait for me. That was laziness, though.

    I also leash my dogs if we're on a trail, or basically any time I think we might see anyone or anything else that might cause trouble. Some wild animals getting chased doesn't bother me too much. Actually, the 45 minutes after the deer was the longest time away by a long shot. She's gone after deer before and come back in ten minutes or less.

    My dogs have each been quilled and learned their lesson. In fact, when Sosuke was learning his lesson, Rakka stood there and watched him, giving me glances (I didn't know he was about to get quilled, of course, just that he was sniffing around in a bush). Then he came back with his tail between his legs so I could pull the two quills out. Not to bad, in the end.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 125
    I'm 100% certain that if katsu ever ran away, he would go find the nearest field and live in it, Hunt squirrels for all of his life from there on.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1865
    Again - I've got to say how scary that feeling is. My brother's dog, Joseph, ran off one night during a hurricane. We spent the whole night looking for him and found nothing. We walked and drove and covered an area we thought was reasonable (7 mile diameter) and then rechecked spots we knew he liked over and over, all night, until 2am when we really had to turn back.

    He broke into someone's house 3 blocks away and stayed overnight. It was a Saturday night, so we didn't hear from the AC until Sunday when they came in to check on the kennel.

    Back to Shikoku and how they act when they get off... and to go with one of your points (owners should really be responsible for grabbing...)
    TK's never run off, but he did get ejected from my Jeep one morning when I avoided a car accident. I had put the window down for him because he sits nicely in the front seat and just likes to sniff out it every once in a while or rest his head on the lip of the door.

    Well, he got ejected, I freaked out, threw on the brakes, and jumped out of the car - and all of the people involved in the accident immediately stopped what they were doing to try and "help" me catch my dog - which made it so much worse than it should have been.

    Spooked by what just happened and even more spooked by all these hands coming at him, he couldn't calm down and they drove him further and further from the road until I could say anything to everyone (like, "STOP, I'll get him! THANKS.")

    As soon as it was just me, he came back to me after I switched his commands from "come" to "sit" (something less-stress at the time) and then had him follow up with a touch (which is a command he really likes.)

    I don't think TK would ever really run off on me... but I think my Kishu might, if they had reason... and I think they'd be like Rakka in some regards (meet up with me later), but I'm also worried they'd go home with any old person who found them... or end up HBC. :\
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • Sosuke was a good Kai-guy in this episode, I need to say. Much has been written in these pages about Kai dogs on the lam, but I think the caution and judgement of "oh that breed is spooky!" needs not to be limited to Kai.
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    I agree, Sosuke's behaviour definitely doesn't fit in with the "spooky kai" thing. He also came to me for help when he got quilled, which is not spooky.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
  • emi802emi802
    Posts: 296
    @Crispy Re: Kishu ladies. If I were more of a jerk, I'd probably take them home if I ran into them on the street. :P

    That happens a lot in my apartment-mate's family's neighborhood. Their family dog is relatively untrained and gets out a lot. There're two families in the neighborhood that always try to steal him......

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