The exception is whenever he sees a running cat. I've learned from painful experience that I am better off letting go of the leash. After all, he comes right back to me.
Until he didn't.
We were out walking pre-dawn when he saw a cat. The cat ran over the wall of the last house on the street. Bogie hightailed it around the wall to catch the cat behind the grocery store. I raced to catch up with him. He was near the end of the parking area, but was tearing back to me.
Then he swerved and took the driveway to the front of the grocery store. As I turned the corner, I saw him clear at the other end of the parking lot disappearing from sight.
He eventually came back to me. Sans collar and leash. But I was freaked out. What if he had taken off down the street? What if he had gotten lost?
Someone suggested a shock collar. I ordered one with 100 levels of vibrate and 100 levels of shock. I set the collar on vibrate 65.
The collar had a remote, but it slept after only 2 minutes. For two weeks, I put the collar on him and carried the remote in my free hand, checking the remote frequently, waking it up periodically so it would be ready if the situation arose.
And for two weeks, we saw no cats.
Finally one morning, he saw a cat and took off. I pressed the remote. He didn't seem to react. And he didn't stop. He chased the cat until it disappeared over a wall.
I think the collar worked, Before coming back to me, Bogie stood and stared at me. Like he was saying, why did you do that?
Yesterday, we were out walking. Something piqued his prey drive and Bogie took off. I pinwheeled, trying to get my footing, and let go of the leash.
"No!" I yelled. "Dammit, No!'
And he stopped. In mid-stride. Just stopped.
He stopped so fast that the leash spiraled around his legs. He was only about 8 feet away, but he came back to my side.
Maybe that one session with the shock collar was enough to make him realize that I didn't like it when he ran off.
Maybe the light bulb finally went off in his head.
I hope so.