A friend has a two-year-old chocolate Labrador, which enjoys agility lessons, but when the lessons end it refuses to come back to its owner. It often runs off with dead rabbits and seems to have no respect for its owner. Can anything be done at this late stage?

Agility is, unfortunately, one of those sports where dogs are allowed, in fact encouraged, to become excited. Though they do enjoy jumping and the freedom associated with it, this does nothing to improve obedience and discipline. This dog has learned that four legs are quicker than two and has no respect for its owner. Basic obedience should always be properly taught before putting dogs in exciting lead-free situations, whether in the agility ring or the shooting field. Continuing to allow this dog the freedom to disobey the recall will only make matters worse and his management must be changed to avoid any situation where he can get away.

Common sense must prevail and the dog should be removed from any environment where he can escape until he has been taught that a recall to the handler is the only way to gain a reward.