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the off leash thing
Old 01-23-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
Alcibides
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the off leash thing

So is it just never safe to have your Hav off leash walking beside you, for example in the woods or down a country road? And if it is safe, how do you know your Hav is ready to participate without bolting into the woods? And if it's something you have to train your dog to do, how and when do you do that? I believe Lucky will come when we call him (we've been coming through with a treat each time he gets that right), but if a squirrel beckoned in another direction, which would we choose? Guidance and experience will be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
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So is it just never safe to have your Hav off leash walking beside you, for example in the woods or down a country road? And if it is safe, how do you know your Hav is ready to participate without bolting into the woods? And if it's something you have to train your dog to do, how and when do you do that? I believe Lucky will come when we call him (we've been coming through with a treat each time he gets that right), but if a squirrel beckoned in another direction, which would we choose? Guidance and experience will be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
you have some good questions. Certainly there is a lot that you have to judge for yourself ,but you have to start small and start safe. If you ever are in doubt , err on the side of safety. This is not learned overnight by any means. I recommend reading and practising some of the steps in this article on recall. Offleash safety is all about reliable recalls. Here is the article. It has two sections which are sometimes finicky because of the web site. I mentioned it to Casey the author and her hands are tied. If you have trouble finding parts let me know. http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/rec...etting-started

Weeks three and four http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/rec...aining-stage-3
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:15 PM   #3
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You'll know when he's reliable. Until then, he's probably not. Posh, and the older ones can go anywhere with us off leash. The younger ones aren't ready yet.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:39 PM   #4
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It also depends on the personality of you hav. independent? clingy?

when I walk my guys off leash (lots of trails where I live), they always stay within eye line of me, and often look back to make sure I'm still there. One reason why I don't walk them more offleash is I am very allergic to poison oak. I've only had it twice, once as a kid, and then about 10 yrs ago, and it was BAD... 8 weeks of looking like a leper, with literally just a lick of mud my dog flicked on my bicep, I had the rash all up and down my arm (weepy the whole nine yds). Even though the trail is cut back, it's hard to know what the dogs actually touch.

sorry I digress, I will say, one time my big girl, went running off with a pack of dogs playing. she ended up down the hill, and she actually was circling my car. but unfortunately that day the parking lot was full and I was parked on the street. two nice men, led her by the collar back onto the trails of the dog park (at the time she was 100 lbs) so kudos to them for haviing the balls to approach her.

Dave's right though, start small. I know some trainers use a long lung line (20 ft) to teach come.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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My personal guidelines for letting Kodi off leash are that even though he's very reliable, he's never off leash near a road. Even a quiet country road isn't safe. In fact, they can be the LEAST safe, because drivers aren't looking for a small dog in the street, and conversely, you and the dog are both lured into a false sense of complacency. Every dog is still a dog, and I just won't take even the slightest chance that he would bolt after a squirrel and in front of an oncoming car. even in the woods, I always call him back to me and put him back on leash long before we get close to the road or parking lot.

In the woods, I really don't worry about squirrels. They go up the closest tree and the dog stops at the bottom. I actually don't even try to stop Kodi from investigating squirrels and chipmunks. That's what he's off-lead for, is to enjoy being a dog!

When he was younger and I was first allowing him to be loose, I left a drag line on him. This was just a light weight leash or rope that I could step on and stop him, even if he wasn't listening. I don't think I ever had to use it, but it was a bit of an insurance policy. You never want a dog to learn that they can play "keep away".

But as Dave said, the biggest thing was just really, REALLY working on that reliable recall, so I could be sure he'd come back to me when I asked.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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I agree with krandall. I never let mine off the leash anywhere near a road! However on trails they are off leash sometimes. My Westie has never been a runner/bolter, so I trusted him off leash. The first time with Sawyer, I figured he would always stick with my Westie (who always comes when called). The first time on a trail with Sawyer off leash I was prepared to have to put him back on the leash at any time, but he did amazing! He stayed either right by my side or right in step behind me. He went up occasionally to check up on my Westie who was a ways ahead (still within sight), but he always came running back to check if I was still there. Once I actually thought I lost him because I couldn't see him. Turns out he was directly behind me
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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I agree with krandall. I never let mine off the leash anywhere near a road! However on trails they are off leash sometimes. My Westie has never been a runner/bolter, so I trusted him off leash. The first time with Sawyer, I figured he would always stick with my Westie (who always comes when called). The first time on a trail with Sawyer off leash I was prepared to have to put him back on the leash at any time, but he did amazing! He stayed either right by my side or right in step behind me. He went up occasionally to check up on my Westie who was a ways ahead (still within sight), but he always came running back to check if I was still there. Once I actually thought I lost him because I couldn't see him. Turns out he was directly behind me
I had exactly the same experience with Kodi, even as a very young puppy. He was either glued to my side, or if we were walking with my friend and her welltrained GSD, he took his cues from the older dog. With Nuddy with him, he'd venture away from me, but never too far, and never out of sight. And because Buddy had a fabulous recall, it just reinforced the recall work we continually did with him.

The ONLY trouble I had with him off leash when he was very young was avoiding puddles. Since he is not vaccinate against Lepto, (and I don't want him to be!) it is even more important that I not allow him to drink out of standing water in the wood, though this is just good practice for ALL dogs. Now that he has a good "leave it!", this isn't such an issue, but when he was younger, I had to be alert for standing water and call him back to me before he got to the puddles!
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:22 PM   #8
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yep I agree, if there's any chance of a car suddenly appearing ,we don't do offleash.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #9
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My guys have been walking off leash since I got them as pups. I only walk them off leash in places that are safe. That means, no wild animals that could attack them, no cars, and no mean dogs. When we walk off leash, I always have a leash in my hand. If I see a dog approaching that we don't know, they get leashed.
My guys have always stuck to me like glue. They are not the type to roam or take off. They will chase an animal on our hike until I tell them to stop.
If you are in doubt, better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:18 AM   #10
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This is going to sound irresponsible, but my house is on a a very quiet street (like one or two cars a day) and the park is right behind my house, so today, since it was raining so there would be no cats, I walked him offleash to the park and back, but he has a really great recall. Plus he was walking in a heel position (we where practicing)
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