Letting off the lead
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Thread: Letting off the lead

  1. #1
    Erendui's Avatar
    Erendui is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultLetting off the lead

    I've been letting Bilbo off the lead for weeks now as he has always had really good recall. He's just gone over 4 and a half months, and on the road to adolescence. I've read here and there that the recall can be poor during this time and keeping them on the lead is a must.

    I'm scared that he won't get the same level of exercise as my back garden is only small, and he is used to running about on the big field near me. There is a safe area I can take him to to run around on, but it is a big 'dog walking' area and he's already easily distracted by other dogs when he sees them. Should I just not take him off the lead (will be miserable for the both of us, as he pulls like a trooper and is getting strong, my hand really aches by the end of a walk, even though he's only usually on lead for about 15 mins maximum!), or should I make sure he is in a big open area where he can run free but we can keep an eye on him?

    Or... should I keep doing what I'm doing and adapt based on how 'independent' he is becoming?

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Unless you have a secure area to allow him off leash and to teach and reinforce recall he should not be off leash. It only takes a second for an accident to happen and a puppy his age has a very short attention span. Maxx is 17 months old and I have just begun to completely trust his recall and feel confident that he will sit and stay when told, no matter what. I would never have trusted him at your puppy's age to come EVERY time and to have had the attention span necessary for this.
    Tammy
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    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    Erendui is offline Senior Member
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    Well where we walk him there are no roads nearby and he never leaves our sides... he sits about 99% of the time when told, the only exception is when he's desperate to get out of the car. I'm more concerned about how his personality will change when he's an adolescent, whether his recall will drop off.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Every dog is different but the teenage period can be a challenge. I still would not put much stock in the recall of a four month old puppy. It only takes one running cat or an unleashed, aggressive dog for really bad things to happen. JMO...
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    So do you think this big field will be ok to let him off the lead if we keep him close and distract him with a ball, then put him on the lead when there are other people and dogs? I don't want him to lose his freedom completely, but like I said my garden is small

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Personally I would be afraid of an unsecured space at that age. Have you considered getting a 15 or 20 foot lead for unsecured areas? It would give him room to run and get rid of his energy but still allow you to control the situation. It is not necessary to hold on to the lead as long as you stay close enough to step on it in the event it becomes necessary. This worked very well for Maxx.
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    My lead is a very short one to help with the heeling situation. I've heard mixed reviews about longer leads in that dogs can get tangled, and what I've observed with Bilbo & other dogs, he doesn't greet, he jumps all over them, growls or not... don't want him to get tangled up with another dog that wants to kill him :/

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    That would be why it is important that you stay close enough to step on the lead and reel him in when necessary. It allows the dog freedom with a safety factor. I have never had an issue with Maxx getting tangled up.
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    Ok, will try it and let you know! I'm at my grandparent's this weekend and Bilbo is with my bf's mum (my grandma has decided she hates dogs, so he's not welcome around there...but she does have dementia so I'll let her off!). I'll have to do it after the weekend

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    DJsMOM is offline Member
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    We are teaching DJ 'watch'. Basically, you start at home with a treat on your open palm (distraction) & each time he noses toward it, you close your hand & say 'Watch', at the same time blow gently in his face & he will look at you. Then you reward the 'watch' with the treat. Eventually he will not look at the distraction, he will look at you because that gets the reward.
    When he had the hang of it, we made the kids run up & down past him on the lead. Each time he went to chase them, I said 'watch' to get his attention on me & rewarded each 'watch' with a treat. He was soon ignoring the kids & only looking to me.
    Next step was to use 'watch' & treat each time a person walked by in the street, he usually wants to greet them i.e. jump, lick, paw print!
    Still a work in progress, but now we are using it in the park & putting ourselves in the situation where there are dogs, joggers, squirrels & birds but still on a lead.
    DJ is 6 months & so far this is working great for us! The idea is that he wants to give you his attention when you ask for it & you can distract him from the other distractions.
    Oct12_019.jpg

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