Have you ever heard of it?? A friend has made a few comments about my puppy raising techniques, mainly that I need to give Remi some time off the leash so that he doesn't learn to be dependent on it. Their reasoning behind this being that Remi will be "overwhelmed" once he's allowed off leash. Never heard of it so I thought I'd bring it to you veteran owners and see what you say.
If you want to let a puppy off leash in the future, the biggest mistake you can do is wait. My dogs have been off leash (in safe areas, of course) from they day that they have been allowed out. A young puppy naturally won't want to stray far from you. In fact, every pup we have had will cling right next to your heels for the first few weeks. It is only when they mature and start growing in confidence that they begin to wonder. Obviously that is where the recall comes into play but in theory, if you have been practicing from day 1, the recall shouldn't totally fall upon deaf ears. Then you move beyond the basic recall without distractions to practicing it with distraction's -- THAT is the hard part that takes many dogs and even the best of handlers years to perfect.
Thanks for the replies. I had been working with Remi off leash in our yard for short periods of time up until a few weeks ago when he saw a squirrel and made a mad dash. My heart was in my throat! Since then I've been so afraid to let him have even the slightest freedom. He's doing very well with training, we've got sit, down, come and stay down pretty well. It's like you said, getting the recall with distractions that we haven't mastered yet...but he's only 5 months old. Thanks again!
The key is finding a place where he can be safely let off leash. A fenced area where even if he runs off and does'nt listen - he can't get into a street or too far away.
Fully fenced dog parks, or a fenced back yard (yours or a friend's) is really the best place for this.
With my fosters or dog I "dogsit" i always go to the dog park farther away from me. it's fully fenced. So it's a good place for me to see how they are offleash without worry (I only let them go if there are few or no dogs to also work on intro to other dogs safely - but over the years I've learned when that is, if there are too many people I just keep walking).