When should I let my puppy off the lead??

(14 Posts)
Stopfighting Wed 15-Oct-08 22:06:04

My lab puppy is nearly 15 weeks old, and usually comes when I call her when we are in the (large) garden.

I feel that I probably should start to let her off the lead in the park, but I'm SCARED.

Dog owners, can you tell me when you started, and what your experiences were?? smile

TIA

hollyandnoah Wed 15-Oct-08 22:31:59

I only let mines off in fields or on this nature walk near my house. I'd never be brave enough to let them off anywhere else! They are 9 months, 4 years and 5 years.
First time i let the youngets off away down an old farm road, she ran all the way back to my mums house, out of the old fields and up the street.

I would say before 5 months old, as this is when they are most dependent on you, they start to get more independent after 5 months. Our puppy was walking off lead by 4 months and has always been fine adn never wanders more than 15 feet awaay from us. He is now 13 months.

HTH, please do it.

forgot to metion make sure she knows her name 100% before you let her off!

ssummers Thu 16-Oct-08 21:11:30

As soon as they know their name. i let mine off a week after he had his jabs.

In my experience they wont let you out of their site when they are little - so this is the best time - as they get older and more confident - if you havent let them off before and taught them recall - this is when you have problems.

JamInMyWellies Thu 16-Oct-08 21:15:16

Use treats as a way to get the puppy to return to you. Practise in the garden by calling the puppy to you. Give the puppy a treat and masses of praise every time the puppy returns. Once you feel confident doing this start doing it in safe areas of larger land make sure you are not near a road preferably an empty field or fenced in area.

tink123 Sat 18-Oct-08 18:44:11

if you wait it may be harder. I just did it when our dog was about 4 months old, and his recall is brill.

everlong Sat 18-Oct-08 19:50:08

As Jam says start straight away in the house/garden calling him to you in a sing song voice and when he comes give him a tiny treat and make the biggest fuss of him.

I would not let him off straight away when you are in the park, field etc. but have him on a long lead, let him wander then call him and when he comes give him the treat.

When you are confident that he's listening to you and he understands let him off, then call him back. Even now my dog is 5 I still call her back every now and then just to make sure she knows who's boss.

Also take different treats out with you for this exercise, like cheese, ham etc. something special and smelly.

Keep on and it will fall into place.

HRHSaintMamazon Sat 18-Oct-08 19:52:02

not until you are absolutly certain that he will come back the instant he is called.

WorzselMummage Sun 19-Oct-08 19:38:36

We let out put off first walk, he was 13 weeks i think and we've never had a problem with recall. I was told its best to do it immediatly as while they are tiny babies they need to be near you so you let them off, they follow you around and it just becomes habit. When he was getting older i used take a few bits of cheese or a bicci and occasionally i'd call him back and gove him a bit just to reinforce it, he's 2 now and has never not come back. He's a Lab too.

Do it as soon as he has had his jabs. Because when they are small, they rely on you and therefore will stay close. Then you can start training recall, using tasty morsels (cheese always works)
That way, by the time your pup is older and more confident, recall is well and truly trained and you should have no problems.
Another trick I was tought when training my pup was to hide behind a tree when pup is not looking. That way he will learn to 'keep an eye on you' and thus will not stray too far. After all, a walk off-lead should be a pleasant experience adn this works best if you both look out for each other smile
(but you do feel really daft hiding behind a tree watching pup who - if anything like mine- is completely oblivious to the fact you are hiding! grin)

Stopfighting Tue 21-Oct-08 22:59:41

Thanks for the replies!

Well, I did it!

Went to a big, open park, let her off and she was fine. She kept quite close. I kept calling her back and rewarding her every few minutes.

Will try the hiding thing next time grin

Olihan Tue 21-Oct-08 23:12:36

This is a well timed thread! My lab puppy is 11 weeks and only started going for walks at the weekend. I took her to a field today and let her off the lead but didn't know if I should have done or not!

She did, as you've all said, stay really close and kept looking for me so I'm glad that's a good thing to do interms of training. I will try the ham and cheese idea next time as I suspect she will get braver each time. (Is that right?)

I did have a slight moment of panic when a rabbit shot out in front of us but luckily she didn't seem to notice it grin.

JamInMyWellies Wed 22-Oct-08 20:07:23

Just wanted to add after my previous post. My dog has been returning to me v v well after doing all of the recommended training.

But today he saw a rabbit and was off like a shot no amount of calling him back worked I had to chase him round the field for a good 10mins I am 34wks pregnant so not the best situation to be in he did catch the rabbit but thankfully just seemed happy to hold in his paws.

So please do be careful when letting them off their leads.

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