Will I ever be able to let my rescue lurcher off lead?

(20 Posts)
ScrumpyBetty Fri 08-Apr-16 16:05:22

I have just read the zombie thread that was weirdly resurrected about the lady whose lurcher kills a cat on an off lead walk.

This has filled me with horror! We have a rescue lurcher, she is fab and we've had her less than 6 months, but she has a strong prey drive and is very interested in cats and small furries! She is walked only on the lead, and we walk her twice a day usually 45-60 mins each walk. Is this enough exercise? I know I need to work on recall with her, but as the other thread highlighted, a dog can have excellent recall and then this could be over-ridden when a small furry pops up in front of them and their prey drive kicks in.

Those of you with greys/ lurchers- how did you know when they were ready to let off lead? I'm guessing that when the time does come, she will always have to be muzzled off lead in any case.

CMOTDibbler Fri 08-Apr-16 16:24:00

I worked on recall a lot in safe areas (either enclosed or with only one exit area), and then in places with lots of trees (so squirrels go straight up, rabbits into cover quickly) or very open. Neither of mine have a strong prey drive so they aren't muzzled, but plenty of people do just in case.

Sounds like your girl is getting plenty of exercise, but do you do some training with her as well? Its good mentally for them if they aren't going off lead.

There are some sighthound playgroups who hire out an enclosed space for the dogs to run free together in which they love

mollie123 Fri 08-Apr-16 17:23:40

would agree about working on the recall and doing fervent 'cat checks' when out on a walk as even on the lead they can pull and get loose.
An enclosed space where she can run would be ideal - they so love to run and it is a delight to behold when they are in full flight.smile
the biggest problem I had with my 'lurch' was when cats came into 'his garden' and were too old to make an escape.

TrionicLettuce Fri 08-Apr-16 17:47:52

Have a look on this FB page, they have lists of secure fields all over the country that are available to rent by dog owners.

ScrumpyBetty Fri 08-Apr-16 18:32:53

Thanks trionoc that's great, I'll have a look

CMOT- yes, I try and do mental stimulation by using different Kongs with food treats in, and I'm doing basic training, working on recall, sit and stay....is there anything else you could recommend?

Thanks for the replies.

ScrumpyBetty Fri 08-Apr-16 18:33:47

Sorry trionic for getting your name wrong!

TrionicLettuce Fri 08-Apr-16 20:16:26

101 things to do with a box is great for getting their brains working. My lot love it and it's fantastic watching them trying to come up with new things they can do grin

ScrumpyBetty Fri 08-Apr-16 21:01:35

Fab trionic -I've just made contact with the owners of a secure field near me. We're going to try it out next week! I'm excited. Can't wait to see my girl have a good sprint about! Thanks, I didn't even know there was such a thing!

CMOTDibbler Fri 08-Apr-16 21:47:46

I hope she has a lovely time doing zoomies smile.

Mine enjoy retrieving (one very well, the other gets it but then does victory laps) , learning little tricks like high 5/twirl, 'go find' where they are asked to find someone or something in the house, anything to use their very few brain cells.

TrionicLettuce Fri 08-Apr-16 22:54:25

Chucking treats about in long grass or otherwise interesting out on walks is another one mine really enjoy and can be done on lead. One of my favourites is putting treats into the nooks and crannies of a dry stone wall for them to sniff out.

You could look into scentwork as well, Talking Dogs run some very highly recommended classes. If they don't do any near you they also sell manuals, DVDs and various bits of kit so you can train it yourself at home.

CommunistLegoBloc Fri 08-Apr-16 23:39:28

I've got a rescue lurcher who somehow has absolutely perfect recall - if he's overexcited he seems to calm himself down by making himself lie at my feet when I call him. My jaw dropped the first time I let him off in a secure field - I was anticipating some sort of SWAT-style recapture. However he's never seen something (dog, cat, squirrel) off-lead that really tests his recall so I'm too scared to let him off anywhere public. blush

Scuttlebutter Sat 09-Apr-16 00:13:02

Beaches are usually good too for zoomies - very rare to see cats on beaches grin

Like others, we use a variety of secure environments. Work on recall, and we now let off lead regularly (but with one of the four muzzled) in a safe environment - local NT property with gorgeous grounds. High wall round it, and plenty of trees. I've never seen a cat there but plenty of squirrels and rabbits to add to the excitement!

TBH, that thread showcased what I'd think of as a very rare incident. It's sensible to walk your dog on lead and muzzled when in a residential area (lots of cats about) but if you are in a highly rural area, then the risk is obviously much lower.

mollie123 Sat 09-Apr-16 08:08:52

The problem with lurchers (and greys) is that they may have perfect recall 99% of the time (mine certainly has) but the 1% of the time if a small furry especially a cat hoves into view they will go deaf and you can only hope the cat will escape smile

MaynJune Sat 09-Apr-16 10:20:32

Agree with mollie123. I'm too scared of them dashing in front of a car to let them off. They can jump high fences too.
Luckily I can take them to the beach reasonably often. It's very quiet and the tide goes out really far, so they have a good sprint there.
Mine have been very content on the amount of walking you're doing, but they were middle-aged when I got them.
Hope the secure field really is secure. It's great to be able to let them off without worrying.

mollie123 Sat 09-Apr-16 10:46:26

maynjune - YY the beach is perfect as they love the slight softness of the sand and can run to their hearts content, attack bits of seaweed and never spot a cat smile

Perdyboo Sun 10-Apr-16 23:22:11

Good luck OP - the fields sound great - we had a beautiful grey until recently (sad) who we could never walk off the lead in public - if their prey drives are very high our experience was all the training in the world and success in some situations would not change the zone out and physical urge to chase the cat/small creature...we are in quite a rural area and just didn't take the risk in unsecured areas. Even as our boy got older, he really could shift when we did let him run and he would peer at bins blowing in the wind, folk pulling a shopping trolley in case it would be worth pursuing. Shame, because watching him run was lovely but he did cop a total deaf one and only came back when he was ready!!!

ScrumpyBetty Mon 11-Apr-16 19:29:28

Yes to be honest I don't think I would ever want to let her off lead in a residential area as the risk of her shooting off at the sight of a cat would be too high.

I'm hoping we can let her off in more rural areas in the distant future but at the moment she is also quite reactive and almost aggressive to some dogs that she meets....so maybe not.

ScrumpyBetty Mon 11-Apr-16 19:30:08

I would love to live close to a beach!

Wolpertinger Mon 11-Apr-16 19:38:30

My parents would let their lurcher off the lead but only in cat free environments like the local common. And even then if she saw a rabbit she could be gone.

Eventually she learnt where the car was parked and would turn up eventually but sometimes my dad could be sat there a loooong time. And once she turned up with a lot of skin hanging off shock

As you can see my dad had a pretty laid back approach but honestly I think it depends what your non-greyhound bit is and his was greyhound/saluki - she loved him totally but her brain was pretty much mush when it came to trainability grin

Dogwalks2 Wed 13-Apr-16 14:49:57

Walking in woods would be ideal for your dog, always have a treat for returning. I wouldn't worry about mixing with other dogs once you can trust her off the lead I find dogs are more sociable if they are off the lead rather than on it.

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