Walking the dog off the lead(17 Posts)
We have a 9 month old cockapoo girl who is a very good dog but I still won't let her off her lead when we go out.
My husband does, only where it is safe of course, and she's as good as gold and comes back when called - unless she sees another dog, squirrel or bird!
Most of the time she just runs around us, goes a little bit ahead or behind and is very good but it's that small time she gets too excited.
Sometimes she'll see another dog and have a play but then gets herself hyper and starts running off all over the place - and has ended up in a pond 3 times!
She's just turned 9 months so should I be letting her off by now, or should I give her a few more months to calm down a bit more?
If we do training, she's as good as gold and does whatever we ask, but it's the distractions when we're out and I just don't trust her enough yet.
We've tried a dog whistle and treats, but she'll only come back when she's ready if she's doing something more interesting! I've tried an extension lead but I couldn't get on with that at all.
Any suggestions please.
I was told that you should let them off the lead when they're very young as recall is much harder to teach when they're older. I did this as soon as our pup was allowed out.
The whistle and treat method worked for us. Make sure the treats are varied - something different every time the dog comes back.
It can be alarming when they get distracted but they do get there. We bought proper high pitched dog whistles on eBay.
Dogs need at least one good run off the lead a day - it's worth persevering.
Thanks for replying Benny.
Everything works when she's just walking along but as soon as she plays with another dog, she just ignores us.
I bought the whistle from Amazon and it's a breed specific one, but still the little monkey ignores it, until she's ready!
She does pay more attention to my husband but still ignores him at times.
She does get a walk off lead as my husband makes sure she does but when I walk her, I keep the lead on.
I know it's more my confidence problem but I'd hate anything to happen to her.
By extension, do you mean a flexi (bad things) or a long line (good)?
I would start practicing recall in the house and garden first. From other rooms, up/down the stairs. I'd be doing this many times a day over several weeks.
I would NOT let her off lead in the vicinity of distractions right now, as she simply doesn't have a recall. But I would be using a long line, and looking for big open spaces where distractions are relatively far away. You also want a treat that she won't get at any other time (think: sausages, bits of ham etc). It will take a good few months for most dogs.
Your husband, although well-meaning, needs to be a bit more careful. I have a fear aggressive Border Terrier who would kick off if a dog invaded her space (and I know yours is a happy soul, but this is still essentially what it is) - you wouldn't want that to happen with a larger dog, or with some fool who has zero control over their dog. You probably wouldn't want her to actually catch an animal either, as most dogs know exactly what to do with it!
Similar size and daftness of dog here. I find it goes in patches: if she ignores me, it's back on the long line again until she's got the message that Come means Come. (I must get a whistle - the kids reckon part of the problem is I'm inaudible from more than 3 feet away.)
DH thinks this is misguided and that she'll never learn to come back when truly off lead unless we give her that freedom. Must get someone more experienced to adjudicate some time.
I also regularly walk an elderly friend's fear-aggressive rescue dog. She looks OK until a strange dog gets close - then she turns into a snarling ball of teeth. And she's faster than pretty much anything else, and strong. When well-meaning strangers happily call, 'Don't worry, mine's friendly!', I have to yell back, 'This one's not! Call your dog back!'
Rescue Dog is quite fond of my own daft mutt, luckily, but after one attempt to let both off together for a run, I won't be doing that again. Daft Mutt spiralled madly round Rescue Dog and tangled them both hopelessly in the long line.
I second the idea of a long line, not an extending lead but a trailing line. I had my dog on one for many months until I felt confident that her recall was reliable - coming back when she feels like it or when not distracted is not reliable enough.
Keep practicing recall throughout the day at home and in the garden and always have her on the trailing lead when she would normally be off lead out doors. Practice recall with one person holding her and the other calling her. And treat, treat, treat for every time she gets it right.
She will be a bit difficult at this age but she has to learn that she can't just go anywhere or get over excited with other dogs, the long line gives you control over her when she does.
What works best for us is if we show our dogs the treats we have in our pocket before they are let off the lead.
A long line is your way forward. You say your dog has a good recall only when he chooses. You need to work on the recall. A good recall is when your dog comes back to you on demand, regardless of how many squirrels, birds or other dogs he is interested in.
Treat and praise everytime he comes back to you on demand.
We have a working cocker who is 6 months old.
Her recall is really good but we have been training her everyday. We got a book called total recall. It also advocates letting dogs off lead when they are very small. I realise it's a bit late to be telling you that, but I still think it's worth doing the training.
Training and proofing that training takes a while but is worth it. In the last few weeks we have been working more on her recall around dogs, by borrowing friends dogs. And she now recalls around dogs on walks. As she will be moving into the naughty teenager stage soon, we still work on recall everyday. She loves it.
You say you got a whistle, but what training are you doing?
"What's wrong with a flexi lead?"
Nothing, some people hate them, but they're like any other piece of equipment, used responsibly they're great. Though obviously not for the OP if she couldn't get on with one.
OP - you want the book total recall by pippa Mattinson.
Thanks for all your replies. I tried a flexi lead but I kept getting into a muddle with it and couldn't retract it quick enough! Her lead we have now is quite a long one anyway so I've stuck with that.
I've met a lady with what I presume is a training lead as it was so long but she had to keep reeling it in but it sounds like it could be a good idea for me to try.
When my husband takes her out, he is very careful and if he sees a dog ahead that we don't know, he does put her straight back on her lead.
I hope I haven't made her out to be worse than she actually is as most of the time she is an excellent little dog and will always come back for her treats, it's just the odd occasion when another dog is more interesting!
I think it's more about my confidence as I'm sure the dog can sense your feelings, so she probably picks up on it.
I'm going to have a look into training leads now and see how we go, although we get into enough muddle playing with other dogs on her lead getting tangled up, so it will be interesting with and even longer lead!
Thanks again for all your help.
We have this 10 metre one. An even longer lead might be better, but this is lightweight and doesn't seem to bother the dog at all. I let it go altogether when playing in the field and it whips along behind the dog like a cartoon speed line.
I did have a 50-foot flat webbing line, but the dog ate it.
If you call the dog frequently, there will be a loop of the lead fairly near your foot for a quick stomp if it decides to ignore you.
Our Goldie is the same, although when he turns 1 next month I'm sure he will become instantly well behaved overnight!!
I feel bad not letting him off the lead but our trainer said that we are doing it to keep him safe not to spoil his fun so that's how I am looking at it
Another vote for letting them off in a safe place as soon as they go out. Rescue girl has superb recall and as the poodle pup copied her a lot he recalled swiftly from the start (not helpful to you at this stage, sorry). We do have high value treats in our pockets (homemade sardine oatcakes are cheap and work a treat!) , sometimes just recalling to give them a treat. Work on it, it will come. Good luck!
Bit of a different situation, but I walk someone else's dog regularly. I use a long lead as I know he sometimes ignores me, he is overly attracted to water (can they always get out or might he actually drown?!) and he sometimes growls when we meet other dogs. Do you think an extending lead is a good idea for me? I know his owners just let him off.
Sorry, I mean I use an extending lead. Is it a good idea?
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