Off leash trust

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 2:23pm PST 
It's pouring rain here and besides being bored, I'm taking a break from chores and thought about posing a question, for fun.

I took Moose to the off leash beach for the first time when he was 5 months old. He'd never been off leash before and I don't know what possessed me to think he would stay near me and not just take off, but I set him loose and he never, ever wandered. I never worked on off leash with him. I just set him free that one time at the beach and never looked back. I kind of figured he was so enamored with other dogs that that would trump any wandering he'd do.

I noticed yesterday and today at the beach, he won't allow much distance between us.
Yesterday one of his bff's showed up and he went nuts with excitement. We were walking down the beach with a group, going in the opposite direction as his bff and I noticed Moose was really torn with what he was supposed to do. He wanted to stay and play, but I didn't and the group I was with moved on.
Moose hung out with his bff for a little bit as I continued to walk away and when he noticed I was about 50 yards away, he came running.
Today we walked a lot at the beach, by ourselves, (not many dogs there since it was pouring rain) and he really wouldn't let more than 20 yards seperate us.
Two or three times we walked in an area that if he got ahead of me, a small hill would block his view of me until I caught up. Each time he'd run ahead, be out of sight for 5-10 seconds then come bounding back to make sure I was coming.

Now, there's no way I'd let him off leash in my neighborhood. He has zero concept of cars and if he were off leash, he'd criss cross the street going up to every single house hoping someone would be out to say hi to, so that I've got to work on.

I'm so pleased with his sticking close at the beach, but it got me thinking-- How many of you have/had dogs that automatically stay within a reasonable distance?
Did you find it easier with a puppy? Or did it matter puppy vs adult rescue?
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 2:31pm PST 
I have a rescued Australian Shepherd. I got her as an adult and I can totally trust her off leash. She's also relatively street smart (she grew up on a farm). I do not intentionally let her loose in my neighborhood, but she is capable of jumping the fence in my yard and at the dog park. She ALWAYS comes back and has never crossed the street. I don't know what kind of training her former owners put into her, or how much of this is her breed, but it's pretty awesome. Now, Sarah cannot be trusted off leash. And the two of them off leash together are TROUBLE! They run together. They will come back eventually, but not like Lizzie when it's just her...
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 2:44pm PST 
Almost every lab I ever owned was 100% off leash, EXCEPT for two girls. IF they were together, they took off for parts unknown and would not come back. If either one was with another group of dogs and not the other one, they would stay right with me and never even think of running off, OR if either was alone with me they were fine, too.
My poodles have always stuck with me, the labs did with the above exception, and the Cresteds run off farther than I like but will come back when called.
BUT... I have NEVER had a Frenchie who did not run away! They would start walking and NEVER check back at all, and would also forget where they were as well as suddenly become completely deaf, so I would have to track them down, leash them up and bring them home.


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 3:18pm PST 
I've always started off lead work from the very first walk. Missy was about 11 weeks old and TINY and Ty was 13 weeks old. At that age they naturally want to stick close so it does work to your advantage to start recall training from a young age.

We very, very rarely do lead walks as all the places we walk are off lead. Still, i would never have them walking off lead along the path or roads around my village and i wouldn't consider they have a perfect recall either, i don't believe any dog has a 100% recall to be honest. But i don't require perfection. Missy to be fair is pretty brilliant off lead but Ty is just ok really. Tends to do his own thing. If i hadn't started him off lead as a young pup and had got him as an adult later on i doubt he'd be off lead much. It's only because i know him well and have a trusting relationship with him to know he'll come back, that he's walked off lead.

Edited by author Sun Dec 23, '12 3:29pm PST


Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 4:45pm PST 
All of my dogs are reliable off-leash.

Oz, the beagle obviously took a little while to train, and at that I'd say he's about only 80% reliable. Now I don't quite remember how often we worked off-lead reliability and recall when he was younger. I believe we only really started taking him out to the woods on a regular basis after we got Cobain. So once he was about 3.

Cobain has always been perfect for me. No real specific training involved with it, aside from the recall training. Once let off-leash in the woods, he is not always visible to me, but I am always visible to him. He keeps his eyes on me at all time. I can totally lose sight of him, but one call of his name and sure enough his head will pop up and he will be visible.

Rigby was by biggest surprise. We were told that because she was a stray and difficult to capture initially, that she would never be reliable off leash.
I took a leap of faith with her. Just half an hour of being in my home, just half an hour of having a brand new name (not relating to her old "Jorja" at all). Loaded my pockets up with treats and the 3 of us set off to the woods.
I let her off the leash once we got well away from the road.
She stayed close the entire time.
Maybe not the smartest of moves, but it worked.
To this day she still stays close and checks back frequently to ensure I'm still there.
I knew there was something special about her then, and it's even more solidified now.
Miyu CGC

Bow down to the- Princess Brat!
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 5:01pm PST 
I wouldn't say Miyu is 100% reliable off leash, but she's a helluva lot more reliable than I would have thought, given that she's really never had any off leash work. I think breed makes a big difference. She just wants to stay close to us. Now that I know she can be really awesome off leash, I plan to really work on that so that she CAN be off leash and we can really enjoy ourselves at the park.
Kashmir- ♥ CGC

Boxer Beach Bum
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 8:08pm PST 
Kashmir is really reliable offleash. I can trust her at the park when she plays with my friends dogs, hangs out at the beach, and when i take the trash out. When she was younger she was a terror and would chase anything that moved, especially the horses at 4h training red face. Once she was about 3 i really started trusting her more and now that she is 6, she is really good.

Now Zoe on the other hand is turning 10 on the 31st and has never been off leash reliable. Ever since she was younger she would run and not even turn back to see if we were still here. My mom took her to the beach one time when there was nobody around and almost lost her. Another time she accidentally got loose when we were camping and ended up in the lake big laugh We always keep her on a leash or a long line.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 9:36pm PST 
That's pretty funny about Frenchies Toto! laugh out loud I would have guessed they would stick close.

There's a little nature preserve where I take Gus that I feel safe letting her loose--some tall grass and nice wide grassy walkways. She'll sprint ahead maybe 50 yards on the path, then come dashing back or go off on a side trail in the grass a little ways and come back. She always keeps tabs on me.

I've observed the same thing, Moose--as long as I'm walking along and continuing on the path as if I'm headed somewhere, she does a greeting with dogs we encounter coming the opposite way, but almost never takes an interest in playing like she would at the park. It seems like in that situation, dogs in both parties tend to want to go along with their owners like they're on some errand or adventure.

It seems like there's something more to it than just not wanting to be left behind. I suppose when you're at a park with your dog, you tend to stand around or wander in place, whereas when you're purposefully going somewhere you're doing something very intriguing. . .

Member Since
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 10:01pm PST 
My dogs had to be trained to stay at a reasonable distance from me. We once tried not to train one of them and it was hell. Never again did we try and stop training our dogs.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Sun Dec 23, '12 10:36pm PST 
Charlie's pretty reliable at dog parks and in really familiar places. You let him off somewhere new though or a field that typically has grouse or rabbits? All bets are off because his instincts kick in and off he goes baying and tracking whatever scent he found. I usually take him on his long line instead as a precaution so I never lose him.

Ria... LOL.. She's great on walks. Excellent on walks, actually. But... outside the house? When you call her and she thinks it means that you're taking her inside? Heck no. It'll be a game of Catch Me If You Can for an hour or more before she'll let you drag her back in the house. Outside is more fun!

Maya was 100% and never went more than thirty feet from me at absolute most - and that was only in fields. In alleys, she stuck within ten feet and had 100% recall no matter what was around - animal or person. But I completely disagree with the methods of training that made her the way she was. I was only happy to have her reliable off leash so I could let her enjoy wandering a bit(any slight tug of the leash freaked her out and shut her down).
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