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Hi Im looking into dog walking and was wondering if anyone could advise me on letting dogs off the lead. I would walk them mainly in wooded areas and fields and my main worry is letting them off and them trying to run home as I know my dog may with a stranger. How would i approach letting dogs off their lead if their owners wished me to. Would I have to let the dog get to know me first for a few sessions before letting it off the lead? or would I be best trying it a different way
thanks
 

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My dog sitter who will be taking my two girls in for next month on a holiday usually keeps them on lead although it didn't look necessary when she posted a picture of them on the website looking well behaved. It depends on the dog really and how attached they are to the owner, Amber fretted for about five minutes then relaxed when they went for a trial afternoon.
 

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It's up to you if you let a dog off lead. I have one that only goes off in certain areas as she's nervous and a bunny chaser.
I've walked some for many weeks before even considering letting them off, but then I've had two that I let off almost immediately.
If you aren't happy to do it, DON'T.
They are your responsibility
 

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Firstly, I only allow dogs off lead if I have written/email permission from the owner. That way if heaven forfend anything should happen at least my dog walking insurance would cover it.

Secondly, I get to know the dog first a bit and ask their owners what their recall is like.

Once I let the dog off lead, I watch it like a hawk and do a recall every few minutes at first to test. If I am in any way uneasy then the dog goes back on the lead or Flexi.

I always take a lot of treats with :D

If the dog is not good with other dogs then I do not let it off the lead, irrespective of what the owner says.
 

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Each owner has the right to say a dog has to stay on the lead, but only you have the right to say a dog can come off the lead. It depends what you are comfortable with. I let most dogs off the lead immediately if we have permission, but we only walk 4 at a time, and the other 3 will be familiar dogs. Some it's taken the owners a long time to give us off lead permission, and I've worked hard to get it because I know the dog. Other dogs we've got off lead permission for, and we keep them on!

When you start up, you'll build up slowly, so you'll have time to get to know each dog and learn as you go. I started dog walking from two years fostering so I already had more experience than many.

We don't take very nervous dogs off the lead, especially small breeds, no matter what the owner says. These are the dogs most at risk of panicking and running away, and being small they are very hard to find, and most at risk. Fear is the reason most dogs will run away - being too friendly with other dogs is the main (but not only) reason they run off - two very different things.
 

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I usually only let a dog off lead if I know they are trustworthy.

I usually start with a flexi and gauge recall and how far they like to roam, if they chase other dogs or rabbits.

I usually have treats or if they are ball obsessed a ball to call them back or keep their attention. If I think the dog is nervous and may run off I leave them on a flexi, I would never risk losing a dog:(
 

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As somebody who has just started dog walking I was pleased that the owners had said they did not want it let off the lead. I have walked dogs before for friends but they all knew me and I had usually walked them out with my friends before doing so on my own.
I think the golden message is that you only let them off when you have permission and then only when you feel comfortable enough with the dog to do so.
Whilst generally I do feeling happier leaving the dogs on the lead I have fond a few disadvantages:
I don't quite enjoy my walk as much as on a lead while they stop and sniff (more so it appears on lead).
Other dog walkers think you have a "problem" dog.
On the other side of the coin I feel dogs on leads are likely to be the target of aggressive dogs than one off the lead.
BTW it is my first post on here so grateful for people thoughts.
 

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All of my dogs are walked off lead eventually unless the owner specifically requests otherwise. I start off with a trial walk, off-lead with owner to see how responsive the dog is generally, then for the first couple of weeks (or more or possibly slightly less depending on dog) they will be on a long-line in various situations while I build a relationship with them. I generally throw in some basic training stuff, some mental stimulation games and just try to get to know them. Once I feel that we have enough of a bond, we then go to a secure field (I use the local rugby fields, where dogs are welcome, but it's fully fenced as it borders a massive deer park) and I'll let them off for the first time. I try not to make a big deal about it and carry on in the same way, with all the games etc...

I find this system works well and (fingers-crossed) I have never had a problem. Max, the weimy, goes off wandering sometimes, but never far and he'll be back within 5 minutes!
 

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Some people make it sound like rocket science. YOU can meet up with the owner five times and use long leads and devote your week to one dog .. or work out something easier.

I walk dogs off lead all the time. I get permission from the owner on my first consult. I talk about recall issues. I have only been tricked twice .. with the dog seeming good on lead then bolting once off. But I walk in closed in secure off lead dog parks.

I would very rarely take dogs anywhere that they is game such as rabbits as the temptation is too strong to run off.
 

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Some people make it sound like rocket science. YOU can meet up with the owner five times and use long leads and devote your week to one dog .. or work out something easier.

I walk dogs off lead all the time. I get permission from the owner on my first consult. I talk about recall issues. I have only been tricked twice .. with the dog seeming good on lead then bolting once off. But I walk in closed in secure off lead dog parks.

I would very rarely take dogs anywhere that they is game such as rabbits as the temptation is too strong to run off.
This seems a bit of a cavalier attitiude to me. I do not devote my whole week to one dog, however in the time we have together for the first few weeks I make sure that they know I am someone who is fun to be around and interesting. They are not my dogs, so really why would they come back to me? I choose to walk my dogs in a variety of fun, interesting places- they (and I) would find it quite dull going to the same place every day. Plus there is only one fenced in area that I can use and there's not really anything very interesting for the dogs there. So it is important to me to build up a relationship with these dogs, so that they can be walked off lead in all sorts of fun places- I very rarely have a problem with recalls, so to me this is a good system that works well.

It's about caring and putting the time in really. Anyone can turn up, chuck 6 dogs in a van and let them loose in a fenced off area for an hour a day.
 

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This seems a bit of a cavalier attitiude to me. I do not devote my whole week to one dog, however in the time we have together for the first few weeks I make sure that they know I am someone who is fun to be around and interesting. They are not my dogs, so really why would they come back to me? I choose to walk my dogs in a variety of fun, interesting places- they (and I) would find it quite dull going to the same place every day. Plus there is only one fenced in area that I can use and there's not really anything very interesting for the dogs there. So it is important to me to build up a relationship with these dogs, so that they can be walked off lead in all sorts of fun places- I very rarely have a problem with recalls, so to me this is a good system that works well.

It's about caring and putting the time in really. Anyone can turn up, chuck 6 dogs in a van and let them loose in a fenced off area for an hour a day.



Unfortunately I think this is what the majority do :( Terrorizing the little old ladies that go there with their little Fifi.

You get a few that actually spend time with and on the dog. :)
Then you have a few that spend a good part of the hour collecting the dogs, go sit in a car park listening to their radios and then spend a good part dropping the dog off again :mad:
 

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[/B]

Unfortunately I think this is what the majority do :( Terrorizing the little old ladies that go there with their little Fifi.

You get a few that actually spend time with and on the dog. :)
Then you have a few that spend a good part of the hour collecting the dogs, go sit in a car park listening to their radios and then spend a good part dropping the dog off again :mad:
This makes me really cross- I've put a lot of time and work into my business and for someone to be able to come along and do this (and probably make more money than I do too) is just so frustrating. We have recently had a fairly large franchise move into the area. They call themselves an "exercise school" by which they mean they take literally 20 dogs to a fenced in field and let them get on with it. A friend of mine's parents used them (in a different area) and they charged her £20 per dog, per hour for this. They have 4 dogs!:eek:
 

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At my first consultation with the owner I discuss a lot of things including recall,what they're like with other dogs, if they have anything they are scared of or any quirks. Then they will put in writing if i can walk them on or off lead. I then base it on how I feel with the dog. Ill take them on their usual lead for the first 4 or 5 times. If I feel comfortable after these walks i will put them on my 20ft training lead. Each time I call their name and they come back to me I click and reward. They usually get the idea pretty much immediately and it seems very natural for the dogs to follow me anyway. The training lead usually only lasts for 2 or 3 walks until they are then off lead.
Touch wood, I have never had anything go wrong yet! If the dog isn't responsive on the training lead, I won't let him off until I am as comfortable as I can feel.
I have one dog I have been walking for 4 months and he is still on the training lead. Once he has a scent there is no response from him so I have a lot more work to do with him! I do try and encourage people to have their dog off lead with me as its a lot more enjoyable for us both as well as the dog getting far, far more exercise.
 
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