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To Let Off or Not To Let Off???

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Malibugirl, Jul 13, 2009.


  1. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    Okay here is my dilemma. We have had Lolly our gorgeous 10 month old lurcher / labrador cross rescue dog for nearly a month and have been doing loads of training with her both on our own and at a puppy training class. She has responded well to most things and is very bright and learns quickly. We have trained her on recall and she is pretty good with treats at home and in the garden aswell as when we are out for a walk, until that is, we come across another person or another dog, bird etc. Then she becomes totally deaf to us. We have tried this consistantly (every day, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day) but she is still the same. Sometimes she is okay and we can pull her away / distract her with her favourite treat or favourite toy, but sometimes all she wants to do is play with the other person / dog. She is very loving and loves other dogs and all people, but being a pup, and a big one at that, she is very boisterous and playful, liking to rough and tumble with the other dogs! All the dogs where we live are older and off leads, but we still have her on a long training lead as we are not confident enough to let her off as we dont know if she will come back when called. There are some parks / fields, near us where we take her, but although they are quite secure, they are not 100% secure unfortunately. My question is, when should we take the plunge and let her off the lead? Im not sure if she is ever going to be 100% on the recall when other dogs are around, but the dog trainer / RSPCA said that we shouldn't leave it too long as the longer we leave it the more chance there that when she is finally let off, she will just bolt off and not come back! Seeing it from Lollys' point of view, I can imagine that she gets pretty frustrated at going up to other dogs that are off the lead and playing whilst she is still on a lead and I dont want her to get fed up and resent us for restraining her. I am a bit jittery as my old dog, a few years ago, was let off the lead and chased a cat through a hedge and straight onto a main road into the path of a car and was killed instantly!

    What do you all think? Should I take the plunge and let her off the lead or keep her on until / if / when she becomes 100% recall proof, even though Im not sure that will ever happen. How did you all take the plunge and let your dogs off and did it work straight away, what can I expect etc? Help please, thanks!
     
  2. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Can't you find a secure place to let her off? Or somewhere completely away from roads to begin with?

    You could always keep her on a longline, and let it go and if she starts off, stand on the end of it.

    x
     
  3. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    First time i let rusty off was in an secure park ,he came back on recall so i gave him a treat,next time the little """""" would not come back,2 hrs later he did,thank goodness it was in a secure place :D
    Try in a secure place then at least if your dog does not recall he cant get far away to get lost or hurt
    Good luck
     
  4. rona

    rona Guest

    I agree try and find somewhere secure for the first time, and if you can get someone with a playful but obedient dog to go with you, so much the better.
    I always encourage people to try their dogs off lead with Alfie, because even if they can't get their dogs back, if I recall Alf, nine times out of ten, the other dog comes too :)
     
  5. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Good advice Rona.
    The first time I let my dogs off lead is when they are with another dog they know fairly well, and usually will follow back.

    Vicki does not normally let Honey off but here we go to the park, it has a gate. Honey has very slow recall but does eventually come nack. And yesterday we found a empty field so went in and shut the gate, all the dogs had a good run, even Honey I have never seen her so fast before :D

    x
     
  6. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Sammy, my staffi x ridegeback is very excitable with other dogs and become deaf when I need to recall him.

    The only way I can now manage it is before he see's another dog, I recall him, put him on a lead and walk him over to the other dog. He is unable to do introductions on his own becuase he is way too over the top.

    An enclosed field is a good idea, but if your biggest problem is other dogs and you are alone then you are not dealing with the problem.

    x

    If any of my dogs see a rabbit or squirrel then they will not recall but will chase. I have accepted this and have no intention of trying to over ride their pray drive. If they are off lead then it is never anywhere near a road so it doesn't matter.
     
  7. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    Thanks all for your advice so far. Its very difficult for us as although we do live in a country type area, none of the fields anywhere near us are totally secure (i.e. they have gates Lolly could get under or through, holes in hedges where there are water troughs etc.) I dont know what else to do short of putting her in the car and taking her miles looking for a totally secure public field. We took her to one of the fields last night and let her off for a few minutes and she seemed fine (i.e. she didn't go beserk and run off), but then there were no other dogs around at the time. She came every time we called her, although sometimes, when she is busy "sniffing" we need to run away in the opposite direction calling her name for her to follow us which she then does madly! It was quite encouraging though and I got the feeling that she will follow us as at home we cant even go from one room to the next without her following us!. One thing I have learnt from last night is that she is fast with a capital F!!! I never realised how fast she is, she is definately more lurcher than labrador! I think we are going to try and let her off again when our friends / neighbours are back off holiday as she gets on really well with their labrador Elvis and he is allowed off the lead, so perhaps we shall try them together (they have played in the garden together without leads and rough and tumble for hours!). Alternatively, the only other place we can think of doing it is taking her to a beach somewhere miles away from roads etc. and letting her just go for it. At the moment, on the long training lead, she is fine, but sometimes she just "lurches" off and I think forgets she is on a lead and ends up twisting her neck which does worry me, or she ends up dragging me on my face across the field!!

    Anyway, any more advice / help would be gratefully received.

    Thanks x
     
  8. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    The lurcher bit of her wants to run and is very independent so quite a lot to overcome there. I agree with goodvic that there are times when some dogs just will not come back and yelling at them or calling them is counterproductive. Candy took off after a rabbit this morning. I didnt say a word but just followed in the general direction till I got close enough to attract her attention and then called her back and praised her. She is at that bad age where she is very independent and goes off without warning after rabbits and birds.
    A lurcher is fast and large so I would be wary of letting off the lead in public even in a safe area as other people might not appreciate a great big pup greeting them. You have to let her run though so find somewhere quiet to exercise her and then do your public walks as training exercises to improve her manners.
     
  9. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    Lurchers like to chase. That is what they are bred to do and is their greatest pleasure in life. So you are unlikely to override that drive with treats, no matter how tasty ;)

    How about, rather than relying on treats as a reward for recall, you offer the chance to chase and catch something? Take a long line and a furry toy - call her in a low distraction situation (start at home and gradually work up) and as she turns, run away dragging the toy. When she catches it, have a good old game with it.

    You have to match rewards with the situation. A hyped up dog might not be interested in treats if he is chasing or running - but the promise of MORE chasing and running - and the chance to catch it and play with you - may well make the difference between a mediocre recall and a reliable one :)
     
  10. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    When one of our dogs went through the stage of "come back on recall you are joking"one thing i did was use 30ft lead untill it got better,and at that time and now i dont talk to him while out on a walk ,either on or off lead,untill i recall him,i have noticed he stops now and looks towards me a lot more often,its as if i was calling him before to much and he was ignoring me,now if i recall he comes back straight away,Its not the dog in my avatar its the other one (Rusty) in my profile,he now does Agility training and that also have made a difference,he gets so focused at training,but is also alot better behaved while out on walks and off lead over the fields
     
    #10 hazel pritchard, Jul 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  11. Bobbie

    Bobbie PetForums VIP

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    I agree with the post above I don't talk to my dog either except to recall that way the dog usually starts looking to you as the leader and should!!!! return
     
  12. pugzi

    pugzi PetForums Newbie

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    This is something I have still to do with our 5 1/2 month old Pug X - I am wary letting him off the lead as he gets so excited when he sees other dogs and children, all he wants to do is play and when he is in that frame of mind he wont listen to any commands.

    I think this weekend we will try and take him to a quiet, secure park with some treats and try and train him off the leash.
     
  13. ftm42

    ftm42 PetForums Junior

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    Maybe it depends on breed? I have a wire fox terrier and everyone I know who owns one says not to let them off. Trouble is there's no joy in a dog unless they can run around a bit, esp with 3 boys who want to run around too! He's 6 months old and we are trying to wait until he's been castrated as this should make him a bit more settled [?!]. However I have let him off lead in a local park, but he ran straight up to a jogger and hopped up and down until she [kindly!] bent down to stroke him while I caught up! He is also very dominant and fearless when approaching other dogs.

    We let him off two nights ago and he ran straight off to the opposite side of the field and went down a rabbit hole. Fortunately I caught up with him and he came back up. There really isn't a 'secure' place when you have a small dog. I don't ever recall it being a problem when I had 2 shelties [although one if them would run back to the car when approached by another dog]. They always came back for treats, but not this one! He seems to become deaf and loses his sense of smell! I do want to let him off and when I have done, he walks round me in big circles, checking every so often that I'm still there... until another dog/jogger arrives...
     
  14. BogusiaReca

    BogusiaReca PetForums Newbie

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    Her age contributes to it for sure. She should calm down to some extend as gets older. But I think she should be trained for obedience, especially that the issue has to do with her nature. From my own experience and research I've done I know it's possible to train any dog, any breed, however difficult to control they may seem. The better the dog is trained, the easier it is for both the owner and the dog.
     
  15. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    I would be wary of taking your dog to the beach for a 1st time and letting off lead, One of our dogs (Rusty) is the one we had problems with recall ,he also is mad on water,he will try and swim in a puddle !!!! his recall is good now as i have said in previous post,but i will not let him off lead at the beach,tomorrow i am going to the beach and i know as soon as he sees water he will be off ,so he will be on his 30ft lead,that way he can have a good swim but not swept off by a sudden sea current
     
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