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Old 12-22-2008, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Staying in the yard?

Hi Everyone!

I'm new to the boards, but have been a lurking for a while- I really enjoy this site! I was hoping for some input on a little problem I have: I have an 8 month old GSD who in the past month has began leaving the yard on hour + long jaunts- but only during the day. At night, when he goes out for his breaks, he'll NEVER leave the property. I've had to scour the property and go up and down our dirt road, and to the neighbours looking for him for over an hour some days.

We live in the country with about 30 acres, however, we are close to the main highway by about 500ft, which worries me like crazy. He gets plenty of exercise, and we have 2 other dogs (5 year old GSD, 2 year old Aussie) who are great and never leave the property either.

So, the way I see it, I can only give him heck if I CATCH him leaving the yard- which is hard because we're not always out there. We have a shock collar thats been sitting in a closet still in the box unused- but I don't want to go down that road. I've had people tell me to get mad at him when he returns to the yard and put him in his kennel- but I don't see the logic in getting angry at a dog that came when you called, plus we know that dogs don't connect two separate events as being wrong.

I want to be able to trust him to be outside...we have all this property and I want him to be able to play with our other dogs instead of him being cooped up in the house for fear of him taking off. This has never been an issue with any of our other dogs. Any advice?
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Canisphere's Yukon - Rudy - 04/19/2008
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

GSDs make pretty bad outside dogs. They want to be wherever their people are and will often try to escape. By their very nature, they were bred to be close workers with their owners and are probably the most clingy of the "velcro dogs." They're your shadow.

Your GSD will be happiest with you, whether it's outside playing and training together on your property or inside the tiniest one-bedroom house. He doesn't care, just so long as he is near you. Please allow him to live inside and when you have him outside, play with him, train him, just be outside with him.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

Thanks Diana- he is normally in the house, with me wherever I am, but its on his pee breaks where he's leaving, and this is within a 10min span. Could I be expecting too much of him at this age?
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Canisphere's Yukon - Rudy - 04/19/2008
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?


It sounds like your yard is unfenced? If you can not be out there him, then I suggest you put him on a long line or other restraint when he goes out. You can not trust your dog to stay in your yard and with a highway that close, the danger is just too great to risk it.

You will need to work with your dog outside to understand his boundaries of exploration, but even that will not mitigate the danger.

The best thing you can do is to fence an area to keep him in when you let him out without supervision.

Quote:
Quote:I've had people tell me to get mad at him when he returns to the yard and put him in his kennel- but I don't see the logic in getting angry at a dog that came when you called, plus we know that dogs don't connect two separate events as being wrong.
You are absolutely correct. Your dog will not associate leaving the year with "getting mad" or correcting when he returns. He will associate the returning with the correction or you getting mad and then getting him back becomes even more of a challenge-Why should he return to you if you're going to bet mad or correct him.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

If your yard is unfenced, have him on a long line and consider fencing in a small portion for safe exercise/pottying off leash. He is still quite young, but whereas some GSDs learn boundaries very well, others do not, but there is always the risk of a dog seeing something worthy to chase and end up dying underneath a car due to reacting from pure instinct.

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Quote:which is hard because we're not always out there.
ALWAYS be outside with your dog. You cannot redirect him to good habits if you are not out there supervising. He needs to learn that being outside with you is good and that sticking close to home is better. I wouldn't risk having him off leash anymore; fence part of your yard or use a long line (leashes anywhere from 15' to 50' long or more).
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

Thanks for the replies Diana & Everett

The tying out seems to be my only safe option til spring really- I'd like to get an invisible fence set up as we have a huge property. I think I'll feel bad since he'll be tied up on his breaks while the other two aren't. Ahh well, its for his own good- his safety is my biggest concern!
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

I wouldn't tie him out. If he's outside on a leash, you better be holding the other end of it. If he's around the other dogs while leash that could really build frustration and a fight could erupt- this is why so many dogs who seem aggressive to other dogs on leash do fine when introduced off leash. But please, no tie-outs, not unless you're outside and supervising.

Quote:
Quote: I'd like to get an invisible fence set up as we have a huge property.
Be aware that some GSDs blow the invisible fence with little thought even if well trained. A very respected breeder on this board had a dog from one of her breedings killed when it blew the fence barrier when chasing another animal and ending up under a car. If his safety is your biggest concern, you'll fence in a portion of your property so he can be outside safely, then be with him either with a leash or an e-collar (after both of you have been trained on use of an e-collar) when you want him outside of the safe area.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

I live on 100 acres with NO "dog fence". I NEVER let my 9 month old out alone. She is also NEVER loose outside at home. I have horse and cattle, not to mention all of the deer. There is NO way she could be outside alone and NOT get into some sort of trouble. If she needs to go out, I TAKE her out on leash. My 9 and 10 year olds CAN be out loose and they stay home and don't bother the livestock. But with her temperment, I would be surprised if the pup is NEVER able to be loose.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SteadyThanks for the replies Diana & Everett

The tying out seems to be my only safe option til spring really- I'd like to get an invisible fence set up as we have a huge property. I think I'll feel bad since he'll be tied up on his breaks while the other two aren't. Ahh well, its for his own good- his safety is my biggest concern!
I have one dog that's tied out (2 year old) and two that are free in the yard (5 year old GSD and 4 month old GSD). He doesn't seem to mind but he knows the boundaries of the tie-out, and the other dogs stay within the boundary of the yard (so they don't get to run around far away otherwise they'd be leashed too!). Just for potty breaks I don't see why dogs need acreage. For exercise and play we take the dogs to different fenced areas and let them loose.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staying in the yard?

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm just going to have to escort him outside from now on...he has excellent recall, its just a matter of me being out there. I really appreciate the input.
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Canisphere's Yukon - Rudy - 04/19/2008
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