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Old 12-12-2012, 04:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am not trying to discourage you from training for off leash work - just that you be realistic with trying to do off lead through a neighborhood with families, distractions, cars, other dogs etc

I love doing off lead activities with my dogs, but I first had to train to make sure recall and obedience was 100% even with distractions. It takes time and lots of training. The dog itself has to be cut out for it genetically as well - some dogs cannot handle off lead. I had this one Golden Ret in the past that was the most eager to please dog I ever had. Did everything I asked when it was just us - but when she saw a new person, she would go nuts and lose her head. I never had her off lead with other people, but we hiked, ran, and walked in remote areas with no issues.

I have my dogs off lead all the time, but only when there is little foot traffic and when someone is 5-10ft within us, I call everyone back and leash them. It's worked well for us, but I wonder how much off lead time you can get in a busy neighborhood. If you want to go hiking and do off lead once her obedience is solid, that's a different thing. If you want to do obedience off lead for fun or titles, that's a different thing in a controlled setting. But it's a tricky line to straddle when doing this in a neighborhood setting with families, traffic, and liability all around.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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100% off lead reliability with real world distractions is a fairly large and long term task. The dog has to first have the genetics to handle this task. You will also have to invest significant time, patience, and training into the dog. If the dog is cut out for it, and you/your wife do your part with training, then in a few years you have the possibility to manage this.
I agree. For me the biggest deterrent for my dogs walking down the street off leash is, well, the street! Even if you have the sweetest, friendliest dog in the world who gets along with people and other dogs, or the most neutral and aloof dog in the world who can be relied upon to completely ignore other people and dogs, there is still the potential of your dog going into the street and getting hit by a car. Right in front of your wife and son. Do you really want to risk that?

My dogs go to off leash parks regularly, but I would NEVER let them off leash in my neighborhood or anywhere else near cars. While they stay close at the park, chase balls and bring them back, I know for a fact they'd run across the street without a second thought if there was a cat or a squirrel over there. I could spend tons and tons and tons of time training them to override their prey drive....or I could just keep them on leash in situations where it might be an issue.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am not trying to discourage you from training for off leash work - just that you be realistic with trying to do off lead through a neighborhood with families, distractions, cars, other dogs etc
Exactly.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yea I hadn't worried too much about the traffic it is a closed loop with very little traffic but still always a concern. We had a three legged lab, but she got run over by my dad accidentally, hauling a cow trailer down the driveway. She ran under the trailer. But still definitely a wise concern. We have quite a few areas where off the leash training would be great. 100 acres of woods and farmland we own as well as a couple other areas we go. I guess on leash should be the main concern though of course and then just have her trained for off leash for those special situations on the farm and everything
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I live in the burbs. My 10 month old female does the off leash heel. She is quite responsive to my voice but when she is off leash on the street I have her on an E Collar. I only off leash her in the burbs and hiking trails. Has good recall. I have been training her for about 4-5 months. I used a combo of +R and prong to teach her the heel. The E collar is my remote leash. She is easily distracted at her age so the collar keeps her in place quite nicely. Just proof the dog in an area with high distraction quotiant. EX Dog Park
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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We have quite a few areas where off the leash training would be great. 100 acres of woods and farmland we own as well as a couple other areas we go.
That would be different - if you've got a large open space area where it would be safe to be off leash I don't see any problem with that. With my dogs I never did any particular off leash training, we just started taking them to off leash parks at a young age, usually at 4 or 5 months old (after they'd gotten their puppy shots), and capitalized on a puppy's natural inclination to follow and be near us. Ours are also very into chasing balls, and are so conditioned to go get the ball and bring it back that they would never even think about just running off.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I once saw a dog, boxer type, off leash, walking behind its owner who's holding her human baby, crossing the busy San Francisco street. That was an incredible sight to see, the human trusting the pet to be following her in San Francisco!
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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That is probably the funniest video I have ever seen, and yet I can relate with a dog I have to train now who will do the same thing even when recalled, unbelievably frustrating!
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Yeah, distractions. You don't want a "Fenton". (Notice how he never actually tells the dog to come.)

Fenton the dog! - YouTube
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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You can train the puppy and the important thing from a GSD is puppy is to start from day one. Many things are easier to ingrain in a young puppy than compel an older puppy to do. GSDs are about as bad as labs at pulling and chewing, only they are mouthier and more in your face sometimes. On the upside they are more tuned into their people. But they can be great with kids. Because of breed popularity it is too easy, though to find one with a temperament you don't want. Get the right one and you will never think about another breed.

I went many miles with my kids in strollers and a GSD at my side (enough to wear out several sets of wheels) I always had the dog on lead and it was not an issue. Nowadays you can get hands free jogging leads that make it even easier. Hands free, the ability to quick release or drop the line (had a neighborhood kid dumped out of a stroller when a loose dog attacked the leashed dog owned by the mother pushing the stroller-in a case like that you worry about the baby, not the dog!)

I have dogs who work offlead but if it does not impair work and I am on or near a road, the leashes are on as an added safety measure.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Off leash in the city / neighbourhood - where ever people are is a bad idea. The main reason - the type of dog you have - a lot of people are afraid of a GSD.

The second reason it's a bad idea - you NEVER know ... it's still a dog.

HOWEVER ... if you bust your butt for about 3-4 hours EVERY SINGLE day for about 8 -10 months (and I'm NOT kidding about the time) ... you can have your dog walking off leash beside you.

I've done it with Kyleigh. It was a long long process, and I started it on day one of her coming home with me at 9 weeks. I live in the city, we have STRICT leash laws, and I'm not about to get fined just so she can walk "off leash" right beside me.

I've got it down to where I drape the leash over my shoulders and the loop is by my neck and we walk ... Ky has about 2-3 feet of "loose leash" and she heels perfectly. We've built the illusion of "off leash" but she really isn't.

The key thing to remember ... distractions can be deadly ... all it takes is one.

That fenton video ... I almost peed my pants laughing ... that is hilarious!
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Last edited by Kyleigh; 12-20-2012 at 08:42 AM.
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