Off Leash Training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Off Leash Training

Just wondering how people teach a dog to be responsive off leash?? Certain methods, ages you should start, ways to be safe while in training??
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post #2 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 07:27 AM
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Start with solid OB on leash, then solid OB on leash in different areas with distractions, then OB at home off leash, then OB in different areas off leash. It's just a progressive timeline where you're adding one obstacle at a time.
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post #3 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 12:28 PM
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Right away. First thing, off lead recall with food or toy reward.
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post #4 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 01:10 PM
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I start immediately off leash and don't introduce on lead training until they are over a year. The transition at that point is usually pretty simple. I will only leash them prior to that age if I have to have them in a high traffic area.
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post #5 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 01:41 PM
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I start on lead for heeling, when the dog is very correct and reliable I will toss the lead over it's shoulder or go to a short tab. I do not go off lead until the dog is very reliable and correct on lead. Then it is a training tab.

For the recall, I worked the two toy game in an enclosed area. If it is a dog that I think will bolt I will use a long line. I always have a "plan A and a Plan B." Plan A is everything works out and the dog is correct it is praised and rewarded. If the dog makes a mistake or tries to bolt, I have a long line to reel the dog in.

I start immediately regardless of the age of the dog. I just modify the training to fit the dog.
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post #6 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 04:39 PM
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I did something a bit different with my current 9 month old dog.

She was basically mostly off leash until she was about 6 months old. We used the leash to teach basic OB and when out on roads, so she certainly knows how to walk on a leash, but she wasn't leashed much.

She was great off leash until she got more independent, and that's when I introduced the e-collar. It literally took only ONE 15 minute session with e-collar, then a couple short refreshers, before her recall was 100%, with or without the collar. She is a smart dog, but I also have figured out a lot working with past dogs. This is a dog who also learned fetch to hand in five minutes... and it stuck. I love a trainable dog.

That is how I do it- but this is just for hiking or running with the dog off leash. For sport OB I do start with leash, teach commands, proof them on leash then progress to off leash.

I hate to see people stay reliant on a leash for too long, though, when often just a few clear sessions with an e-collar can train the dog to be safe off leash, and give you both lots more freedom. I muddled around with this for so long with past dogs, taking risks I shouldn't have by letting dogs off leash too soon, when figuring out the e-collar would have made everything super fast.

It may not be for everyone, but it give my dogs freedom to just be dogs and go out on the trails with me, and not get lost chasing deer, etc.
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post #7 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Muskeg View Post
I did something a bit different with my current 9 month old dog.

She was basically mostly off leash until she was about 6 months old. We used the leash to teach basic OB and when out on roads, so she certainly knows how to walk on a leash, but she wasn't leashed much.

She was great off leash until she got more independent, and that's when I introduced the e-collar. It literally took only ONE 15 minute session with e-collar, then a couple short refreshers, before her recall was 100%, with or without the collar. She is a smart dog, but I also have figured out a lot working with past dogs. This is a dog who also learned fetch to hand in five minutes... and it stuck. I love a trainable dog.

That is how I do it- but this is just for hiking or running with the dog off leash. For sport OB I do start with leash, teach commands, proof them on leash then progress to off leash.

I hate to see people stay reliant on a leash for too long, though, when often just a few clear sessions with an e-collar can train the dog to be safe off leash, and give you both lots more freedom. I muddled around with this for so long with past dogs, taking risks I shouldn't have by letting dogs off leash too soon, when figuring out the e-collar would have made everything super fast.

It may not be for everyone, but it give my dogs freedom to just be dogs and go out on the trails with me, and not get lost chasing deer, etc.
Thank you for the info. I respect whatever you want to do, but I personally will never use an E collar ever.
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post #8 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 05:08 PM
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The trainer I use is pretty adamant about newer owners not even putting collars/leashes on puppies for the first month they're home, because it forces the handler to work really hard on engagement without reliance on a leash. It might sound like blasphemy, but I've watched it work extremely well. When mature, these dogs are all expected to work off lead and far out of reach of their handlers.

Precision obedience is a different realm, and I'd defer to the advice of people who successfully participate in that venue. My recommendation above is for general, functional life skills, and obviously assumes you are not taking a young puppy into dangerous areas, breaking laws, etc.
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post #9 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 05:12 PM
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It's totally up to you, but I hate hate hate to see dogs dying in the road, running off, getting lost, getting in trouble with wildlife, shot by farmers, because the owners won't keep an open mind on training techniques.
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post #10 of 81 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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It's totally up to you, but I hate hate hate to see dogs dying in the road, running off, getting lost, getting in trouble with wildlife, shot by farmers, because the owners won't keep an open mind on training techniques.
Trust me in that I would never put my dog in even the slightest harm, or even a situation that would risk it. I just don't believe in many traditional correctional methods, don't see myself ever believing in them, but respect if you do.
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