Balancing the need to run with the need to stay safe - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Balancing the need to run with the need to stay safe

Took the dogs for a walk around the pond at my work last night. It's a 1/2 mile loop and late at night there's nobody around. It does border a road though and is not fenced. Basically it's a loop around a large retention pond between three large buildings.

Anyway- With nobody around and a road with little traffic only on one side (and nobody to speak of in the three buildings on the other side) I feel 100% perfectly safe letting Pimg off lead to run around and do her thing. Not to mention Pimg is highly focused on me and has a great recall. We walk a few laps and she runs up the hills, over to the pond, look at (and chews...) the trees, etc. Just getting to be a dog and RUN!

Last night I took Jinks with for the first time. I had him on a flexi lead (standard length- I don't recall if it's the 16' or the 26' one). He clearly wanted to run and chase Pimg, but he'd hit the end of the lead fast. I had him on a harness of course for this reason. I tired to run with them so he could still run, but, well- I'm nowhere near as fast as the dogs...

I desperately wanted to let him off lead, but just don't trust that he wouldn't bolt at this point. We're working on a recall- but it's not there yet. He is able to run free in the backyard, but it's not really that fun. Pimg only wants to play with her ball in the backyard- not really interested in any chasing...

It seems my only real option for off-lead running is a dog park. I just didn't want to go down that road. How do you guys balance the need to run with the need to be safe and stay on lead?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:41 PM
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This is probably not helpful but since I got my last two at 7 weeks before we had a fence they were rarely ever *on* lead, but it's easy to keep track of a 10lb 7 week old puppy and by the time they are 4, 5, 6 months old it's almost second nature to them (and me). With young fosters I don't ever chance it. One place that has been nice is a local sports complex that has several baseball and softball fields. When they are not being used we take dogs there so they can run "off lead" but are still fenced in. They can usually even run off lead outside of the fields because the complex is so large. I'd rather not start somewhere with other dogs around.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
One place that has been nice is a local sports complex that has several baseball and softball fields.
Yeah- I drove ALL OVER the place last night looking for a fenced baseball diamond. How can it be so hard to find a baseball diamond in Indianapolis??? I couldn't find any kind of sports complex.

And I totally agree with you about the difference between a puppy and a foster. I'm trying hard to remember with Pimg. There was a greenway we visited before she was old enough to go to the dogpark (so less than 4 months old) and even by that time she understood the concept of come. I could let he chase off the geese across a soccer field on the greenway and recaller her pretty well. That was probably dumb in retrospect, but the truth is even back then she had already developed a "good enough" recall. There was trust there.

But man, with Jinks- it's SO hard!! It's as if I simply have zero trust in him. There's just no training there that I can look to and trust that he'll come back. Yeah- we're working on the training- but holy crap, out of 100%, I feel like he's a .000000001% right now!

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:49 PM
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I have the same issue... I live in a really crowded built up place and there just is not much in the way of places for dogs to 'be' off leash.

The closest I get is a several acre off leash dog beach and a national forest, unfortunately they are both a bit of a drive away.

Would something like a preserve or a national forest nearby work? When I take them up in the mountains they have tons of space to run and hardly anyone there. Possibly a large fenced in area(possibly dog park) where you can work on some recall and kind of see how he does off leash first.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I'm a bit paranoid about it. Pimg loves hiking more than anything in the world. There's quite a few places I can take her off lead while hiking. But the truth is, I'm afraid Jinks would simply run off and not come back. You'd think I've built some value for myself, but if I let him out in the morning to go to the bathroom off leash (in my fenced backyard) it's a **** battle to get him back in without some kind of lure. And even then, the lure isn't 100% effective... [So I've put a stop to off lead bathroom breaks now, of course.]

I was talking to AgileGSD about my dogs a couple days ago. We decided that Pimg is just naturally good, as some dogs are. She truly is! She doesn't push boundaries and she never has. She is a very "easy" dog. Jinks- I think he's naturally bad He is definitely a boundary pusher!

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 03-06-2013 at 05:55 PM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 05:59 PM
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We staked out the perimeter to build our "dog park" last weekend. It will be about 1 1/2 acres of woods/creek/ravine to run in.!
Its going to be quite the project to fence the hills, but so worth. The dogs really love to just "lay it out!"

I cant wait!! Wildo..I will be considering bartering DVDS for dog park usage..lol!!

But, in answer to your question of letting him run loose, I wouldn't risk it. He still seems a bit impulsive. I think girl dogs are more clingy than males, too.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 06:00 PM
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I was pretty confident in my GSD pup, had him off leash in the mountains and he never strayed too far but when I took him hiking on Monday(at an on leash only place) he about ripped my arm off trying to grab a bird so now I'm not so sure what would happen if he saw something.

Possibly try a longer light weight training lead, I've got one for 50ft but it's a bit cumbersome so a 20 or 30 might work better and they're a lot cheaper then Flexi's.

I do take mine to the dog park occasionally, maybe have a look at the ones around you and scope them out to see what kind of stuff goes on. Going to them in the early morning or right before sunset can decrease your chances of running into the irresponsible owners... I know a few times we've been at the dog park at sunset we have the entire park to ourselves, it was great!

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah- I took Pimg to dog parks for the first 4 years of her life. In all that time, we only had ONE issue, and even then it was over and done in less than 2 seconds probably. Pimg couldn't care less about other dogs. She never has. Even as a very young dog at the dog park, it was ALWAYS about fetching the tennis ball. Always. I can't think of a single time that she showed interest in chasing or playing with other dogs. Ball, ball, ball, ball, ball...

I don't know that Jinks would be that way- even though his most favorite game right now is chase the frisbee or chase the ball. With him, I think the social aspect would trump the fetch/ball aspect. And since Pimg's kind of a bitch (did I mention above about how she doesn't care about other dogs- how they don't exist in her world??) she's pretty much taught him to be a rough player. That also could cause some issues at a dog park. But--- you have a good idea about going REALLY early. That's not a bad idea!

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 03-06-2013 at 06:08 PM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyfarm View Post
Its going to be quite the project to fence the hills, but so worth. The dogs really love to just "lay it out!"
You know (or really should know) that I'd be glad to help with the fencing! Please don't hesitate to ask!!

Willy
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 07:47 PM
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If he likes to chase Pimg, as long as she has a good recall, maybe she can bring him back? That was how I did it with Puppy. The other dog she played with had great ball drive and recall, and could be trusted when Pup had none.


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