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In your opinion, do pups that are let off-lead a lot as a real youngster end up reliable off-lead as an adult?

Our puppy has always followed us around without much thought to dashing. She is now 7 mos old and won't leave our front yard without us. She loves car trips and will run to the car to see if we're going somewhere if we have her out front with us. When we hike, she sticks with us. Once or twice she's gone a little far ahead but has been called back without too much effort. When we open the door, I never worry she'll bolt. She might wander outside but she stays close and comes back when called.

She even wriggled out of her collar at a recent park filled with people when my husband was holding her so she could bound after me and not be left behind when I was walking away taking my children to pet a donkey in a pen. She could have gone so many other directions, and gotten into so much trouble given her penchant to be mouthy, but she just wanted to stay with our group and not be left behind.

I'm wondering if her current easy recall and desire to stay with our family when off-lead will carry over as she reaches adulthood. Am I taking too many chances tempting fate by allowing her off-lead even though so far she's proven so reliable?

I have no intention of allowing her off-lead in public places where she's likely to see other dogs or lots of people, yet, but I wonder about when we're walking around in the woods or outside our house or wherever....
 

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Originally Posted By: LuckyD
I'm wondering if her current easy recall and desire to stay with our family when off-lead will carry over as she reaches adulthood. Am I taking too many chances tempting fate by allowing her off-lead even though so far she's proven so reliable?
in general, and in my personal experience, i've found that the recall and desire remains the same or close to it. however, i dont get too comfortable or let my guard down at any time. and i say that because some dogs dont come into themselves until later and should her prey drive increase it could be something as simple as a leaf or a squirrel that leads her astray and you wouldnt want to learn that the hard way, especially some place like the woods. so be relieved that you dont have a husky, but dont take it for granted either.

i got both of my dogs a little older than your girl is now, and in as little as two weeks i was able to trust them off leash. and with rescues, it can really go either way. a) they have no loyalty to you and want to run off and search for their old life, or b) they are so happy you saved them and afraid you'll leave them that they glue themselves to your leg.

and yes, in areas where there are likely to be lots of people, other dogs, busy streets, etc - my dogs are always leashed. in other situations when they go too far or seem like they're even considering a run, i just say "bye guys" and they know those words and come racing back.
 

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You are partially correct in your observation. It's not just about off lead time, it's about actual interaction with the young dog. You include her in your life and take her places and have fun with her which conditions her to think that all good things come from you. The end result of that is a dog that does not even think about anything else. You can reinforce that with training to ensure she will not get distracted, and you will want to because as she gets older she will check out the rest of the world.
 

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Thanks for your thoughts.

It's interesting to me that some dogs are such runners and some dogs just seem to casually hang out with/around their owners.

Growing up, we lost one dog due to his tendency to bolt out the front door whenever given the opportunity. I missed him for a long time and hope to avoid that with our puppy.

For the time being, I'm not going to be too worried about her dashing, and we will definitely add training in the not too distant future.
 

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My hunch is this pup will stay close yo you as the dog continues to mature.

As for car or truck rides, yes he will beat you to the door.
 

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LuckyD, I believe that off-leash training should be done as young as possible and as often as possible. That's not to say that pups should be put in situations where they may wander off, but I start my dogs with off-leash recalls as soon as I get them. I use tons of reinforcement and spend time daily doing recalls and recall games. I think this is why my shepherds have been extremely dependable off-leash throughout their lives.

Too many dogs and people become dependent on the leash. If a dog is raised with the feel of the leash pressure throughout its entire young life, it stands to reason that making the transition to off-leash may be more difficult than a dog that has been taught since puppyhood that being off-leash is natural and that they will be highly reinforced for response regardless.

Of course, there will always be dogs who have a level of prey drive or independence that makes them test the concept of freedom at some point. My chows are like this - staying with me is not as high on their list of needs as it is with the shepherds. But the early off-leash training really helps anyhow, and if necessary I add some sort of correction or consequence later on.

I'd encourage you to start some recall exercises if you haven't already. Make a fun game of it and capitalize on her natural instinct to want to stay with you and I expect you'll have a dog that will be very dependable even as an adult.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Our yard is not fully fenced in (yet! it will be in a few weeks), and you will never see my girl on a tie out. I will take her out on lead if any of the neighbors' dogs are out though, as she will charge them if too close to our yard.

Her recall is solid, we started her off-lead outiside as soon as we got her, and I made her coming back to me as fun for a pup as possible.
She'll walk toward the steps sometimes, but a simple 'Reich, no', gets her back on track.
She does have a high prey drive...but won't go beyond our property to chase. I can even shorten that with a 'leave it'.

She's really the first dog I've had who will not leave the yard unless I am with her.

I STILL do not let my guard down. She's watched like a hawk, and I make sure I can cut off all exit points if needed. She is only 7 mos old, I don't expect her to be 100% reliable.

I'm really not comfortable either. SO much can go wrong so fast if the wrong situation arises. We only have about 75 ft of chain link to put in to finish off the perimeter and it'll be fully fenced. I can't wait.
 
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