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I was wondering at what point did you all let your dog(s)/GSD(s) go off leash?

I really do not trust my 6 month old off leash.. Mainly because when she sees a cat on our walk she ignores my corrections to her pulling and she begines to do a lot of whinning and to try and get the cat to attack the cat.. And if we're out in the country in a field, what if she saw a rabbit or some other critter?
I dont know when a good time to let her off leash.. For now I have a 50 ft leash that I use out in big fields. But i would love to do off leash with her one day and am wondering how you all knew it was the time to do off leash?
 

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I was wondering at what point did you all let your dog(s)/GSD(s) go off leash?

I really do not trust my 6 month old off leash.. Mainly because when she sees a cat on our walk she ignores my corrections to her pulling and she begines to do a lot of whinning and to try and get the cat to attack the cat.. And if we're out in the country in a field, what if she saw a rabbit or some other critter?
I dont know when a good time to let her off leash.. For now I have a 50 ft leash that I use out in big fields. But i would love to do off leash with her one day and am wondering how you all knew it was the time to do off leash?
With pups from day one as they don't want to be left alone at that young age. This is how they learn that on or off leash doesn't make a difference. With older dogs when they hang out with and follow me on a 30 ft line and not bolt to the end of it.
 

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mine isn't 6 months old yet but I usually let her roam off leash once a day at the college campus. Been letting her run around like that since she was a puppy. her recall is decent, I have only used the recall word about 6 times and she came all 6, but most of the time I just wait til she wanders back to me and then I give her heavy praise and food. (well, on leash technically, she drags a 6 foot line around). She doesn't approach people but I'm not sure what would happen if there was a dog, I always do a perimeter check before I let her free
 

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I know I am in the minority on this board but I have never let any of my dogs off leash except in a fenced in location. I am a nervous wreck about them getting hit by a car or something and I would rather be safe than sorry.
 

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We hike all year. Just last fall he was off leash for the first time at 2.5 years. I did not chance it until I knew he had a solid recall & ER down/stay.
 

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My male was never on a line when he was a baby(unless we were off property) Taught and reinforced the recall with him. He has always been very good off leash, and I think it is because I didn't have him tethered to me early on. My females on the other hand....Onyx doesn't recall and has her own agenda, she isn't very biddable.
Kacie recalls great, is very handler sensitive and wears a flat collar with very little correcting.
All dogs are different, even though Karlo had excellent recall, I'd still never trust a 6 month old off leash when not on my own property(for his own safety).
We do take our dogs out back in the woods/trails (that we don't own) for runs and they are good, but they've never been challenged by deer, people or other wildlife. I don't think I could recall Onyx if she decided to take off.
 

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i wouldnt let a dog off leash until the recall is solid. if you're in a public place you have to be considerate to others and have your dog under control (either with leash or voice) at all times. not everyone is a dog lover and having a german shepherd run up to you can be pretty intimidating.

i work on engagement with my puppy the moment i got him. everywhere we went i kept his focus on me with treats/clicker. you teach them that you are where all the fun comes from. over time you just desensitize the dog to the environment. they see you as the source of most fun/reward and everything else in the world is just furniture. so they can go run off and sniff stuff but when you call them, they come running back because nothing else in the environment (people, cats, deer) is as fun as you
 

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I know I am in the minority on this board but I have never let any of my dogs off leash except in a fenced in location. I am a nervous wreck about them getting hit by a car or something and I would rather be safe than sorry.
I'm 100% on board with you. Its not worth it. Everyone and everything makes mistakes, no sense in taking that chance.
 

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Pongu is as reliable as a dog can be. The one upside to his extreme fear issues is that he thinks of me as the source of all safety in his world, so he will never willingly go out of sight, and if he's off leash, he always runs back to check in on me constantly. His recall has been darn near perfect since day one.

Crookytail is just now starting to be reliable again at roughly 2 1/2. He was fine when he was younger, went through a phase of being deaf to recalls when he was about 2, is getting over that about six months later. He is also (mostly) an Akita, though, and they're semi-notorious for that sort of thing. I still don't entirely trust him and wouldn't let him off leash if I thought he was likely to get into trouble, but we're starting to see some light at the end of that particular tunnel.
 

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I know I am in the minority on this board but I have never let any of my dogs off leash except in a fenced in location. I am a nervous wreck about them getting hit by a car or something and I would rather be safe than sorry.
Same here too. Jonas has recall, but you never know when Mr. Bunny will pop his head out and provide some action :laugh: He loves rabbits.
 

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every gsd I've had have always been offleash since day one, IF it's a place I'm comfortable with,,this would be mostly hiking/places that I know well.

Obviously, they would not be offeash in a crowd, traffic area, unsafe areas.

As puppies, they are going to normally follow you everywhere, I think giving them that "freedom" when young, makes for easier training, and easier than say, waiting till their older when they've never had that freedom and decide WOW I'm free, and I'm going for it:)

As for "critters", mine have always been used to wildlife right in my backyard, deer, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, it's kind of normal around here, getting them to "leave it", hasn't really been a problem..
 

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when my dog had recall with all kinds of distractions he was
allowed off leash. i use to set up the distractions. i went to
farms so we could train around chickens and horses, etc.
there cats in my dog's puppy class but i didn't wait once a week
for class so my dog could see cats. my neighbor has 2 cats.
i did a lot of training in their house. when we were in the woods
i use walk through flocks of geese and ducks. i always gave my
dog a few commands while walking through the flocks. i set up all kinds
of situations with distractions. i didn't overwhelm my dog with
distractions. i added in the distractions slowly. set up situations
and train.
 

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Beau was offlead from day one but around a year he developed some selective deafness and we stayed onlead until I worked through it...

He is back offlead now. He has to be for the work as a cadaver dog. It is just too much to try to work through undergrowth and woods onlead.
 

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My boy has been off leash since he was 6-8 months old. I haven't had a fenced in yard since he was about 7 months old.
 

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you can train your dogs to heel. you can train them not to step
off of the sidewalk without a command. being safe is by far better
than being sorry.

I know I am in the minority on this board but I have never let any of my dogs off leash except in a fenced in location. I am a nervous wreck about them getting hit by a car or something and I would rather be safe than sorry.
 

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Loneforce, llambardo, and readaboutdogs, I am glad to hear that I am not alone on this board. I have to say that what really convinced to never let a dog off lead was an experience I had in Shenandoah National Park about 20 years ago. We pulled into a parking lot for a trail at dusk to use the port-a-potty before driving off the mountain. At the trailhead we met a frantic couple. They had been looking for their dog for hours and it was getting dark and they were frantic because they couldn't find him. They told us they had started out on a nice hike in the morning and their dog had seen a deer and just taken off. (It was in the days when deer sighting were relatively rare, if you can imagine such a time.)

The whole incident made me so upset I vowed to never let my dog off leash.
 

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My Golden has been off leash since she was a pup. She's more interested in where I am than anything else. Dogs barking, kids running, doesn't matter... her focus is on where I am.
Knuckles is very aware of his surroundings. When he was about a year old I started letting him drag his leash on our walking trail when I knew nobody/other dogs were not around. The trail we walk I can see a huge distance in front & behind me. If he got far enough where I couldn't step on the leash if needed, he was called back. He never lost my trust, so this year the leash came off. It's still only on that walking trail with my constant attention of our surroundings. If someone is coming, he is called back and leashed again.
On regular traffic roads/residential sidewalks I will not go off leash with him. I doubt I will ever allow it. My Golden has been proving herself for 5 years, but I don't expect Knuckles to ever reach that point. He really enjoys off leash on the trail though and considers it a treat.
I also use a shock collar for the tone recall. I also like having the option of getting his attention with the shock if need be, but he's never given me a reason to use it. He reacts to the tone alone.
My parents own a lake lot outside of town that the dogs are off leash on. Neighbors on each side and a dirt public lake access road butting up to the property. Knuckles has never even attempted to leave the property ever, even with people or other dogs around. He has his lake and us, so nothing else matters to him.

But Knuckles is also a completely different dog ON leash. He walks great on leash, doesn't pull, but he's reactive on leash. He's not when he's off leash.

Here is a video of his trail walking. Knuckles Off Leash Walking - YouTube He does stay aware of where we are pretty well, we just keep talking to him to keep him focused. (The street is just the driveway entrance to the church, but notice how he sits with no command. Both dogs are trained to stop & sit at a street crossing until we give the ok command. Even on leash they must stop & sit. Knuckles still needs a cue every now & then when off leash... on leash he's got it down perfect - to the point he'll sit even when we are still walking. He stops US lol)

you can train them not to step
off of the sidewalk without a command
My Golden will walk on the sidewalk even if we are on the road. LOL She gets mad if we don't walk the sidewalk! :)
 

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Dena's first time at an off leash park was about 4 months old, Keefer's was around 4-1/2 months old, and Halo's first time was 15 weeks old. Here's Halo frolicking in the water with Keefer on her first visit to Point Isabel:

 

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I have done a bit of off leash time, but I always try to control the situation. I did it a lot as a pup in controlled environments.

One thing to be aware of, it was mentioned by Jocyon, somewhere between 6mo and a year old when the dog starts hitting puberty, many dogs develop an independent streak, or selective deafness as it was called. I wouldn't trust my dog until she was called off running squirrels, cats, dogs, and deer while on a lead (see doggie daddy post). Even then, I'm not walking through town off leash.

I do often train off leash in large fields. I am constantly scanning to watch for loose dogs, as that is the biggest distraction for my pup. But we did that daily with a long line on her harness for a year before I was comfortable off leash. By that time I felt like I knew how much I could trust her recall and she knew what I expected. In the small town we live in it works out well.


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