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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had the scare of my life today. I thought I lost my 4 month old pup Cedar.

Near my house is a very large wooded area with trails. Dog owners frequent this area as it's private property and the owners are accepting of dogs being off leash on the property. Basically every dog is off leash.

Until today, Cedar has always listened to the recall command. In fact, it was never needed because she simply doesn't like to get more than 20-30 feet away from us. She prefers being within 5-10 feet of us at all times. For the past month, Cedar has listened to the recall command 100% of the time.

Now normally myself and my girlfriend will take her, and my girlfriend will hide in the woods and we play hide and seek with Cedar. She loves it and gets so excited when she finds my GF (or me, the odd time that I'm the one hiding).

Well today I took Cedar to the trails by myself. She was acting a bit weird and seemed like she was looking for something. Once we got to one of the wooded areas where we frequently play hide and seek, Cedar took off into the woods, I'm assuming looking for my girlfriend. She ignored my commands completely. I had to go in after her, but because it is so heavily wooded, I couldn't find her. It took about 60 seconds before she finally came running to the sound of my voice. 60 seconds may not sound like a long time, but when you can't find your dog for that long, it feels like an eternity.

Anyway, it was an eye opener, that's for sure. I now know that when one of us takes her without the other, we need to be aware that she may go looking for the person who is missing from the hike and we'll likely have to keep her on a leash, or at least be ready to immediately latch onto her if she decides to go the opposite way. I'm still faster than her and could catch her easily if she decided to run from me. Other than that, she listens perfectly, but today scared the crap out of me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is scary! You could also start training her recall - might help!
I work with her every day on the recall command, and up until today she has listened to it 100% of the time, not just inside the house, but everywhere we go
 

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I work with her every day on the recall command, and up until today she has listened to it 100% of the time, not just inside the house, but everywhere we go
Good! Around 5-6 months is usually when our puppies began to learn that they didn't HAVE to come when called and this called for more training esp. around distractions!
 

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Shaner: I used to play games with my dog when he was a puppy, and unfortunately one day when we were at the park and he was off leash, he thought I was in game mode and just took off. I gave the commands that always brought him back and nothing worked. He just ran and ran through my neighborhood and I couldn't catch him. It really freaked me out as he seemed just out of control. It took forever to catch him. He was five months old at the time, and it was a long time after that before I trusted having the puppy off leash.
 

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He is at the age where he must test the limits. And it's all about pleasing himself rather than pleasing you. This may last several months but he will eventually mature and return to being more obedient.... which is why they call it the teenage period.
 

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Well today I took Cedar to the trails by myself. She was acting a bit weird and seemed like she was looking for something. Once we got to one of the wooded areas where we frequently play hide and seek, Cedar took off into the woods, I'm assuming looking for my girlfriend. She ignored my commands completely. I had to go in after her, but because it is so heavily wooded, I couldn't find her. It took about 60 seconds before she finally came running to the sound of my voice. 60 seconds may not sound like a long time, but when you can't find your dog for that long, it feels like an eternity.
She may have been on a critter trail !!! :D
 

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I agree that is scary. Might need to put a little GPS tracker on her next time :)
 

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When I was 16 I was walking my dobe, who was perfectly trained. He had a tab for a leash (the neighborhood we lived in was very friendly and everyone loved max) and he always heeled beside me.
Well didnt one day he get spooked by a misfiring car and run all the way home. Found him on the porch howling his fool head off looking at me like 'WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME HERE ALL ALONE?!'

If you havn't 'lost' your dog, you're not a dog owner!

LOL, maybe not the best saying :crazy:

But I bet it makes you feel better!:D
 

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I'm still faster than her and could catch her easily if she decided to run from me.
Sorry, but if she really wanted to get away from you, you wouldn't catch her. She lets you catch her. Even the smallest dog can outrun the average person.
 

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Ruby, the sheltie on the left here, was running off leash with our other two dogs in a wooded area as they had done many, many times before. ruby was just about 10 months old. On this particular day a group of high school cross country runners were training in the woods, and Ruby took off after/with them and refused all calls to return. Luckily, the boys noticed her after about a 1/2 mile and turned around to see us trying to catch them. They circled back around, Ruby still with them, and brought her back to us. Whew! Talk about panicked! She stayed on the 20' leash for the better part of the next year before we felt she was reliable enough to go it off leash again. Scary!
 

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Don't feel bad about keeping her on a long line for a while. My 18 month old Sch dog is ALWAYS on a long line unless she is in a fenced area. I NEVER want her to know that she can ignore a command. She'll stay on a long line until she is retired from training. It is very easy for them to learn that "come" is optional. I'm glad you got her back.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Don't feel bad about keeping her on a long line for a while. My 18 month old Sch dog is ALWAYS on a long line unless she is in a fenced area. I NEVER want her to know that she can ignore a command. She'll stay on a long line until she is retired from training. It is very easy for them to learn that "come" is optional. I'm glad you got her back.
Like I said, I don't think it was an act of disobedience, as she has always listened 100% of the time. Even during play time at puppy school, if I call her she comes immediately. No other dog in the class comes when they're called if they're in the middle of playing with other dogs.

Like I said, this was the first time she had been to those trails with only one of us, and I think it confused her and made her nervous. I believe she went into the bushes thinking she needed to find my girlfriend, because that's what we do every time we're there, and in that exact spot. Cedar does not like it when we split up. If me and my girlfriend aren't within 10-15 feet of each other at the trails, Cedar gets anxious and tries to get us back together. She likes to be right beside both of us and hates having to choose only one.

I've since trusted her off leash again and she has been fine. I just know that from now on, when only one of us is with her, she may think she needs to find the other one in areas where we normally play hide and seek with her.

I'm hoping during her bratty stage that she doesn't start to ignore the recall command, otherwise she'll find herself on a leash anytime we're outside.

As for the leash vs no leash, I absolutely prefer her to be off the leash as much as possible. Training her at home is fine, but I like to take her to the dog park, or the trails, let her off the leash, and work with her on commands with all the distractions around. We do that at puppy school, but it's only once a week. I like to work with her every day. Plus I like her to be able to run around and play on her own without being tied to a leash. There's only so much exercise a dog can get while on a leash.
 
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