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Two weeks ago Apollo and I went down for our first walk in the forest. With all the new sounds and smells he was in love. We’d been working on our recall just earlier that day and he’d done so good I decided I’d drop the leash and see how things went. He was of course, simply amazing. He’d run ahead and sniff everything, even stopping or coming back to get me if I took too long to catch up.


Just last week we went again, and again I dropped the leash and all went well at first. Twenty minutes into our walk two riders on horses came trotting around the corner and all the puppy could think to do was back up to the edge of the path and bark. I grabbed the leash as quick as I could and apologized to the riders. They laughed and all was well, no harm done until one found out Apollo isn’t even six months old yet. They said he was too young to be off leash and his reaction to the horse was proof enough.


I’m no professional trainer, nor have we gone to see one. I don’t compete in anything or ever have plans too, our puppy was always just meant as a fun family dog. I was so happy I could just drop his leash and take him for a short hike with me but their comment made me question if maybe Apollo is too young to be off a leash. He’s still just puppy with boundless energy, and interacting with new things all the time. He hasn’t the first clue what heel is and I never planned on teaching it. He doesn’t always listen to everything we ask but he does love being with us. When he plays with other dogs he always comes back just to say hi and runs right off again without us ever asking.


So is he too young to be off leash?
 

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I might be wrong, but i agree with them
6 months to me is too young, not mature enough to have the confidence . And also, I would have a perfect recall before i offleash the dog. there's skunk everywhere, i don't want my dog to sniff their butt getting sprayed....
 

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I have seen some young dogs behave very well off-leash but generally would agree that 6 months is too young. They're still discovering things and so easily distracted. Mine is 10 months and I'm doing off-leash in short spurts when I know nobody else is around to work on heeling, recall and just generally getting him used to it.

The opposite happened to me — I had an Annoying Dog Owner™ lecture me about letting my dog go off leash all the time, while her dog was bounding down the trail with no training whatsoever. I just know Remy's not quite there yet but we're working towards it.
 

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I got a retractable leash for Dexter, 6 1/2 months, just for the trails.

Like your puppy he does really well at the off leash areas and will come back when called. However on the trails he needs to be leashed. There are days where we dont run into anyone else so I will allow him to go out further and call him back when hes getting to the end of the leash just for practice. he really likes the freedom and it works well for us since he loves to check in with everyone in our group constantly.
 

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We have a hiking/walking trail near us. For about half a mile it's dead straight. I have both my puppies off leash at this section. We all enjoy it. Also, I get to test their recall. Baron is very good at it, Willow follows him.
They are 7 and 4.5 months old. Very rarely do we encounter people on the trail. When I see someone in the distance, I call the dogs to me and leash up.
I really enjoy watching the dogs run through the forest. I know they enjoy it. Plus they get a little better of an exercise from it.
Just my opinion.
 

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This should of been a good enough eye opener. Obviously horses use these trails - a dog that returns to a silent heel with a very well proofed recall would be ok in that situation. A dog that skirts to the sides and barks is NOT ok. He's only 6 months now so resorts to barking - in 2-3 months when he starts to braven up and go through his fearless stage, that avoid and bark may turn into a confrontation. Which is dangerous to all parties involved.

It usually takes a pretty sound horse to be an average trail horse. But a barking pup could of easily spooked a horse, and at that moment you had no physical control on your dog even though you were able to luckily grab his leash.

I let Berlin off leash in certain situations like large fields and parks - he's 6.5 months old and has a decent recall. But in a situation like a trail where I CAN'T see around the next bend, I would never trust it.
 

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i think he can be off leash in a controlled enviroment. his reaction
to the horse is probably because he hasn't be around horses. i made
sure my pup was around horses, bikers, joggers, flocks of birds, etc.
because i knew we were going to be in the woods a lot. "think ahead
to stay ahead".
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice, I had a chance to talk to some of the riders who use the trails and we've made a play date for the pup to visit their stables and just walk around. Of course he will be leashed during the time but hopefully it'll give him a chance to develop a proper reaction to horses.

In the mean time we'll find a trail horses don't use. His recall is great around people, i'm just happy to know that he's not to young to be off leash so we can keep working on it.
 

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6 months is probably a good age to go back ON leash.

I had Beau off leash from 8 weeks until he started testing limits then we had to get some things straight but it was not too bad.
 

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i'm just happy to know that he's not to young to be off leash so we can keep working on it.
Seems to me the majority on here said he IS too young? Especially since he's just now entering his "naughty" stage.

I guess I just don't understand when people ask a question, ignoring all the answers that say one thing and listen to the one or two answers that simply support what they wanted to hear :confused:



Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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IMO, I think Apollo was just intimidated and (or) spooked by the horses because he probably hasn't seem them before :). This was a good experience for him and soon I think he will learn that its nothing major! How good is he on recall? Because if he is really good then off leash wouldn't matter, he'd just come running back to you no matter what the situation is :).
 
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