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I think off leash should be the ultimate goal, as long as you have control of your dogs and can reliably recall them off of a child riding a bike, a cat, another dog, etc.
 

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I usually test them in the woods and such with a long lead. With the hopes of seeing a trigger like a squirrel or deer that won't call the authorities is a dog runs at them and scares them lol Or if we encounter another hiker I like to see if I can always call them back before they jerk on the lead.Once I can reliably call them off various triggers without the slack of the lead being pulled out before they stop, then I'll start off lead again in the woods. If he does chase a squirrel or something without the back up security of the long lead, I'm panicked, the quarry is panicked, but there are no people that have been unfairly scared by a German Shepherd off lead bounding up to them. Once they are proven in those situations, then I'll allow them off lead in more populated places, like my un fenced front yard.

Everyone has an obligation to be a good German Shepherd owner(well dog owner in general, but this a GSD forum and they can be more judged than your average mutt). If your dog is not yet a good ambassador for the breed, just make sure you practice off lead in areas where unsuspected people will NOT suffer from the consequences of too much too soon. Maybe just the random squirrel lol
 

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I would be very careful in comparing a quiet, neutral wooded area as a distraction to a busier, unfenced front yard. Add in an average GSD's innate tendency to be protective and territorial of its home, and things can have quite a different and not so nice ending.
 

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Oh absolutely. I was listing the order of working on it. To be honest, I never let them off lead even if they are trustworthy, in a park, town or busy setting. Too much can go wrong. Safety wise and liability wise. If something happens, even if they are not at fault, guess what? You were breaking the leash laws.If someone was threatening to him, but didn't follow through with their intentions because your dog stopped them? They won't know what was in the bad guy's mind..they will just know your off leash dog was aggressive. Not worth it.

The extent of off lead in town is my front lawn and only after he has proven that people or prey can't call him away, flawlessly. My boyfriend lives in a very wooded areas with lots of acreage. My goal for off leash is hikes and exploration in those settings.

As for populated areas , if their leash manners are good there is no reason to not be able to pleasantly do things with them on a 6 to 8 ft lead in populated settings. If their leash manners are NOT pleasant that is only more reason not to let them off lead, and to work on their lead manners.
 

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I should add I live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone. I know all of my neighbors on my street and we all know our dogs. It's a quiet street. Yesterday the neighbor kids were trying to call him for me and he would not leave the lawn until I released him to go say hello. It is a dead end too. This was worked up to using long leads. Not trial and error.

To the OP not trying to sound preachy but if the question is in your mind, they should not be off lead in a park. You could lose your dogs for liability reasons even if something wasn't your fault. And if the town you are in has leash laws it wont matter what happened or why- you would be cited and held liable for anything that happened. Just a heads up.
 

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You can't stop a child, another dog, a neighbor's escaped cat, or a delivery man from coming onto unfenced property. It doesn't matter how well trained your dog is.

There was a thread on this forum where somebody's dog was lying on its front lawn with its owner on the porch. This GSD was raised with children and knew the neighbor's child that approached to pet it when it nipped. It almost lost its life due to that town's excessive all breed dangerous dog laws which called for the dog to be put down, no excuses. An out of state trainer on this board stepped up to take the dog and the judge permitted this dog with a bite history to be transported across state lines (to an area where it most likely will have a clean slate) in lieu of euthanasia.
 

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My 3 month old GSD is weirdo.

If I have him on the leash, he will try to drag me all over the place (not trained yet). If triggered by some interesting smell, he won't listen to anything.

However once I take off the leasch, he will walk right next to me, check me every two steps and listen to every command, even if there's something extremely interesting like squirrel or another puppy. I test it every day and without leasch he's like and angel. On the leasch he's a little crazy devil.

:crazy:

I guess it has to do something with security, connection and confidence, that leasch gives him.
 

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My 3 month old GSD is weirdo.

If I have him on the leash, he will try to drag me all over the place (not trained yet). If triggered by some interesting smell, he won't listen to anything.

However once I take off the leasch, he will walk right next to me, check me every two steps and listen to every command, even if there's something extremely interesting like squirrel or another puppy. I test it every day and without leasch he's like and angel. On the leasch he's a little crazy devil.

:crazy:

I guess it has to do something with security, connection and confidence, that leasch gives him.
That is typical puppy behavior. Take advantage of it, imprint the behavior, repeat the behavior and let it become second nature, keep the leash off unless you are not in a secure area.
 

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You can't stop a child, another dog, a neighbor's escaped cat, or a delivery man from coming onto unfenced property. It doesn't matter how well trained your dog is.

There was a thread on this forum where somebody's dog was lying on its front lawn with its owner on the porch. This GSD was raised with children and knew the neighbor's child that approached to pet it when it nipped. It almost lost its life due to that town's excessive all breed dangerous dog laws which called for the dog to be put down, no excuses. An out of state trainer on this board stepped up to take the dog and the judge permitted this dog with a bite history to be transported across state lines (to an area where it most likely will have a clean slate) in lieu of euthanasia.
With all due respect, if they felt comfortable with their dog off lead on their front lawn to the point where they were on the porch and a familiar child was approached and was nipped or bitten...their mistake was in judging whether or not the dog was trained and trustworthy enough to be on their lawn unleashed. They thought it was ok, they were wrong. Most sound dogs would not nip a child for petting it, especially if they know it.They misjudged their animal.

Surely this can't mean that no dog, ever, should be allowed on their front property unleashed no matter how trained. A random person on a thread is very unknown in their judgement or description of the dog's level of training, or of the safety of the situation. Maybe I am right in my assessment and maybe they were wrong. My trainer is cool with it. But then again, I am bothering with a trainer and well sticking with the program and what he has taught me. Money well spent.

We also have a town ordinance that does not deem it a vicious bite if someone comes onto your property unknown to you, or against your explicit wishes.
 

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With all due respect, if they felt comfortable with their dog off lead on their front lawn to the point where they were on the porch and a familiar child was approached and was nipped or bitten...their mistake was in judging whether or not the dog was trained and trustworthy enough to be on their lawn unleashed. They thought it was ok, they were wrong. Most sound dogs would not nip a child for petting it, especially if they know it.They misjudged their animal.

Surely this can't mean that no dog, ever, should be allowed on their front property unleashed no matter how trained. A random person on a thread is very unknown in their judgement or description of the dog's level of training, or of the safety of the situation. Maybe I am right in my assessment and maybe they were wrong. My trainer is cool with it. But then again, I am bothering with a trainer and well sticking with the program and what he has taught me. Money well spent.

We also have a town ordinance that does not deem it a vicious bite if someone comes onto your property unknown to you, or against your explicit wishes.
You are missing the entire point. 1) You can't control the variables when your property is unfenced. 2) You can't ignore the added impact of protective or territorial behaviors that won't be experienced in a neutral wooded area, and hence, have not trained for.
 

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I usually test them in the woods and such with a long lead. With the hopes of seeing a trigger like a squirrel or deer that won't call the authorities is a dog runs at them and scares them lol Or if we encounter another hiker I like to see if I can always call them back before they jerk on the lead.
Harassment of wildlife is illegal in most areas. And the mention of other hikers makes it sound like you are proofing your dogs in public nature preserves/state parks?

Untrained dogs do not belong off leash or on long lines in areas like that any more than they do in town.

Dogs are losing privileges in many areas of public trails and backwoods areas. It's not a place to proof training if we want to retain the ability to have our dogs as a hiking companions.
 

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I personally, have trained for them. If you mean benign children from the neighborhood, mailman while I am there on the lawn with him teaching him proper behavior around regular people that I am amicable with, then yes I personally have trained for that.. with a known trainer. If you mean a threat coming on to my property, know we have not experienced or trained for THAT, and I hope he would protect us...but we are covered legally if he is being protective over someone who is there against my wishes or without an invite.

Who knows if the OP has trained for that normal neighborhood stuff? THAT was the point. I worked my way up to where we are in person with a known trainer. I was explaining to OP him if he hasn't, he shouldn't have them off lead in public. And probably not at all because what happens in public has different parameters than someone walking on your lawn.

Again, personally, I don't come here for serious training advice. Maybe for tips on annoying minor things as I like to hear how people dealt with normal pup stages. How can someone give serious advice responsibly without seeing owner and dog? If people ask I will contribute my experience but you won't see me asking anonymous people "should I be on my lawn with my dog off leash". That is some in person trainer stuff right there.

I had a good dog go rogue. The minute he started acting odd, he was always on lead and supervised with strangers. And then he got worse and the worse happened. It was a slow thing though. It wasn't oh he is well trained and awesome then suddenly bit the neighbor's kid. Dog had some genetic nerve issues going on that unfolded over almost a year with maturity. Or a brain tumor who knows. I immediately consulted my trainer, not the internet. That is the advice I'd give anyone for anything of significance. And I consider off lead significant.

So OP- work with a trainer with a good reputation. Before you trust him off lead anywhere. Even on your lawn.
 

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Harassment of wildlife is illegal in most areas. And the mention of other hikers makes it sound like you are proofing your dogs in public nature preserves/state parks?

Untrained dogs do not belong off leash or on long lines in areas like that any more than they do in town.

Dogs are losing privileges in many areas of public trails and backwoods areas. It's not a place to proof training if we want to retain the ability to have our dogs as a hiking companions.
You are right and perhaps that part of my post was worded poorly. By long line, I mean an 8 ft leather lead. I have never let my dogs chase wildlife. I said to test him on a lead before letting him loose. If he jerks the lead when he sees wildlife and you need to correct, then don't let him off lead? I was outlining my steps. Once it was obvious he was solid while on lead, he earned trust through proofing. And he well ignores other people. Is friendly but never approaches them. Sits to be pet when I ask him to. How else would you suggest?
 

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I think off leash should be the ultimate goal, as long as you have control of your dogs and can reliably recall them off of a child riding a bike, a cat, another dog, etc.
And if you gave this as a goal to the OP, but think I should not have him off lead on my front lawn even though I have been working him with a trainer extensively who is well known and has a long standing reputation in this area ..could you please share HOW this should be achieved?
 

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Or are you saying that they can be trained safe off lead in a park but are too protective of property boundaries to ever be trusted? I'm honestly not getting it. I have had dogs that were way more protective outside of the home then at home when I greet people that are invited.

I reread my squirrel portion. I don't advocate chasing squirrels. Sorry if tongue in cheek misconstrued that. I said once they are solid on a longer lead and you can tell they are well trained enough to heed you and not dash to the end of the lead. I had a Jack Russel that was CGC and did agility when I was younger. But was never off lead because critters were just too much for her to handle. Mind shut down and she chased. But, that is what they were bred to do.
 

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I usually test them in the woods and such with a long lead. With the hopes of seeing a trigger like a squirrel or deer that won't call the authorities is a dog runs at them and scares them lol Or if we encounter another hiker I like to see if I can always call them back before they jerk on the lead.Once I can reliably call them off various triggers without the slack of the lead being pulled out before they stop, then I'll start off lead again in the woods. If he does chase a squirrel or something without the back up security of the long lead, I'm panicked, the quarry is panicked, but there are no people that have been unfairly scared by a German Shepherd off lead bounding up to them. Once they are proven in those situations, then I'll allow them off lead in more populated places, like my un fenced front yard.

Everyone has an obligation to be a good German Shepherd owner(well dog owner in general, but this a GSD forum and they can be more judged than your average mutt). If your dog is not yet a good ambassador for the breed, just make sure you practice off lead in areas where unsuspected people will NOT suffer from the consequences of too much too soon. Maybe just the random squirrel lol
Is this private property? The ethics of bothering wildlife aside, I don't know of any state park or municipal hiking area that allows dogs to be off leash. Some I've seen even require a six-foot lead, expressly banning flexis or long lines.

I see what you're getting at, building the dog up in small steps and moving on to the next step when it is reliably successful, but it reads ambiguously on some details.
 

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Is this private property? The ethics of bothering wildlife aside, I don't know of any state park or municipal hiking area that allows dogs to be off leash. Some I've seen even require a six-foot lead, expressly banning flexis or long lines.

I see what you're getting at, building the dog up in small steps and moving on to the next step when it is reliably successful, but it reads ambiguously on some details.
It does read ambigiously in some parts. When I said it is less bad if your dog chases a squirrel in the woods, it came off as condoning it as acceptable. It isn't. I was clear about building it up to it through training and proofing on a lo9ng lead (long line was misused I guess I didn't mean 20 footers) but the chasing squirrels is less bad than chasing humans part was focused on. I never let dogs do that. And I hunt. I still dont let them do that. I borrow a Spaniel when I want to flush wildlife.

Where we go is on my BF's property, or the Appalachian trail. There are no leash ordinances posted in the long list of rules on the trails. No alcolhol , no rifles for hunting etc etc. I always obey posted leash laws.
 
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