Marty11- He is a black lab.
Longblades- The whistle is a very good idea- I will try that. He will definitely not be off leash for the entire time that we are at the cottage- it would just be nice for times during the day when we take a walk or go for a swim in the water. We had him on a tie out when we went last summer (we had only had him for a couple of months at that point and we definitely did not want to test it out as he was still getting used to us and would run off on us given the chance). It was just a little bit annoying because he would get tangled up very frequently and we spent most of the time getting him untangled. As I said, when we first got him, he did tend to take off given the opportunity. That has changed as his bond to us has grown- he doesn't stray far... that being said, we have not had a lot of off leash experiences without the confines of a fence, but I would love to get him to that point. I am hoping that by starting to really focus on it now, that we will be able to get enough practice in for me to trust him when the summer arrives.