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Old January 22nd, 2012, 03:50 PM
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FionaBeth FionaBeth is offline
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Off-Leash Training

I was just wondering if anybody could offer any advice/point me in the right direction of how to go about training my dog to walk with my husband and I off-leash. We will be spending a week at our cottage this summer, and we are really hoping to be able to have him off leash while there . Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated- I am a little worried about it because of course he is still a dog, and I am concerned that he will chase something into the woods and not be able to find his way back (the property is huge and most of it is forest). I realize that one of the things I will need to perfect is his recall- his is okay, not great (suggestions for this would be great too). Unfortunately we were not able to train him while he was a puppy as we adopted him at age 1. Thanks!
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 04:06 PM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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What breed is your dog?
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 04:55 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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My boy has impressive recall but I wouldn't let him off the leash for a week at a cottage. I feel comfortable taking him for a walk off leash, most of his walks are off leash anyway. But, as you say, he's a dog. I would not trust him to stay at the cottage with me without very close supervision. Or a tie-out. Or he stays in the cottage.

I am keen on whistles now, since they work so well for my dog. Have you tried whistle training? What is the absolute best reward in the whole world you could offer your dog? That should be his reward for coming to you. If you don't trust the recall you have now a method to revamp is to change it up for another cue, such as a whistle instead of whatever word you use now. Or a new word.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 05:20 PM
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FionaBeth FionaBeth is offline
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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.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 05:45 PM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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Labs are pretty good off leash. I have high prey dogs so I can never have them off leash. A good recall is important! I know how you feel I go a cottage every summer as well, you hate to tie them up.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:06 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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[QUOTE=FionaBeth;1033135]Marty11- He is a black lab.

QUOTE]Oh well, you're good to go then. Black Labs are THE most perfect dog. LOL, guess what my boy is?
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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:39 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FionaBeth View Post
I was just wondering if anybody could offer any advice/point me in the right direction of how to go about training my dog to walk with my husband and I off-leash. We will be spending a week at our cottage this summer, and we are really hoping to be able to have him off leash while there . Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated- I am a little worried about it because of course he is still a dog, and I am concerned that he will chase something into the woods and not be able to find his way back (the property is huge and most of it is forest). I realize that one of the things I will need to perfect is his recall- his is okay, not great (suggestions for this would be great too). Unfortunately we were not able to train him while he was a puppy as we adopted him at age 1. Thanks!
Hi FionaBeth,

My husband and I have an adopted 5-6yr old beagle/hound dog - a notorious wanderer! It took us about a year to figure out a method to achieve a good recall. Before that our dog would completely ignore us in favour of SCENTS and we almost lost her a couple times off-leash! We tried all kinds of treats, whistles, and super long leashes. Here's what worked for us:

- The Game requires 2 people, lots of treats, your voice and/or whistle (recall command), and a safe, open space
- Your friend or partner occupies the dog (with play or something fun they know) while you discretely slip away a certain distance
- You will then say the recall command
- The dog should notice you and want to go to see you, the faster, the better
- Treat them as soon as they get to you with lots of praise, etc.
- As you have the dog occupied, your friend/partner calls the dog> dog should notice them and want to race towards them>treats, praise, etc.

The distance that you stand apart depends on how eager your dog is to go see you. Start out small and work your way up to greater distances. At first you may have to say/do more than just the recall command to get your dog's attention. But once your dog understands the game, they may start running to you without any command at all (which is still a good time to drill in your recall command). You can also make this game more challenging by hiding behind trees or other things and calling your dog to really "find" you.

If you're dog isn't coming over to you, or easily distracted en route, go back to the basics and be patient. End The Game early so you dog doesn't lose interest and you end on a positive note. We started with just a couple back-and-forth calls at about 10 meters apart. Each dog is different.

I think that trainers may call this a "restrained recall"? Although we didn't really hold our dog back that much.

Hope that helps! Let me know!
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