When to start letting Willow off the lead?

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Ruthio
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Joined: 16 Jul 2014, 22:08
Location: Broadstairs, Kent

When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Ruthio » 31 Jul 2014, 13:21

Willow is now 14 weeks and is desperate to run and play and bounce around, both in the park and on the beach where she goes most days.

I've been reading up about recall training, and I'm wondering if it's time to just bite the bullet and let her go?

We have a beach near us that is fairly secluded with no escape to the road available, and I was thinking I might give this a try.

My only concern is people and other dogs, she is so desperate to say hello to each an every person that she spies, I'm not sure i'll ever get her to come back!

Any tips?

Willow after her first trip to the groomers on Saturday -

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Willow a few hours later after a walk in the rain!

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Ruth & Willow

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jonb
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Joined: 19 Sep 2013, 12:09

Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by jonb » 31 Jul 2014, 13:53

Took me ages to build up the courage to do it and in the end it happened when we were out with friends and their dog who was fine off the lead. Roker had been shadowing her pretty much the whole day so i let him off and initially he still walked alongside us as if he wasnt sure what to do then gradually built up to running around with our friends dog. Now we generally let him off when possible and he's fine apart from the odd occasion of standard labradoodle cloth ear syndrome if something is more interesting!! I tend to stick to areas i know well so i know whats round the corner or where particular issues may arise in terms of other dogs etc.

pixie's mum
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by pixie's mum » 31 Jul 2014, 14:04

If you can go with another doggie friend that would be great as willow would no doubt stay close
Otherwise lots of tasty treats and squeaky toys to keep focus.
At 14 weeks I doubt you'll have much problem but at 7 months they can be little buggers at recall
A safe park or beach is a great place to start.
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Ruthio
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Location: Broadstairs, Kent

Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Ruthio » 31 Jul 2014, 14:25

Thanks,

Good advice, I have actually just texted a friend who I haven't seen for far too long and arranged a beach visit. I've just realised how few people I actually know with dogs anymore! Such a shame :-(

My parents have two teeny weeny little dogs, but they didn't take to Willow on the first meet. They are very much my mums babies and get very jealous if any attention is offered elsewhere. She is already much bigger than them and very bouncy.

I'll have to make the effort to meet more dog lovers for Willow's sake!
Ruth & Willow

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Doodle Dee
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Doodle Dee » 31 Jul 2014, 14:27

have you tried a long lead with recall or tried at home and in the garden. Use special treats for recall (different to training) so she has something to come back to.

Good luck let us know how you get on
Lulu & Dx

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Ruthio
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Joined: 16 Jul 2014, 22:08
Location: Broadstairs, Kent

Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Ruthio » 31 Jul 2014, 14:31

Doodle Dee wrote:have you tried a long lead with recall or tried at home and in the garden. Use special treats for recall (different to training) so she has something to come back to.

Good luck let us know how you get on
She's fine in the garden, not too many distractions I think! When we hit the beach she gets a crazy look in her eye and is all over the place. I might get one of those super long training leads and see how that works :-)
Ruth & Willow

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Madeleine
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Madeleine » 31 Jul 2014, 14:51

Good advice, It's scarey but I think you'll find your puppy will stay close to you anyway.
One other tip is to go when your dog has empty stomach! The treats Will then be more tempting. We used small pieces of cheese or frankfurters the smell is very strong! We froze the frankfurter in small pieces which defrosts easily.
You can practice in the garden and use the same word for recall, ie 'come', some people use whistles.
We are lucky to have a large field and aimed for the middle, also probably better to go with someone.
Good luck, it'll be fine.
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Bid
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Bid » 31 Jul 2014, 14:57

I think the sooner the better to let them off lead. If you do it when they are small and a bit scared of the big wide world they tend to stick close to you and worry about getting lost. If you leave it until they are more confident they don't!

My handy hints would be ...

Start when there are no distractions around.

Show her a treat, let her off the lead, and skip away saying "This way Willow! Willow come!" in a happy excited voice and she should skip along after you for her treat.

Try and hide form her for a few seconds so she starts to come looking for you.

WHen you call her, if she doesn't come running, run away from her.

Always make a huge fuss when she comes back, briefly hold her collar, and then tell her to "go play!" so that coming back to you isnt the end of fun, just a chance for a tasty treat.

Good luck, and don't panic!
www.dogtrekker.co.uk
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Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices - Byron

jonb
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Joined: 19 Sep 2013, 12:09

Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by jonb » 31 Jul 2014, 15:02

We also have one of the long lines that i got for not a lot off eBay and is good quality. It was recommended as an idea by our dog trainer in that you can give them a bit more room as its longer plus compared to a retractable line they actually feel as though they are off the lead so better training but it also means that if you do need to chase\retrieve them as cloth ears has kicked in you have a lot more to work with in terms of catching them as instead of having to get close to grab them\the collar you can just grab the trailing however many metres of lead!!

This is the one i got....choose your length and lead style, i went for a 30ft checked one :-
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dog-Horse-Tra ... 43bc8ab7bd

swardie
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by swardie » 31 Jul 2014, 15:53

Firstly, Willow is gorgeous!!!! Secondly, we had our Dex off lead from the start ( not in high risk situations , obvs). But as our lovely Doodlers have said, it takes confidence, consistency in your training, and trust in each other- but seeing your Dood free running on a beach , field or wherever, knowing he/ she is having a ball, but will come back to get their lead on when you want them to is wonderful! PS- I'm not the best trainer in the world, or the most knowledgeable, but sometimes you have to take that leap of faith! Good luck, and let us know how you get on . Xx

dexysback
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by dexysback » 31 Jul 2014, 16:53

Dexter was off lead from the start ,in a safe place i think the younger the better cause they stay close,even know dexter goes so far and keeps lookin to see if we are coming ,but if he sees a cat its a differnt story ,so away from any roads.
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Mollysmom
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Mollysmom » 31 Jul 2014, 20:28

Your puppy is adoreable so reminds me of Molly at that age.Image.

I let Molly off leash almost from the start she never goes far from me. At 4 months old she learned how to unlatch the gate to the garden with her nose. But even though she could run she never did she stayed in the front yard. I was so scared I had lost her the first time she did it because I had left her in the yard and went for a quick run to the store. I was gone maybe 15 minutes and came home to the gate wide open. I never got out of the car so fast in my life. There was Molly sleeping under the bench. She looked up at me as if to say what wrong mom. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. She is so good I have since moved the latch so she can no longer reach it. I would say let her off as soon as possible. While she's off leash play with her keep her interested in what your doing take a ball or a tug toy with you and let her run around but keeping her attention on you while she's off leash I did this with Molly and now she's perfect she ignores cats dogs people unless I tell her its OK she stays close to me. She is only 6 months old so she still slips once in awhile but for the most part she's great on or off leash. I now let her run on her own but she always has one eye on me she doesn't want to get lost that's for sure. Build a great bond with your puppy and they will respond in kind.
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oakesr
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by oakesr » 31 Jul 2014, 21:30

I was so nervous the first time Roma was let off the lead, I had visions of her just running and running and never coming back!

Someone on here said to me "why would she not come back to you? You are the person who loves, feeds, walks and plays with her?" That really made me think clearly and, of course, she came back!

Roma went to the beach for her first walk; I think that's an ideal place.

Good luck, you'll both enjoy it :)
Rachel & Roma
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Ruthio
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Ruthio » 01 Aug 2014, 10:04

Thanks all!

Well I went a bought a 10m training lead, loaded myself up with treats and set off for the beach last night at about 6.30 when its just getting quieter.

The beach I went to has a really quiet section that few people go to, so I went there first. I found a spot, made myself comfortable then swapped Willows normal lead for the training line. She thought this was a great game at first, and had lots of fun tangling herself up and adventuring further and further. she definitely saw me as her base camp and happily came back every time I called.

Then I decided she was ready for stage two, so we wandered around to the next part of the beach, where there were children playing cricket and dogs running around happily. This was more of a challenge, and the training line was handy as it gave me enough confidence to know that I could stop her if I needed to. We found a spot again, and she happily pootled around, with the occasion charge off so say hello to people.

I think I'll try her a few more times with the training lead, then try her without. My concern is not so much other off lead dogs, I am happy for them to work out their issues amongst themselves, but I just want to ensure she doesn't harass on lead dogs that are not friendly, or terrify small children, or more likely their parents, by bounding over to them uninvited.

Overall, it's definite progress, and I will keep at it!
Ruth & Willow

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Sarahdol75
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Re: When to start letting Willow off the lead?

Post by Sarahdol75 » 13 Aug 2014, 15:37

I had Harley at 8 weeks old, and let him off the lead straight away after all his injections, he was brilliant, never went far always looked for me and came when called. It is now when he is 6 months old, and not listening to me and wandering off, and if we are in a field on our own, he is good, but if he sees another dog right across the field, he just legs it, I can call him, tell him no and to stay, he just looks at me as if he is laughing then legs it again. Then theres me legging it across the field calling him and apologising to the other dog owner, as dont know if that dog is ok with others. He is a pain.
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