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Taking your puppy off the lead


rach73

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i have a 13 week old Springer, and am unsure whether to risk him off lead, iv heard conflicting evidence for and against, wondered what peoples views were on here

 

My Rottie god bless him was fantastic and walked without a lead as a pup but my springer is full of beans and don't know if he'd bolt

 

he has an extendable lead and recalls well with a treat waiting, how long do i do this for til i risk taking him off ? Is 13 week too young, all advice greatly appreciated

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You are the best judge of that, but retractables teach them to respond to the lead. You're probably better tying a loose washing line to his collar to use as an emergency brake until you know he's reliable

 

Springers are usually fairly 'good' though, if you're going about things right :)

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As Strix says, a long line is better than a retractable and you can leave it to trail and just step on it if you think he's going to do one - you can get very long ones.

 

I find it can be useful to go to a park where there are the sorts of distractions you'd expect (but not too many to start! Try and get a quiet time of day) when walking but to use the tennis/basketball courts which are enclosed and secure to practice your recall before going out into the open.

 

Most people say better to do it sooner than later because they don't have the confidence to run off, but they'll still develop that confidence and if you don't manage to get him back and he gets to reward himself by playing with other dogs/eating something/sniffing scents while you're trying to get him back, he'll learn that it's more fun not to come back so better to have the security of a long line and some training behind you.

 

I tend to think a good progression is to teach recall in the house and garden, then go to the park and practice recall whilst on the lead, then into tennis/basket ball courts and practice off the lead, if that goes well, pop on a long line and take them onto a field with few distractions, practice on there, then start working up to busier areas.

 

Tip:

If you're finding he's not coming to you, turn your back on him and start to run away from him slowly and bouncy, calling his name. They often follow you better if you aren't facing them.

Don't stand still, keep moving and keep changing direction all the time - he won't know where you're going to go next so will start to keep a closer eye on you

Try playing games - hide and seek style - hide behind a tree (not completely - he should still see you at first) and call him in an excited tone, when he gets to you make a big fuss of the fact he found you.

 

Usually the reason dogs run off and don't come back is because the owners are boring, just walking along and other dogs, other people, other smells etc. are MUCH more fun. So make being with you loads of fun :)

 

If you want to email me at: training@pawsitivelypets.co.uk I can send you the handout on recall that I give out in classes :)

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I'd go with a washing line or training line too, as retractables teach them to pull.

 

Just make sure that the first few times you let him off he's somewhere nice and safe away from roads and you never allow him off for more than a minute without calling him back for a treat and a fuss, so he gets used to working in a cycle which starts and ends frequently with you.

 

The age is not important, but the stage of development, understanding and happiness of recall matter far more. Only you know whether he's ready for the risks of being off a lead.

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I'd go with a washing line or training line too, as retractables teach them to pull.

 

Just make sure that the first few times you let him off he's somewhere nice and safe away from roads and you never allow him off for more than a minute without calling him back for a treat and a fuss, so he gets used to working in a cycle which starts and ends frequently with you.

 

The age is not important, but the stage of development, understanding and happiness of recall matter far more. Only you know whether he's ready for the risks of being off a lead.

 

2 of my customers have done this method and it works as the puppies are quite young , they are fantastic at recall for a piece of cheese

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why not loose the bias against retractable leads - your posts would seem so much more.

 

 

there is no practical difference between holding a dog on a lead or holding them on a washing line, indeed the retractable lead would be safer - just saying.

 

 

 

the best piece of advice was to start in an enclosed space - tennis court etc, this is how we started with our dog and how I`ve persuaded several friends to let their dog off the lead

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gym rat - the reason retractables don't work so well is because there is always tension on the lead whereas with a long line/washing line you can let it drag or hold it loose :)

 

They certainly have their place and can be really useful - but they're not ideal in this instance when you could use a long line instead.

 

That said, long lines can be cumbersome and I do sometimes suggest that if you want to use a retractable (as they are easier to handle) then use one but pull the lead out with your free hand rather than letting the dog pull it out.

 

Hope that helps explain it's not just a bias :) but yes - tennis courts are great for starting off!

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gym rat - the reason retractables don't work so well is because there is always tension on the lead whereas with a long line/washing line you can let it drag or hold it loose :)

 

They certainly have their place and can be really useful - but they're not ideal in this instance when you could use a long line instead.

 

That said, long lines can be cumbersome and I do sometimes suggest that if you want to use a retractable (as they are easier to handle) then use one but pull the lead out with your free hand rather than letting the dog pull it out.

 

Hope that helps explain it's not just a bias :) but yes - tennis courts are great for starting off!

 

thank you, I have both a retractable and a dog, the retractable I can lock off when required, the dog no so........

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Hi my springer has been off lead since about 17 weeks, but I made sure he was good at recall in the garden first, he knows I have plenty of treats and I reward him every time he comes back. Everyone kept telling me to let him off sooner I just did it when I felt confident to do so. Good luck

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