Walking without leash

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by szecsuani, May 6, 2008.

  1. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I didn't really know where to put this.

    So. I always walk Pami with a leash on, but I'm really against it. I don't like tying the dog to myself.
    So. I want to walk her without a leash, almost everywhere (of course not at the most crowded streets...), but I don't know how to get started.
    I now usually don't put the leash on her when we are walking at night, so she is getting used to this "freedom". She stops at the edge of the pavement, and won't go too far from me, but I still don't think that she would be this well behaved, if I let her go at the afternoon, when the traffic is bigger, and more people are out on the street.
    Don't know if you understood what I wanted to say, but no problem. :)

    So my main question is for those who walk their dogs without a leash. How do you get started when you first let them go?

    This text still sounds odd to me, but I can't say it better...

  2. leema New Member

    In South Australia, it is illegal to not have your dog on lead unless you're in a park or something.

    However, I have seen a guy riding his bike while his dog walked on the footpath. The dog would RUN along the footpath, then sit at a road intersection to wait for his bike-rider to give him a go ahead command.
    I think I would try to teach that the road is a 'boundary' you need to give permission to go across as the very first thing.
  3. stormi Well-Known Member

    I would be scared to let my dogs off leash with traffic around. Even though they are fairly bombproof off lead I would be terrified something would startle them or catch their eye and they would jump in front of a car...but that is just my feelings :dogph34r: . If I have to go near a road I clip their lead back on to walk across the road and then release them once I have got to the other side.

    To your question...I do prefer my dogs to be off lead, and so on a walk e.g. in a wood, on the beach, etc they rarely have leads on. Breeze I didnt 'let loose' till I had had her about 6 months (so she was about 1 year old)...I didnt trust her :dogph34r: . I always carried her toy with me (or if Pami is treat orientated take treats). I made sure she had a very good recall and an instant down before I considered letting her off-lead in public places. I regularly called her back to me for a game and then released her again. Gradually I built up distractions, so now I could e.g. call her away from playing with others dogs. I have confidence in her now to let her run free when I feel it is safe for her to do so and she rarely goes too far away from me because she is either looking to me to produce her toy, or if she strays (in my opinion) too far I just call her back.

    Hope that is of some help?
  4. sarhaspups New Member

    I think there are several things you should have before doing this.
    1. Make sure that it isn't against the law to have your dog off leash. Here is it illegal to have your dog off leash and you can be fined a heavy fine.
    2. Have a good 'heal' command
    3. Have a 100% recall.
    4. Teach your dog boundries.
    I wouldn't let my dog off leash without all of these variables taught and 100% positive my dog knows them.
    That's just my opinion though.
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I agree that an exceptional recall is a must. I would be positive that she will come when called in the presence of traffic, other dogs, people, etc. You can practice this by using a 20-50 foot leash(although she will probably never be this far from you off-leash) and asking for a stay in a park not far from traffic, and with a decent amount of dogs and people. If she hasn't mastered her recall in the presence of other dogs or people, then back up and try it with just one person or one dog. Anyway...
    Ask for a stay perhaps 10 feet from the traffic. Go to the full length of the leash so she doesn't have enough slack to get to the traffic. Then just practice your recalls. Try to find when the park is busiest, and keep practicing. Only once she has gotten down the recall perfectly would I be ready to start off-leash training.
    I'm sure you've heard of the method of leash training where you spin around and head off in the opposite direction when the dog gets too far ahead. This is what I used with Mud to leash-train her, and then I decided to see what she did when I tried it off-leash. She knew to stick with me and stay in place when I spun around, so she made the connection and now she does extremely well off-leash. I let her drag a 6-foot leash during this training just in case. If she decided to take off, I could easily step on the leash and keep her from heading off into traffic or an aggressive dog or anything.
    If you're thinking the same as me, I have a separate definition of off-leash walking and an off-leash heel. I walk Mudflap all the time off-leash, but I am not asking for a heel. A heel in my opinion is more along the lines of the competitive obedience quality heel...and the off-leash walk is simply an off-leash walk. Therefore, I do not ask for eye contact, enthusiasm, etc. I simply ask that she keeps her shoulder even with my knee, stays within about a foot, and pays attention to me. She should not break the position unless given a release command, (I use an ethusiastic, "Okay, good girl!") and she should not leave my side to investigate another dog, cat, horse, person, car, or anything at all.
    If any of that is unclear, feel free to ask and I'll try to give you more details. :)
  6. sarhaspups New Member

    Great post tx cowgirl. I agree with you. What I meant was that you should have an off leash heel meaning, when you say 'heel' she /he comes to your side right away and heels. This can keep your dog safe and also controlled if you come towards someone who doesn't like or is afraid of dogs. You are walking fine lines when walking with your dog off leash and possibly asking for someone to sue you in the case of an accident/ unfortanute event... anything CAN happen no matter how well you think your know your dog. JMO.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Good points. ^^ So that Mud knows the difference between an off-leash walk and just off-leash play, I give her the "on my left" command, and she comes and sits at my left. I say, "Let's go" to begin the walk and snap my fingers if she gets a little too far forward or to the side. I have no idea why. It's just what I do, lol. The snap is what helps her understand that we're not just out playing off-leash. I have never taken her to a public park or anything without a leash. I either let her drag her leash or take it off if the park has hardly anyone there.
    As for off-leash mishaps...I saw a guy at the park today with his frisky chocolate Lab. He was playing fetch in and around the lake, and his dog's recall was less than perfect...lol. He wasn't off-leash trained, although he never abandoned his owner for a chance to chase the geese. I steered clear of them just because I didn't know the dog and he was much large than my petite Mudflap. Had I been a total jerk and wandered straight up to them knowing the larger dog's rough play could injure her, he could get in some trouble. Mud wanted to go join them and was probably thinking something like, "Come on, he gets to swim, why can't I????" I didn't want to have to clean her before getting back in my truck, lol.
    Thank you for the comments. :dogsmile:
  8. brookd2 New Member

    Leash the dog

    :dogtongue2:Never, walk your dog off leash around traffic! Even of you know your dog, you do not know other people or other dogs, not only does the leash keep your dog near you and out of trouble, it allows you to keep him away from things you can not control, like crazy drivers, aggressive dogs, etc. I have a 1yr old german shepherd and I always him on the leash in populated areas, When I am in the park on nature trails are in areas away from roads and large crowds of people I let him off the leash, because like most dogs he stays pretty close and luckily for me he comes when called. But I reccomend if you are in a city, populated area, or near roads, keep him on the leash, you do not want him to get hurt. Also, it is illegal in many areas to have your dog off leash. So unless you are out in the woods, an open area, or an enclosed area, I would not have him off the leash just for his safety.

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