Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
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I didn't let Piper off a long lead until I was really really really convinced of her having a solid recall. She was probably a year or so old before I really let her off leash--and she was the type who always hung around me. She's never strayed out of eyeshot really, and her recall was great for her age, but I didn't trust her. But that age is when dogs can start to act like teenagers and be independent and a little less mindful, so I didn't want her running off and getting into trouble.
We have only done pretty light hiking up til this point, and not a lot of climbing up rocky surfaces where she would have to jump up (and eventually she'd have to go down). I'm a believer in not doing a lot of jumping and hard exercise until a dog is 2 (so no going for runs with me etc, no strenuous hiking). But especially at that age dogs are young and their joints can be vulnerable, since there is some thought that joint dysplasia can be exacerbated by that. Piper would run or hike until she collapsed. I didn't wrap her in bubble wrap, she would jump for balls, wrestles with dogs when playing, and has absolutely biffed it on my hardwood floors before, but we tried not to overdo it.
She turns two in a week and I'm excited to start doing that stuff with her this spring. She's much more likely to want to jump and leap now than ever before. Her recall is really solid at this point, so I feel like I can trust her more.
She's got a great nose though, and does the same thing Cooper does with high vantage points. But she's always sniffing things out--she tracks rabbits who live in the green space by my apartment, sniffs footprints and pawprints in the snow. She runs behind people to sniff the scent they leave in their wake, sniffs the wind. If I throw a ball and she doesn't see where it lands, she runs around sniffing the ground until she finds it (and 99% of the time, does).