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At what age did you have decent off leash manners?

  • 6-12 months

    Votes: 16 29.6%
  • 12-18 months

    Votes: 6 11.1%
  • 18-24 months

    Votes: 5 9.3%
  • over 24 months

    Votes: 4 7.4%
  • not yet, but hoping every day.... :)

    Votes: 23 42.6%

  • Total voters
    54
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wondering at what age you had successful off leash experiences with your pup.

Clarifying: A solid recall, good behavior around other people and other dogs, and leaving things on command (including wildlife)
 

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Well... it depends on what you call "successful".

Most puppies are quite reliable when young - they don't want to venture away (pre-programmed to stay near adults to decrease chances of getting eaten by wild animals). As they get a bit older, they start going a little further away to explore the world.

I learned this the hard way - so for my last 2 (and many, many more puppies who stay with me for training), we do as much off leash in safe areas as possible. Recalling off of wildlife from day 1, coming back to me for treats and play and permission to go back to playing. I've still been nervous enough that instructors have had to pry the leash out of my hands and/or unclip my dog because I was too nervous. Things have gone quite well in the woods. Off leash at a dog show environment? I find that much harder than wildlife/woods/fields!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good point, should have clarified that a bit more. :doh:
Since no dog is 100% all of the time, I'm considering most of the time successful.
A solid recall, good behavior around other people and other dogs, and leaving things on command (including wildlife) is what I would consider successful off leash behavior. :crossfing
 

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At 9 months Buddy has an OKish recall I can get him to come back to me and leave most things on command including wildlife.. but the thing that trips us up everytime is when he comes across other poop!!!!!! I have to go up to him and physically drag him away and even then we get into a "who is stronger than who" contest. If I don't drag him off far enough as soon as I let go he runs back. It is so disgusting.
 

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Reeva's recall has been very good right from a pup - except when there is a muddy puddle/water around, Quinn's recall is good but he does sometimes try and push his luck by occasionally turning slightly deaf, but he knows that when I shout the words "Get Here Now" that he had better return quickly. Wildlife I'm not 100% sure about because the bunnies and squirrels disappear very quickly
 

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Most puppies are quite reliable when young - they don't want to venture away (pre-programmed to stay near adults to decrease chances of getting eaten by wild animals). As they get a bit older, they start going a little further away to explore the world.
I'm still in the blissful "cautious to venture too far" phase, and if it lasts forever I sure won't mind ;)

My 11 week old pup (so far) has fantastic recall off leash. Time will tell whether it stays this good, but for now we're taking some active steps to keep it solid. We regularly practice recall and praise through the roof when he comes to us. We train recall treat-free (purely praise-based) so I don't have to have a "high-value" treat handy for him to respond. In my experience, emergency situations where recall is paramount tend to come on the days you left your treats at home. I've seen dogs whose treat reliance hinders obedience when the treats aren't present and I do not want that. We also play lots of hide and seek, which he loves, and lots of chase outside. If he heads somewhere we don't want him to, we often start running the other way and making a spectacle of ourselves. He tries to catch us and ta-dah, pup is right where we wanted him without even realizing it. He just doesn't wanna miss the party!

I know as time goes on he will face more temptations that challenge his recall, but so far we are blessed to have an incredibly people-oriented dog. He has very little interest in other dogs, wildlife, etc. I still worry when he's off-lead, but we're trying to do what we can to capitalize on his current success with recall to the point that he doesn't even consider disobedience as an option.
 

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This is my second comment on this thread. My earlier one said the at 8/9 months Buddy had a pretty good recall in most situations. He is now nearly 1 year and over the past 2 weeks his recall seems to have vanished! I am tearing my hair out and we are now going straight back to basics. He has just gotten so sure of himself, he just does what HE wants and comes back to me only if he thinks I have a morsel of steak for him!!!!! . So annoying!!
 

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Well, not to seem flippant but your dog becomes reliable off leash when you have spent the time training your dog for it and training yourself to be alert for the signals that indicate there might be an environmental distraction around that needs to be redirected ...

There is no magic age although training happy rewarding recalls every day from day one will certainly help.

The recall should still be worked regularly when your dog is 14 years old.
 

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Well, not to seem flippant but your dog becomes reliable off leash when you have spent the time training your dog for it and training yourself to be alert for the signals that indicate there might be an environmental distraction around that needs to be redirected ...

There is no magic age although training happy rewarding recalls every day from day one will certainly help.

The recall should still be worked regularly when your dog is 14 years old.
I got complacent. I thought that once we had achieved a solid recall that as long as I continued to praise and fuss him plenty when he came back each time, that the recall instinct was pretty much a done deal! But the past few weeks he seems to have gone deaf on me!
 

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I couldn't really vote in the poll because I have three dogs and 2 of them have very, very reliable recall. The third will come when I call him, but he has impulse control issues, so if he sees something (usually a dog or a child), he cannot control himself and must go see them. Then he comes to me. The other two are incredibly reliable and will turn on a dime to come back to me if I call them.

The oldest is 10 and he has fabulous recall and has since he was about 18 months old. The next oldest is going to 9 in October and he's my impulse control issue dog. But he's been as reliable as he is not since he was about 4. The youngest is 2 and he's been extremely reliable since he was 4 1/2 months old.
 

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I didn't vote either.... it depends on the dog and the relationship with the dog. And circumstances. There's no magic age that fixes everything.

Our first golden was pretty good off leash... but then he was also sick so probably did not feel like running when loose on our property. The two boys after him - went years before I could take them outside off leash. My one boy had horrendous elbows and went through pano as well in his first year and couldn't get across a room without stopping to sit and bring his front end up off the ground to get pressure off his front legs.... but with adrenaline - he could run like the wind if he got off leash outside. And you only could catch him when he was ready to be caught.

My two current boys were bonded with me right from the start and did not want to leave my side. That helped as far as them always being trustworthy off leash on the property - right from day one, through their teen months, etc....

Jacks, I kept on leash when hiking away from home.... until he was 3. Not because he ever ran away from me and kept running. But I had the experience of the boy before him being a runner until he was mature.

But after 3 - this dog has been perfect when off leash hiking with me.

Bertie came along and between the influence of Jacks and also his little personality being more Velcro than even Jacks.... he's been off leash on hikes right from day 1.

As far as calling off from wildlife, etc.... that's not an issue. I usually just call them and say "leave it" and that's all it takes.

When hiking out at parks or places where there might be other people and dogs around, my guys are trained to quarter back to my side when they see anyone or anything coming. This is so I can get them back on leash (this was the trained behavior right from the start)... but I could leave them off leash and they quarter back and stay at my side until the other people/animals pass. <- They do this even when they see deer.

Rabbits or squirrels... or birds... they might give chase, but are quickly called off. All this is just training. Doesn't matter how high drive your dog is. They should be trained to obey. Otherwise you are likely to get into situations like something I saw a couple weeks ago....

Somebody's cattle dog got loose and went running for the main road and just started chasing cars left and right. Fortunately, the people in this area are great people. A lot of people stopped their cars and blocked the road. And many got out to help the owner catch their dog. End of the story was the owner catching their dogs and tearfully walking back to their car, thanking people and crying the whole way.

I've been there with prior dogs (that one with the elbow dysplasia and pano especially) and never want to be in the position of chasing a dog who doesn't want to be caught. Hence - obedience training and working with a dog very closely to get them good off leash (if they get off leash) is so necessary.
 

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We haven't even tried to let Chloe off leash yet. Backyard in fenced yard is the only time. We don't know what she would do or how she would act. We would just rather not take the chance. We have a tether line that we tie to the basketball poll if we are out front. If we ever get out to my aunts to go swimming in her pool that will probably be the first time we let her. Jake always liked to help bring in groceries. Chloe acts like she wants to do the same but not yet. One of these days we will put the tether on her and let go and see how she does.
 

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We haven't even tried to let Chloe off leash yet. Backyard in fenced yard is the only time. We don't know what she would do or how she would act. We would just rather not take the chance. We have a tether line that we tie to the basketball poll if we are out front. If we ever get out to my aunts to go swimming in her pool that will probably be the first time we let her. Jake always liked to help bring in groceries. Chloe acts like she wants to do the same but not yet. One of these days we will put the tether on her and let go and see how she does.
Are there any "safe" areas near to your home where she could eventually have some test walks off leash. I don't know if you are in the town or the countryside....?
 

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Are there any "safe" areas near to your home where she could eventually have some test walks off leash. I don't know if you are in the town or the countryside....?
We live in a housing subdivision. No major roads but plenty of traffic through our neighborhood. Funny as I typed that Saturday my dad took her for a walk. He didn't use her harness. Her collar seems to be not working right as it goes bigger for no reason. Anyway she got out of it twice. I don't know if she didn't realize it but she didn't go anywhere and he was able to get it back on her.
 

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my girl is 8.5 months old. her recall is ok. we spend alot of time at the dog park. she does great when she meets other dogs. i let her sniff and when i think its enough i call and start walking away and she will follow me no problem. its harder to get her to listen when there is a big group of dogs and they are all running and playing. then i usually dont bother calling her cause i know shes not going to listen. thats when i walk and leash her to me and once i give a slight pull and tell her its enough she easily follows at my side and will walk away. but she needs that leash tug to snap her out of it. other than that she is really good. doesnt chase animals to much. she will chase for a few seconds and give up so i never have to worry about her full on chasing an animal for miles. and when she gets a little to chasey i just have to give her a HEY. and she stops. it gets better and better each visit to the dog park though. around people she can be off leash no problem and listens well. even by the road she does really good and sticks close by. hopoefully she continues to get better and better.
 

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I didn't vote either because I just haven't put in the work. Plus I am too anxious to let him off if there is any chance he might not return.
 

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So today we started a process to see how Chloe does off leash. She went out front on her long lead and we just dropped it to see how she did. She did great. Didn't try to take off or anything. She probably thought someone was holding the other end but it was a start to see how she does.
 
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