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Hi- Becky is 5 mo. And doing well. Loves to train and learn new things. Super busy. I usually walk her twice a day and put her on a tie out as I’d throw balls, sticks, call her to me etc.

So many on here say golden puppies need to exercise off leash or on a long lead. Where do you do that if she doesn’t have a solid recall yet? How do you give enough exercise and freedom to really run at this young age. If not 100% trained yet?

Even on a long lead, how do you keep puppies out of trouble when walking in fields etc. where she can dig up sod, run into burr bushes etc.
 

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Hi- Becky is 5 mo. And doing well. Loves to train and learn new things. Super busy. I usually walk her twice a day and put her on a tie out as I’d throw balls, sticks, call her to me etc.
So many on here say golden puppies need to exercise off leash or on a long lead. Where do you do that if she doesn’t have a solid recall yet? How do you give enough exercise and freedom to really run at this young age. If not 100% trained yet?
Even on a long lead, how do you keep puppies out of trouble when walking in fields etc. where she can dig up sod, run into burr bushes etc.

Find fields and open places and use a long lead. Running, rolling, digging, getting burrs that all happens but when Becky's on a lead you have a little more control. Have fun.
 

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Puddles
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I never put a dog on a tie out... I have a 20ft lead and always want to be on the other end. I never let a 5 month old pup off leash, like you say.. they aren't completely trained yet. We have a park nearby and use the long lead and work on retrieves & recalls. Shoot I use a long leash in my own backyard :) you always want the option to give a quick tug when you call them to you, it's part of the learning. Never give a command if you can't do the follow through.
We have a baseball field complex that has lots of fenced in fields that make it safe to let them run with the older dogs. But don't let them tear up (dig) or leave puppy poop on the field as they shouldn't be used as a dog park. Speaking of dog parks I NEVER take my dogs to dog parks, most are not safe.
We also have lakes and trails ... which right now we cannot use as it's hunting season :) Rednecks, guns.. not safe!
To me the off leash availability is to teach the dog to stay close so find a vacant lot or a church or school when it's not in use. There are a ton of options but the goal is to teach the dog so they learn to stay with you. At 15 months we have graduated to the 6 ft. leash and walking through Lowes and Walmart garden center. I never let my dogs greet strangers, we are working. I want to be able to walk through the store and have my dogs focused on me not everything around me. But this is my goal and may not be yours.
It sounds like you are doing great with the training... good job!
 

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Kristy
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It's a catch-22 for sure. It's almost impossible to give a Golden proper leash aerobic exercise on a leash. Walking around the block in your neighborhood is not exercise.

Teaching a formal retrieve (using a long line) is the best thing you can do for your dog long term. If they have any instinct for retrieving (which they should) you can build on it and the reward of the retrieve will have them coming back to you so you can throw it again. If you teach her to come to heel and wait for permission to go again before you throw it, it helps you develop control so that she can be off leash. Jackie MErtens' DVD "Sound Beginnings" is a fantastic teaching guide. Bill Hillman videos on youtube are also good. If you work on it a little each day you will be surprised what you can do with your GOlden puppy.

The long line in a controlled area (school yard, athletic fields, office complex - think of areas that are somewhat confined and where you are not likely to see other dogs or be close to traffic) is the best way, set yourself up for success by taking her when she's hungry and always having a load of super yummy, high value treats and reward her recalls ENORMOUSLY.
A long investment of consistent reward, and you can do this in the house as well, will really help. If you can enlist a friend, you can play puppy ping-pong and call her back and forth between the two of you, rewarding on each recall. Fun game.

If you're not signed up for classes at an obedience club, find somewhere to take obedience classes so you can get the foundation needed for taking agility or field training. This opens up the door for so much. You can also find some great 'dog friends' at an obedience club. Puppy playdates with another nice young dog of a similar size and energy level are a terrific way of getting some energy out. Just once or twice a week for a 20 minute session will take the edge off if you get into a regular routine with someone. It is well worth the effort to network and find an appropriate play date friend. A fenced backyard is best for a playdate but with careful, close supervision an indoor playdate on a rainy day is also helpful.

I am also in the camp of not using dogparks unless you have access to one that is almost never busy and you could go on 'off hours' when there is no one there. It is just not worth the risk to have your puppy attacked by another dog.
 

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We had Denver off leash from day 1 when he was 8 weeks old. We also live across from a huge soccer complex surrounded by woods and walking trails. When he was that little he would just follow us around, sniff, roll, run and then follow right behind us. We rewarded with treats constantly every time he came to us, so he learned that being near us = treats at a very young age.

We’ve also been doing formal obedience classes since he was about 16 weeks to learn a formal recall. We also taught him “wait” so that if he is walking in front of us on the trail and gets too far away he will wait for us to catch up and stay close.

We did have to put him back on a long line (20 foot) when he was about 7-9 months because he became a teenager and started to test the boundaries and ignore “come!”. We didn’t let him off of the long like until he did perfect recalls 10/10 times.

He’s always been pretty good with recall...I think part of this was having him off leash from very young, but also making it clear that if he doesn’t listen he gets right back on the long line for some time.

We still bring treats every single walk to reinforce heel, sit, wait, come etc. Even when we are just walking on a trail by ourselves we practice recall to keep him sharp. Now he pretty much turns on a dime when I say “Denver come!”
 

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There are cotton web train leads for this exact thing. They come in 6, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 50 foot lengths. The reason you want to use cotton web and not the standard nylon leads is the cotton ones allow you to let it slip through your hands and not give you a friction or rug burn like nylon will. So pulling the line in and letting it slip back through is much safer for your hands.

If you want to let them run, it's good to try and go to a dog park that isn't very busy and find a time it tends to be empty. Maybe noon time in the middle of the week and let them run. Even for 15 or 20 min.

I do distraction training at a busy dog park but outside of the fence and when it empties out we go in for a bit. Sometimes if there's just 1 or 2 dogs in there and they aren't being knuckleheads we'll still go in for socializing too.
 

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I firmly believe that your dog will only learn how to deal with the freedom of being offleash when it is no longer a novelty to them. If they have only been on a leash or a long line then they won't know how to act when off leash or long line. I believe if you make yourself fun and interesting to your dog and he knows that if he hangs out with you there is good chance of fun and interesting activities then they will be less interested in venturing off. Sunny and I have been doing off leash exploring at a variety of places like parks, trails, country pastures daily since he was 8 weeks old and recall was a bit rusty then but is pretty much 100% now. Now if I just walk to the car out my front door he will go with me but is always right next to me and we are at 10 months. The freedom that offleash affords both dog and owner is really priceless in my opinion.
 

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I am one of those people that always says they need exercise off lead. I would never tie a puppy, or any of my dogs, out. I also don't consider fence time anything more then fresh air unless your in there playing with them. My guys tend to run around for a minute or two and then lay down in a fence. In my experience with my dogs they just don't get enough exercise on a leash. I know I'm very fortunate that I live on a farm and have tons of space. I however still want instant recall. There is more trouble on a farm for an untrained dog then you can imagine. Imagine having a trained hunting dog out in your yard and hunters shooting geese that your dog is not allowed to retrieve behind your house..... I need good recall!! I use Jackie Mertens Sound Beginnings method for recall starting the day they come home. We call them back and forth between two of us and give a treat every time the come running when we say here. They catch on very quickly. I also use a 20' long line when I start teaching a formal retrieve, although they don't need the line for long. I like starting place board training and getting them to "place". I reward, reward, reward for going to the place board when they are starting. I do a lot of leash work but normally by 5 months I am working on healing off leash. Teaching a formal retrieve is a great way to play with a Golden.

With Moe I have found that he now behaves much better off leash then on which raises an entirely different set of issues. He thinks if he's on the leash he should just put constant pressure on the line. He's my first one that has ever done this so we are working on it everyday currently. He got his CGC at 12 months with no problems but at 19 months has decided a leash is a toy. It's my fault because he's so good off leash that I really only use it when we are traveling. I decided Moe's goal is to constantly test me and he's so sweet and loving he gets away with it. His Christmas present is another Advanced Beg Obedience Class with lots of distractions.

I do realize that my dogs get a ton of exercise and I am very fortunate that I have the space to allow them to run. I wish I had better advice on how to do it in a different setting.
 

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A dog on a leash is not getting any exercise.
Teach basic obedience, sit, here and heel, at 5 months your pup should learn it all very quickly.
 

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I agree. I start off leash training intermittently at 5 to 6 months old. But I'd people don't have a place or trust them then attain with a 30 or 50' training lead if a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, thank you!! I had never thought of a schoolyard or just an open field. We do have state parks nearby that dogs can use but my fear of her running off is so great. She’s so spirited and recall is not 100%.

I would never put her on a tie out without me playing with her, but I see the value in instead having me at the end of a long lead instead. We are signed up for puppy obedience class in Jan. And I hope to do agility class in March, right after. I know she’ll love that!

I will try your suggestions- I know she needs more exercise. We did go to a dog park one day when it was empty but she was littler and tried to run through the fence for a great smell. Her head almost got stuck!! I was like - Becky, are you kidding me!?? You have an entire fog park to yourself!!

Thank you!!
 

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Kate
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Even on a long lead, how do you keep puppies out of trouble when walking in fields etc. where she can dig up sod, run into burr bushes etc.
Funnily enough....

Worst burrs that my dogs have discovered and decided to decorate themselves with come from shady spots in the woods. The ones on our property primarily grow in heavy shade, not out in the sun.

Thistleburs love the sun.... but they are not really the worst burrs your dog can collect while running around outside.

And can't say I've worried about my dogs digging - whether there's grass or not (usually the fields my guys get turned loose in are all weeds whether that's left waist high or mowed down).

Other than that - I've discovered that puppies tend to naturally be followers vs leaders. So they will stay very close to their packs when out in fields or wherever. This is a reason why when my pups come home - we go a lot of places to get them used to being off leash and learning to stay close. Basically they learn to be off leash and under control at a time when they want to stay with their peeps.

If you keep them strictly on leash during those vulnerable months - it is very difficult to train them to stay close at that time, because they do not have the same instinctual tendency to stay close and go back to other dogs or their people for reassurance. Additionally, because they never get to be off leash, they will avoid getting caught - which ups the chances of something bad happening.

I think my main point is when you bring a pup home - one of the things you want to work on is building the behaviors you want in an adult dog, including being off leash. Waiting too long, and it becomes very hard and takes more time to build those behaviors. You've got more of a loaded deck playing against you.

It's not impossible, but you are in a different situation than people whose dogs have had off leash time since they were very young. Obedience training and small steps are very important.

My Jacks - was on a long line when a young pup. This was partly because I expected him to run when he was old enough to run faster than me (which 3-4 months, yeah). And over a period of months (many), I gradually shortened that leash over time and increased the distance I allowed him to be away from my side.

Most of the pictures of him outside when he was a young 1-2 year old - he had a leash or long line on him. By the time he was 3-4 years old, he had my full confidence that he could be off leash and free... and come back to my side very quickly as needed.

That's something you need to do. Don't rush your dog off leash.

At 5 months - she's not entirely OLD ENOUGH to really be blowing you off the instant she's off leash.... but she's getting there and it will not the same as a 5 month old who has had daily off leash time including out in parks/fields/lakes since he was 8 weeks old.
 

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No dog parks. I agree with most of what everyone else is saying. Long line if you don’t trust her or if it’s somewhere she could get hurt. Avoid hunting areas until hunting season is over, they could be unsafe. Mistakes could happen. There are still places where hunters aren’t allowed to hunt that are safe to work in.
 

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My Rainey is pretty good with recall, but the recent snow and being distracted playing with the neighbor dogs had her choosing to not listen very well. I snapped a 15 foot longline on her and she drug it along happily. When I wanted to call her to me I just went and picked it up. If she looked but didn't come I pulled her to me and that snapped her out of it. A couple of days ago she was running away from me. If she does that again at least I can get closer to her and step on the leash. I won't put up with a dog running away from me. :rolleyes: Letting her drag the longline seems like such a simple solution. She can run freely and I can get her if need be.
 

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