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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tessa is very good off leash when we take her out into the bush, without any distractions around. She comes when called and doesn't take off. She will run about 30 ft. ahead of us, and will always look back to make sure we're coming. We don't have a problem getting her back on the leash when it's time to go.

When we're in town and she gets loose in our front yard - it's another story! She DOES NOT stay in the yard when she's loose. She has free run of our fenced in back yard (which is kind of "boring" I'm sure), so when she gets out the front, I know she finds it super exciting and wants to take off.

She knows the word "come", and when we're out in the bush with her we call her back several times just to get her used to listening and coming off-leash (which she does), but in town - it's as if she becomes deaf! She REFUSES to come back when she's off leash! Especially if other people, dogs, or cars are around - she's gone in a second!

When we finally catch her, she usually flops on her back and refuses to move. My DH always has to pick her up and CARRY her because she won't budge.

Any advice on this? I had a dog when I was growing up who we never leashed and so "being free" was never that unusual or exciting to him because he was used to it. He never ran away. I think maybe because Tessa is "confined" to our fenced backyard (which is huge, btw), she gets overly excited when she's "free" in the front yard and wants to take off.

I have tried teaching her to sit and stay in the front on a long lead. She does fine, but she still KNOWS she's tied up (we used a tiny 20 ft. cat lead). The minute we took it off she was gone. We tried this several times over several weeks, and it didn't work.

Any suggestions? By the way, she's a year and a half old.

Thanks!
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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She needs not be lose when out of your fenced yard. I believe you have been lucky in the brush she has not yet seen something that she finds very interesting. When she is loose in your front yard and takes off it is because there are so many very interesting things she does not see any reason to come back to you. Chasing her is a game to her and she loves it. You might be better off walking the other direction from her.
I would be willing to bet the world you lived in when you were growing up was much different and today's is much more dangerous with more vehicles present that could severely injure your dog. Not worth taking the chance in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks AmbikaGR, I realize the world outside the fenced yard is very exciting to her, however I know of lots of dogs that stick by their owner and don't get into trouble or traffic. I used to own one! He never took after cars or got into dangerous situations because he was trained to stick by! I do believe it was because he was not tied up or confined to a fenced yard as a puppy, so being loose wasn't so much as a "thrill" as it is for my dog now.

Also, I'm worried about the few times that she may "escape" the front door by accident when people come over, etc. I would like for her not to immediately run off up the street and not come back.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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She needs to be trained to NEVER exit a door without your permission. You probably should look for an obedience training school in your area to help with this. And there are some dogs who just instinctively will not leave your side but they are really few and far between.
When we first bought our home we had a sweet mixed breed that one day as I opened the front door to go to work took off after a dog that she must have known was there. Down to the corner they ran, the screech of tires soon followed along with sickening "thuds". I ran to the corner to see both dogs lying in the middle of the street bleeding. One was seriously hurt the other was dead. The poor woman who hit them was hysterical and screaming, apologizing for hitting them, she never had an option they ran into her. I was fortunate that my dog made it and lived a full life, but believe me we learned how important it is to train them not to exit a door without our expressed permission. I was very lucky and I still feel so bad for the other dog and that poor woman who was so distraught over it.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Nancy
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I have often wondered why some dogs never run, stay in the yard etc, while some take off every chance they get. We have a neighbor who's dog never leaves the unfenced yard, even stopped at the property line while chasing a chipmunk.

We had a husky-X when we were first married. Hubby was in the USAF so we moved around a lot, some places had fenced yards, some did not. Niki never left any yard.

When Maggie was young and we were building our house, I'd bring her to our property to let her run. She'd have a great time running around and came back instantly when it was time to go home. As soon as we moved into the house she became "deaf", zero recall and took off whenever she got out.We ended up fencing part of the yard.

Hank, I'm not sure yet. We don't let him off leash because of the pit bull behind us.
 

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Nancy
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She needs to be trained to NEVER exit a door without your permission.
I wanted to add, this is one of the most important training issues, IMO. Any hints as how to expedite this training? Hank gets so excited when someone comes to/in the door that just keeping him calm is almost impossible, much less getting him to obey a "stay" or "wait" command. I'm usually holding his collar while he's jumping like a crazy man.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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I

Hank, I'm not sure yet. We don't let him off leash because of the pit bull behind us.

I was confused, I thought you were referring to me (Hank). Then I read your next post and remembered you have a dog named Hank! :doh:
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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In the beginning the pup is always on leash when we open the door. When we are taking the dog out the door they must stay seated till we have exited the door then we call the dog through. If the dog shoulld attempt to go through before we give the okay, we bring them back inside and start the process again. When they do it properly we then praise and treat like you would for any training. As always the key is consistency, it must NEVER be okay for the dog to exit before being allowed.
 

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chew chew chew
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What you may want to do is put her on a long line, something without loops to get stuck/caught on but not so heavy that she's always aware it's on and can more or less forget it's there. Then, set her up in whatever way it is she gets loose in the front yard, and use the line to stop her from going any further (and get her to choose to come to you - don't reel her in in other words). Get her to wait before she goes through the doors/gates and brush up on her obedience in general. Get the best treats in the world and use those when she comes to you in the front, and also make it part of your routine to train recalls in the front yard, with distractions, in different locations... she may know 'come' in the bush but not quite get that it's the same everywhere.

Also, if/when she does get loose in the front and does the 'dead dog' routine, don't let her get out of it by being carried home. Use the leash and do mini recalls the whole way back for treats, so in the end she's doing what you want her to do.

Lana
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone. She does sit and wait at the door before exiting. We started training her to do this very early on. She doesn't get the leash on until she is sitting calmly, and she isn't allowed out the door until we say "okay" and after us.

When people come over, she's usually too excited to see them to think of running off. She usually wants to just love them to death - even if she gets out, she usually follows the "new people" right back in.

A few times we have been heading out the door with a bunch of stuff in our arms for camp, the beach, etc. and she has gotten out. In those instances we aren't paying enough attention to her and she knows she can be sneaky! Those are the few times she has ended up running off down the street on us and not coming back!

When she does "the flop" and won't move, we literally have to drag her (or pick her up, which is what we usually do).... she will NOT get up. I suppose we could just wait until she eventually does get up. It could be 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes.... who knows, but I imagine waiting it out until she does get up would be the right thing to do. We'll try it!

Thanks for the info so far everyone!
 

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Old Gold is the Best Gold
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I am of a slightly different school of thought. I believe it is unkind at best to not let dogs run free in the woods, on beaches, and in places other than a fenced yard. I believe it is dangerous to have a dog that is never off leash- when he does escape, you're screwed. Dogs should be wise to things like cars, people, other dogs, bikes, skateboards, cliffs, bodies of water... and mine are. I also come from Greyhounds and Whippets where it is generally assumed the dogs can NEVER be off leash. I call BS- my Whippet is the best off leash dog I've ever had, though my GSD is a close equal. I absolutely believe it can be done. I also teach my dogs not to door dart, but I also often leave my front door open and sit outside on nice winter days to enjoy the rare taste of cool/pleasant weather our state (Florida) so infrequently offers. My dogs wander in and out and none of them leave the yard, walk into our (very quiet) street, or go up to people or dogs who pass by. They are very relaxed. Being off leash is normal, daily life to them.

I also saw the European perspective, where virtually all dogs get off leash romping daily. I very much agree with that cultural perspective.
 

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I am of a slightly different school of thought. I believe it is unkind at best to not let dogs run free in the woods, on beaches, and in places other than a fenced yard. I believe it is dangerous to have a dog that is never off leash- when he does escape, you're screwed. Dogs should be wise to things like cars, people, other dogs, bikes, skateboards, cliffs, bodies of water... and mine are. I also come from Greyhounds and Whippets where it is generally assumed the dogs can NEVER be off leash. I call BS- my Whippet is the best off leash dog I've ever had, though my GSD is a close equal. I absolutely believe it can be done. I also teach my dogs not to door dart, but I also often leave my front door open and sit outside on nice winter days to enjoy the rare taste of cool/pleasant weather our state (Florida) so infrequently offers. My dogs wander in and out and none of them leave the yard, walk into our (very quiet) street, or go up to people or dogs who pass by. They are very relaxed. Being off leash is normal, daily life to them.

I also saw the European perspective, where virtually all dogs get off leash romping daily. I very much agree with that cultural perspective.
I sort of agree with you. In the place I live now...rather rural and no fenced yard....I've been letting Lucky go in and out with us unleashed. I've also let him go out with my kids. He seems to stay within the boundries and its good for him to learn to follow our lead with out the leash.

When I have the leash on he pulls and manipulates. When he has no leash he listens and follows me:confused: So it seems healthy to keep things positive.

I could never do this where I was before...with cars, neighbor kids and strays all around. And who knows....Lucky may see a deer and take off across the field. But I do know that he is "learning" something by being with us unleashed.
 

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Hi my 3 dogs are very good off lead altho there on lead till we get to the park or oval. The park is beside 2 roads and my dogs know not to go near them, If they get close i tell them halt which they stop and return to me. If another dog is walking by i call my dogs specially Shelley as she loves other dogs, tell them sit/stay and ignore and wait for the other dog to leave my dogs sight then i tell them ok. There are days where Shelley does break the stay and runs towards the other dog when i get to her she gets put back onlead while the other dogs are still offlead cause they listened. This has worked great for Shelley and Einstein as they know if they do something thats not ok they get put onlead where if there good they get rewarded and allowed to stay offlead.

All my 3 dogs know not to leave the yard if the gates are left opened,they wouldn't run out even if another dog walked past. They would only come out past the gates if we called them to us,which then they just sit beside us and not move till we tell them to go around the back which they listen.

With that being said i would fully trust Shelley walking completely offlead eg to and from home as she can be easy distracted, Where my old boy Einstein would stay beside you no matter what i often have to tell him to run when were at the park or oven, where with Shelley as soon as that lead is off shes gone but she doesn't go to far infront she keeps looking back to make sure i'm coming. If i stop she comes runing back or in i turn around she comes runing. I find if she doesn't come back when i call her turn around and run the other way works wanders most of the time, If i chase her she thinks its a game. But sometimes even the runing in the other direction doesn't work which i then have to go get her which then she gets put back onlead and taken home. So she then knows if she doesn't listen she gets taken home. I give my dogs 3 warnings if they use those 3 warnings up its home time and they know it. They get rewarded for good behaviour and put onlead or taken home on bad behaviour. I found this works great for my dogs and also helps me keep in controll.
Just read up on all the problems i've had with Shelley since i got her shes had alot. But now cause of all the hard work,training and exercise i put into her shes turning out to be a great dog. She still digs holes here and there but thats mainly cause theres no grass only dirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
See, I know it can be done (and safely!) My old dog was the same way as mentioned above. He just.... stayed around. He didn't run out into traffic or take after people/kids/other dogs, etc. He just KNEW to stay with us!

I guess it maybe has to do with the personality of the dog, but I do think that keeping him off leash the majority of the time, from the time we got him as a little puppy - helped. He didn't think being off leash was anything different or exciting because he was used to it - whereas the dog I have now has always been confined to our back yard or on a leash. When she's off leash I'm sure she's thinking "I'M FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
 

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I was confused, I thought you were referring to me (Hank). Then I read your next post and remembered you have a dog named Hank! :doh:
I hope you approve! It fits him perfectly for some reason.:) I don't know why I picked it though. Luke is another name I like but that's my brother's lab's name.
 

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See, I know it can be done (and safely!) My old dog was the same way as mentioned above. He just.... stayed around. He didn't run out into traffic or take after people/kids/other dogs, etc. He just KNEW to stay with us!

I guess it maybe has to do with the personality of the dog, but I do think that keeping him off leash the majority of the time, from the time we got him as a little puppy - helped. He didn't think being off leash was anything different or exciting because he was used to it - whereas the dog I have now has always been confined to our back yard or on a leash. When she's off leash I'm sure she's thinking "I'M FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
I agree with part of your statement, and disagree with part of your statement. I've owned 3 goldens, and only 1 could be trusted off leash without any training--out of the 3, the one that could be trusted was the one that was the most laid back, easy-going one. She would rather lay at your feet, enjoying the sun or sniffing what was around the area, then running to explore here and there. So where you state personality, I think a dog's personality has something to do with how well it adapts to off lead work, and how quickly, with little or no training. My other two goldens that needed to be trained to listen off leash (and one is 20 months old and is still in training) were athletic, curious and always in kinetic motion. Totally different personalities as the one who was very good off lead.

As for a dog used to being on lead being a detriment to their training, making them harder to obey when they are off lead--I disagree. A few years ago, the hurricanes in South Florida destroyed our fence and screened in patio, so now the entire development could belong to my dogs. Both Jake and Alli were used to being on lead most of the time wherever we went somewhere; Alli was my easy-going golden--Jake, the one in constant motion. I could trust Alli off lead in our yard, and knew she wouldn't go running away, or into the man-made lake (and maybe meet a gator or snake). As for Jake, no way. I had to step up the obedience work several notches, over several months--and he still needed to be watched more off lead. Bottom line--dogs are different. You can't expect one dog to be just like another and you have a dog you'll have to train more than your previous one. IMHO.
 

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... I know of lots of dogs that stick by their owner and don't get into trouble or traffic. I used to own one! He never took after cars or got into dangerous situations because he was trained to stick by!

Please please do not take this the wrong way. Puf had a very cute buddy whom he loved to play with. It was the exact kind of dog you described. Unfortunately he only ran into the street once.
 

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Tessa is very good off leash when we take her out into the bush, without any distractions around. She comes when called and doesn't take off. She will run about 30 ft. ahead of us, and will always look back to make sure we're coming. We don't have a problem getting her back on the leash when it's time to go.

When we're in town and she gets loose in our front yard - it's another story! She DOES NOT stay in the yard when she's loose. She has free run of our fenced in back yard (which is kind of "boring" I'm sure), so when she gets out the front, I know she finds it super exciting and wants to take off.

She knows the word "come", and when we're out in the bush with her we call her back several times just to get her used to listening and coming off-leash (which she does), but in town - it's as if she becomes deaf! She REFUSES to come back when she's off leash! Especially if other people, dogs, or cars are around - she's gone in a second!

When we finally catch her, she usually flops on her back and refuses to move. My DH always has to pick her up and CARRY her because she won't budge.

Any advice on this? I had a dog when I was growing up who we never leashed and so "being free" was never that unusual or exciting to him because he was used to it. He never ran away. I think maybe because Tessa is "confined" to our fenced backyard (which is huge, btw), she gets overly excited when she's "free" in the front yard and wants to take off.

I have tried teaching her to sit and stay in the front on a long lead. She does fine, but she still KNOWS she's tied up (we used a tiny 20 ft. cat lead). The minute we took it off she was gone. We tried this several times over several weeks, and it didn't work.

Any suggestions? By the way, she's a year and a half old.

Thanks!
WOW! She sounds just like my Golden that I had to giggle a bit. He's exactly the same, haha! He won't run from our yard if we're there though, but if we turn our back to him for just ONE second he's off. He's great out in the woods and stuff though.
 
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