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Kate
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I am getting my first golden retriever puppy on January 1! I have had many other dogs in the past and none of them have ever been able to walk off leash. I go for walks and see peoples dogs just walk beside them without a leash! I wish my dogs would do that! I looked up on it on the internet and it says that its best to start training as a puppy. I have read off leash walking is better exercise for the puppy as well. I would like to train this when I get the puppy. I am not exactly sure how the training process are safe. Puppies are very curious and I am nervous about the road. Has anyone reading this trained off leash walking before? is it safe?
 

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Golden Lover
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You will probably want to leash train and have a good recall before you try off leash walking. All that will take some time to achieve. Crate training and potty training would probably come first.
 

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We always have our dogs (all two of them) trained off leash. We do work in an area where they can't get hurt (no roads or bicyclists) when we start. Have high value treats on you.

We never go near a road until we are positive of compliance and then, we still usually use a leash.

It also depends on the dog. Are they likely to stay close to you or is this a dog that will chase a bunny until it drops. We've never had a dog that would run and not return. I have seen them though.

We did slow increments of off leash training. Calling your puppy between two people both of whom have treats might be a start. There are really, really good trainers on here that would know more then I do.
 

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I would never EVER trust ANY dog off lead next to a road, everyone makes mistakes. Even people make mistakes and get hit by cars!
I would ALWAYS walk my dog on a lead if I am beside a road, off leash only in secure areas. I am extremely lucky though, it's a 5 minute walk along the road from my house to a 1.5 mile fenced river bank. It has a bridge at the end and on the other side is about 6+ miles of more river bank with endless, flat land to one side. My dog can never get lost here so she always gets free running for 1-2 hours at a time.

If you live near to roads and haven't got any safe places nearby then I can't really offer much advice I'm afraid.
You have to remember that as a dog gets bigger, their normal walking pace is far faster than ours so it must be so hard for them to walk on a leash all the time.
 
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