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  #1  
Old 11-11-2008, 12:01 PM
chi god/godess
 
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Default Off lead walkies?

Anyone have any advice/stories about letting their chi's off lead for the first time?
Adam is 4months now and although Ive been too scared to let him off lead Im starting to feel abit guilty. Especially when he runs round the park on his flexi lead to fast and is jerked into a somersault when he runs out of lead!!
He always comes back when I call him in the park (no garden to practice in unfortunaly) or if he is sniffing something interesting he will wait when I ask until I come up to him. My nearest park is teeny and directly across the road from me but has an open front to the road, the advantage is there are no distractions as I hardly ever see anyone else there, the next option is a huge park surrounded by trees half hour walk away, the disadvantage is lots of big dogs off lead and if he runs away would probably get lost.
So just after encouraging stories really to get my courage up!! I'd like Adam to be good off lead so that when I let Hannah go she can follow Adams lead (pun intended) as he is the more dominant one. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2008, 01:14 PM
chi prince/princess
 
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I know that you are looking for encouraging stories only but honestly, I don't recommend any dog being off leash especially in the city small or large. Too much can happen too quickly and even with good recall it might not be enough to prevent something.

The other dogs off leash is one thing but other people, traffic etc is another. Not to mention "things" that a puppy could find and eat before you could stop it.

Small dog theft is on the rise as it is easy to steal a dog and sell it to puppy mills (if unaltered) or to some unsuspecting person. We have that issue right now in our area. In the last year about 12 toy dogs have been stolen and not recovered. They were stolen out of stopped cars, their yards, the city parks and a couple were even stolen out of pet shops!


In our city, it is required that all dogs be on a leash at all times unless in the dog park (both are completely fenced in and each one has a large dog park and small dog park). Before you make a final decision about this - you should thoroughly check your local bi-laws as although many people have their dogs off leash - they could be breaking the law.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:21 PM
chi god/godess
 
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I always walk our dogs off the lead we've never had any problems with it, they're so much more responsive off the lead anyway and I find they are less likely to get injured as they can run away from trouble and aren't attached to you.

The whole point is training and I tend to find many people don't bother with it, Zero and Mai will always stay within 2 meters of me at all times, but they have both been let off the lead every since they started going out so they're used to it.

As for flexie leads, I would never use one they're evil things, you have absolutely no control over your dog, if someone wanted to steal your dog they can be cut easily and I think using one is just plain lazy, if you want to walk on a lead use a proper one where you have control and make your dog walk to heel.

Many a person tends to forget they may be small but they are still dogs, the more you mollycoddle them they worse behaved they are.

Last edited by *Sarah*; 11-11-2008 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:43 PM
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We have three and they're all now 2 1/2. We live lake front on a private, one lane and mostly dirt road with very little car activity (we're talking no more than 4-5 a day and none at all which actually goes directly by our house except in the summer). We began letting them all out in the yard without leashes when they were young puppies. We have both an open lake front yard and a fenced area right off of a porch which was built especially for them and that's where they were initially all let out free. Eventually, we began letting them all out in the open yard and they (mostly) seem to understand the boundaries of the yard. Except for in the fenced area, they're never out alone - even for a quick pee.

About a year or so ago, my husband began walking them one at a time down the road off lease. Prior to that, they were free in the yards, but always on lease for walks. Since then, we're able to walk all three at the same time this way, but if there's more than 1 going for the walk, then BOTH us go with them.

So far, the only command we've found that will stop them in their tracks from running way ahead and that all 3 of them will consistently obey is "stay". That command was originally drilled into them when they were very young to keep them from running out the door whenever it opened. Just by chance, we found that it works just as well when they're out walking or playing in the yard. If they hear the word "stay" yelled out at them, their reaction is to stop where they are and immediately sit. That allows us to either catch up with them if they've run ahead or quickly pick them up and move them off the road if we see a car in the distance. It also stops them from running off in a direction we don't want them to go. The only limitation to this otherwise wonderful control system is that the "stay" command doesn't work if a squirrel or chipmunk happens to run across their path or they spot one nearby. Fortunately though, the little critters usually run up the nearest tree and they will all then just run straight to the tree, park themselves under it and stare up at it, allowing us to catch up with them very easily.

We've also been trying to teach them a "car" command in the hopes that if they hear us yell "car" they will automatically move themselves off the road into a grassy area and sit. So far, not much luck - but we haven't been at it very long, nor very consistently.

Honestly though, I don't think we would ever have even attempted letting them off lease were it not for our rural location. I can't imagine ever doing something like this in parks like you describe where there is a real street with traffic adjacent to it or the probability of other dogs. It would be wonderful if your little guy could eventually run free, but I can't stress enough how important it is to FIRST have at least one command that will be obeyed with a high degree of consistency. Without that, I think it's probably far too dangerous.

Good luck - hope it works out for you!!.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2008, 11:56 AM
ladyj
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To each his own, but I would never let my dogs off leash except in a private, fenced area, only with other dogs I know or no other dogs. These little ones are too easily hurt or lost. Just not worth the risk. Any dog can get spooked and run no matter how well trained it is and another dog can materialize almost out of thin air.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2008, 01:50 PM
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Hmmm, dilemma!! It seems to be a divide between the states/canada and UK. Over there dog theft seems prevalent, dog parks are easily available or people live in rural locations with space to run. Not always the case in the uk. With no garden, no enclosed dog parks my two run the risk of never beijg able to run free across the grass or at the beach.
I feel that free running should be a right for doggies coz it is part of their natural behaviour, I may throw caution to the wind and hope for thebest, I think the joy my little ones would get out of it would outweigh the risks.
(Still testing recall at the mo and so far, so good!!)
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:52 PM
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we use a flexi lead but she doesnt seem to want to balt around shes happy trotting and sniffing along side us, i sometimes run with the lead so she can go faster, But I doubt I shall ever let her off the lead, I cant risk losing her or her getting injured, it may be a bit selfish but if i think shes happy enough on the lead then I do see the point in risking her...!xx
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2008, 01:55 PM
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Just saw awomen letting her 2 staffie pups off the lead at the open gateway to the park (leading straight onto the main road!!), both puppies were pulling like afreight train on the lead tho. The mind boggles sometimes, 2 baby staffies, brave or stoopid owner?!! LOL
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