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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

I was just wondering how old peoples puppies were when they first started letting them off of the lead when out for a walk?  Roxy is 4 months old and I'm reluctant to let her off of the lead, but my boyfriend thinks that I'm being overprotective and worrying too much!  I'm just scared that if I let her off, she'll run away and not come back!  

Any thoughts would be appreciated, we do attend puppy classes once a week so may ask the 'teacher' there next time but wasn't sure if it is a breed specific question so thought I'd post on here for advice!  :)  

(At the moment I'm getting great exercise cos I want her to be able to have a run but don't want to let her off the lead so I'm running accross the fields with her on her lead but it's getting rather tiring and as she's getting bigger by the day I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to run at her pace for haha!!)
 

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The general rule of thumb regarding walks is 5 minutes for every month of your pups age. I would stay away from a lot of running tho, Roxy's bones are still developing right now, you don't want to stress them. As for being "off lead", until she learns perfect "recall" I would not let her off..That was a big issue when we got Angel and it's slowly getting better, but at almost 2 i still don't let her off lead unless we are in a totally fenced in place. Here's a thread that I started dealing with teaching recall, I talked to a few people that I respect and are very knowledgeable and these are some of the tips they gave me to use...
http://www.boxerforums.com/modules.php? ... opic&t=800
 

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my girls are 2yrs and a 6 months old and the only time i let either of my girls off lead is when we are in the gated field behind our home. there is only one entrance/exit and it can be closed and latched so the girls dont escape. Any other time i keep my girls on lead. I learned the hard way that they may listen when on lead, but the become deaf when off lead. If you have a gated yard or field then work with her off lead with the come command, if nothing is gatedi would buy a long lead and start working with her. samsonsmom posted a great topic of Recall and how to teach your dog to come.
 

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If you want to be able to do things with your dog off leash, then start training right away.  When I got Lola it was up there at the top of all of my doggie priorities; that I'd have a dog that I could do things with off leash (dog park, go to neighbors to play, camping, beach, etc...).  I started training Lola at about 3-4 months old.  Lola just turned 9 months old and I have no problems walking out my front door and down the block with her without her leash on.  But then again we've been practicing 3-4 times a week all this time.  I think the mistake that some people make is they let their dog off the leash 1-2 times and expect the dog to listen and instead they get a dog that freaks out with this freedom (that it's not use to) and takes off.  It's like the dog gets that one chance to run and he/she is going to go all out with it.  A dog that is use to being off leash outside won't go crazy when it's off leash outside.  To me it's the same as dog socialization - a dog that is locked up all the time freaks out when it see's another dog (sometimes acting aggressively), a dog that plays with other dogs frequently see's a new dog and acts as if its no big deal (just goes about playing).  

If you do decide to start training for this, make sure you do it in a place without car traffic as safety should be of utmost priority.  And don't expect the dog to listen right off the bat.  Go through the recall training techniques with long leads several times and gradually progress to no lead and/or real world distractions.

Good luck.
 

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I only let Kiah off leash at the dog park which is fenced in.  Every where else, even in the back yard (which is not fenced) I have her on a leash.  We have been working with recall and she is doing well but will not always come on command.  I am not sure that I will ever feel confident enough to leave her off leash but time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great advice, I knew it was a good idea to ask the question here!  :)

Luckily we have a enclosed garden and absolutely no one can get in or out of it, so both of our pups are able to play freely in there.  However, it's not huge so although they can run and roll around out there, I do feel that they would benefit from being able to play in the fields (with our supervision of course).  

We live in a very rural area with lots of countryside and so the daily walks are almost always across the fields or through the woods and I've noticed that almost all the other dog walkers we meet have their dogs walking beside them with no lead.  We actually seems to get funny looks for having our dogs on leads, like they expect our dogs to be dangerous or something because we are not letting them walk freely.  I know we are definately not ready to have our dogs walk with no leads but was wondering about letting them run a bit in the open fields, obviously not out of our sight) but am worried that however well the recall training is going (we're doing a lot of this at puppy class!), that something may go wrong and distract them and they won't come back.  

Kiahsmom - unfortunatly we don't have a dog park nearby, in fact I haven't even head of them until I joined here!   We do take the pups to my parent's house sometimes and they have have a huge garden and the pups do seem to love being able to run around full pelt and roll about on the grass!!
 

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My two, who are 1
 

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I have heard some horror stories about dog parks but this is a good one.  It is membership only and they have park patrol (not all the time but a good amount of the time).  Dogs have to be vacinated and licensed before they can get membership ($15 a year).  Do they have any meetup groups where you live?  Often they have a place that is safe for dogs to run unleashed.
 

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Dog parks sound great but I think from what I've seen they seem to be more of a thing in the US.  I may be wrong but I don't think I've heard of them in the UK.  It would be great if there was one though as it sounds a great way to be a bit more relaxed with your dogs whilst socialising them with others!  We attend a puppy class in a nearby village and have approx 20 puppies in our class, and then they also run obediance and agility classes for older dogs at the same place once the pups have 'graduated' from puppy class which I think we will continue with with our dogs, but again, they do all of this in a hall so they don't get much of a run around.  I think I'll have a look into dog meetups but again, I think that may be something else that's done more in the US.  Maybe this is a business opening for someone in the UK with a bit more experience to consider......!  :)
 

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[quote="sarahmike2112\";p=\"15147":19917msh]We live in a very rural area with lots of countryside and so the daily walks are almost always across the fields or through the woods and I've noticed that almost all the other dog walkers we meet have their dogs walking beside them with no lead.
 

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Diesel is off leash at my parents house and in-laws house. And has been ever since we got him. I think it helped him learn to stay by us.

My in-laws house is getting more difficult though, he's got a personal issue with a specific chicken that harassed him as a puppy.

so he's always trying to chase that one around now.
 

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Advice from a trainer:

There is a very simple hard and fast rule here!!!  If you don't trust your dog to effectively respond to the recall (come) command, then DO NOT let them off lead!  Practice in your yard with a gate or something open.  If they respond well there, then you can CONSIDER free walking.

Liz and Lilly
 
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