Attention new puppy owners! Let your puppy off the lead.

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by editor, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Xena is 11 weeks today and had her first off leash experience up the road at my local school. I was nervous but had read this thread and hoped it would go just as Pippa said it would - it did! We're only on stage 2 of Pippa's recall but I got plenty of chances to practice when Xena did her check-ins, usually at a frantic run!

    We have a big back yard that is sadly (for Xena) home to our chooks, so she's only has her small toilet area for off lead play so far. I thought I'd have to wait until her third injections to take her out, but my vet gave us the all clear earlier this week after her second jabs - hurrah!
     
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  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Fantastic! :)
     
  3. mcatalao

    mcatalao Registered Users

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    I don't know if it is related, but i had to use a harness to limit Wuki's movements around our children and some toxic plants in the garden. He became a little stuck, not answering my call as in the first day, and sometimes when he feels the harness, just sits and waits. It seems like he has no energy. He is eating well, drinking all the water, and is till active, but not that energetic as in the same day.

    I'm trying to stimulate him with toys and some food (making something like the movie). But i think i'm going to need that book though!
     
  4. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Some dogs don't like harnesses and can "shut down" when they're put on. My two are like this. I now only use harnesses when I feel I have to - if I'm taking them somewhere busy, or when there's a potential for lots of pulling, such as in an exciting new place. The rest of the time, they're on a flat collar and lead.

    Still, for young puppies who you certainly can't guarantee won't pull, I would still use a harness all the time when out and about - having had a puppy who slipped his collar when he was startled and nearly ran in front of a truck, I wouldn't risk anything but.

    Try doing loads of desensitisation with Wuki's harness, so he starts to see it as an exciting thing. Put it on to feed him his meals, or to give him an amazing treat, and take it off again immediately afterwards.

    As for the toxic plants, I'd be digging them up, because I'd always be worrying otherwise. If that's not an option, can't you barricade them so that Wuki can't reach them?
     
  5. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It's really strange - Betsy has a little puppia harness and I introduced it ever so carefully. She was fine in it for the first 4 weeks, but now I'm starting to see a little hesitation in her when she has it on. Charlie hates his harness, so I was ultra careful with Betsy's. I only noticed it today, so, we'll see....but....it looks like she is not going to love it.

    I do wonder whether it just is too controlling, and removes too much choice. Well, anyway. I'll monitor how she goes in it.
     
  6. mcatalao

    mcatalao Registered Users

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    About the harness, I've been doing that, even for putting the harness most times I give him a treat, thought the idea of putting it when he eats is great too. He is quite active with the harness, he just stalls with the leach on the harness - I don't use colar, i have one, but is only for the plate, and it's not on yet.

    About the plants, the breeder also asked if i could dig them up or block them. But the garden is so small, it would get a bit clumsy.
    We would prefer not to dig them out, so i think we are going to block them with larger fences for now.
    The plants in case are Oleanders (very nasty even for humans, were used as poison in China and other countries - oddly they are all over the place here in Portugal), Aloe Vera's and Hydrangeas. I can move the hydrangeas and the Aloe's, but the Oleanders are a different matter. My idea about the Oleanders is cut the base leaves, and let them grow as trees.
     
  7. mcatalao

    mcatalao Registered Users

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  8. ReneeS.

    ReneeS. Registered Users

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    Pippa,
    Your books are the greatest! Jennie has only been with us three days, 8 weeks old, and I have not had her on a lead so far. She follows me in the yard everywhere, and if I walk away and clap my hands, she comes running to me at top speed! After she poos and pees, all I have to say to her Jenny gets a treat, and she immediately goes to the door because she knows a treat is waiting inside. I have to remember to treats outside with me. She is an angel!! Only had one accident first day, one of each. Now she goes to the door probably 75% of the time and wines. I take her out every 1/2 hour either her wining or I just take her. The system is working beautifully!! Thank you for writing such great books!!
     
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  9. Jude

    Jude Registered Users

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    Thanks for this thread, it's giving me a bit of confidence about letting Judy off lead in a field nearby. She comes to me when called (most of the time) in the house and garden but I do wish I'd started her off lead as soon as her course of vaccinations was complete 10 days ago. She's 15 weeks now so I want to get started while she's still little. One thing that makes me hesitant - and I'd love advice on this if anyone has any - is that she doesn't like having her lead attached / detached from her collar. I've tried sweetening the experience with treats but she becomes very jumpy and bitey. I need to have her on lead to get her to / from the place where she can run off lead but have a sense of dread about getting the lead back on after a nice play time without it...! In all honesty, I'm absolutely terrified about letting her off lead but I know I have to bite the bullet sooner or later and sounds like sooner is better for both of us. I've ordered Total Recall and a long training lead which haven't arrived yet but might head out later today or early tomorrow morning and see how things go. Wish me luck...
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    When you say she doesn't like it....does she move away from you when you go to put the lead on? Or just gets excited?

    If she moves away from you, then do a few exercises at home. First, making the space close to your feet a great place to be, by dropping treats around your feet and bending down in a way similar to what you have to do to put a lead on/off a small puppy. Then do this when she is wearing a collar, then touch her collar (more great treats for that), the take hold of her collar etc. Repeat until you touching her collar is the best thing ever, then attach the lead, give treats, take the lead off - repeat etc.

    If she is just getting excited or bitey, it's probably just because the lead is strange and new. You need to get a very light lead, and put it on in the house a lot, until she gets used to it, and it becomes boring.
     
  11. Jude

    Jude Registered Users

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    Hi Julie, thanks for your reply and advice. I think she's just getting really excited by the prospect of leaving the house. She really loves being outside. She's worn a collar since before I've had her so she's used to that. I've worked on touching and holding her collar while giving treats. This is fine. She's had a lead / house line on in the house quite a bit before we started going outside but she's never been keen on it and I'd detach it rather than watch her throwing herself around with it on when I probably should have just ignored her until she accepted it. She is my first dog / puppy and and I feel like I'm learning through mistakes a lot of the time...!
     
  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Some dogs just need to get used to walking gear and the feeling of leads etc. So, yes, back to putting the lead on in the house and try to distract her to think about something else apart from the lead - giving her dinner should do it! :)

    I know lots of people say their dogs love their collars, leads etc because they associate them with going for a walk. But neither of my two are like this at all! They are just all different.
     
  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    My two ca still get over-excited about having their collars put on and they're nearly two. As soon as I get them off the hook, they start acting the fool. I simply stand and wait until they are calm and sat nicely (their default "please") before I clip them on. If they're too ridiculous, I sit down and wait. Interestingly, I do see some displacement behaviours on occasion - such as stretching or sniffing - when I get their collars out, but I wonder if these are attempts to calm themselves, rather than hesitancy to have their collars put on, which they really don't seem to mind in the slightest.

    From the start, whenever I wanted to attach or remove their lead, I'd stand quietly and wait for a sit, then given them a treat once I'd attached/removed it. This worked for both getting the dogs to associate the leads with good things, so as soon as I hold it a certain way, they run up to me to have it clipped on, and also when I take it off, they wait for their treat and for me to give a release cue before they run off.

    As it happens, though, Willow used to hate her collar with a vengeance. I think it just felt completely unnatural to her when she was a baby. With lots of positive associations, she got through that, but then hated having the lead attached. I was very lucky, though, because this phase didn't last long at all. I know plenty of people struggle for longer with it.
     
  14. Jude

    Jude Registered Users

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    Thanks for this Snowbunny. I can imagine how unnatural it must feel for any animal to have a collar put on, never mind a lead! Judy's doing much better sits now so getting her into still and calm mode is a little easier but once she realises what's happening the teeth come out...!
    I'm being very generous with treats now, particularly about the lead and the collar but I think I also have to work on my own state of calm and keep the positive associations going.
    I let Judy off the lead on the field this evening! Just for a very short time because she went bananas at me once she was off, jumping, biting, jumping and biting... I stayed as calm and still as I could. Don't know if it was from excitement or stress. I let her do a bit of investigating and walked off slowly. Once she realised I was gone she came running after me which was very reassuring (for me) and stayed close after that but there was more jumping and biting. Got the lead back on her without problems but she was very jumpy for the rest of the walk. I feel better about going to the same place next time and about letting her off lead but will be wearing indestructible clothes next time.
     
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  15. Deejay50

    Deejay50 Registered Users

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    This is a real anxiety for me and I don't want to relay that anxiety onto Ted. He's 14 weeks old now, and has only been off the lead in the garden. His recall has been patchy to say the least. Oh he's happy to run between two of us calling him, but if it's just him and me in the garden he's off, investigating, ignoring my calls. When we are outside he's on the lead, where, although he walks well to heel for a time, is straining to run free. The trainer at his new class last night told us there is a narrow window available to letting puppies off the lead, and after that "they just go". I just feel Ted will be a danger to himself and others (he jumps up at passers by, children and cyclists, and goes mental if he meets another dog). I'm going to bite the bullet today and use Pippa's book and my new Acme whistle and some roast chicken, in the garden, and tomorrow early morning to an enclosed tennis court, assuming there are no players. I just wish I felt more relaxed about it, because Ted does seem to have read the "How To Subvert Puppy Rules Handbook"
     
  16. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    The thing is, Ted feels very confident in the garden, because he knows it's safe. The thing is that, when you take him outside of his comfort zone, those instincts to stick close to what keeps him safe - you - should kick in. Like I said, find somewhere safe you know he can't do himself any damage, and that will make you relax. Ted will be just fine.
     
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  17. Deejay50

    Deejay50 Registered Users

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    Thanks for the encouragement. As we speak I am roasting some chicken! On a positive note, I reported elsewhere Ted's habit when walking out on a lead of "click-treat-yank", as he stopped after every treat. Today I decided to up the rate of treats and keep a positive voiced "come on, yes!, good boy" going. Sounded silly to passers by and those waking up in the houses we passed, but he behaved like a Crufts best in show. Buoyed by this success I eagerly await the timer to go off on the oven!
     
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  18. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    The "yoyo" effect of starting to pull immediately after a treat is pretty common. There are several ways of dealing with it. One is treat streaming, which works very well for some dogs. Another is to stop to give the treat, rather than feeding "on the move". Then you set off again, and immediately click the movement with you, stop and treat again. It's very stop-start, but can help break the forward momentum. When you set off, make sure you do so slowly, because it sets him up for success better than starting striding off. And, obviously, over time, you require two steps with you, three, four etc before he gets a treat - although, still mix it up so sometimes he gets a treat after just a single pace, even though he's able to do ten paces. This means he's more likely to pay attention as the distance increases, because he never knows when a treat may be coming. And, in time, you can fade the stopping, too.

    One other method is to make it a real game of "keeping pace". So, run a few paces, turn and run in a different direction, then slow right down in another direction etc, C&Ting all the time for him keeping pace. I like this game, it's fun for both of us :)
     
  19. Deejay50

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  20. Deejay50

    Deejay50 Registered Users

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    Treat streaming certainly seems to work with Ted, to the extent that I can slightly delay the frequency. What also seems to work (for now) is distracting him with treats to sit down and wait until a cyclist, walker, or dog have passed. I'm hoping for some tips in how have him (one day) to allow interesting objects to pass by without the need to distract. Early days I know, and we'll get there.
     

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