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Old 11-18-2014, 03:45 PM
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Default Dogs that can never be off leash

In the interest of starting more threads...

Let's say you had a dog who, after a long while (6 months-a year or more) of long line work, recall practice frequently and with increasing gradual distraction, jackpotting like crazy for a snappy recall since puppyhood, endless games of pass the puppy, etc etc., you trust off leash. He's reliable enough to be called off squirrels, other dogs, people, the works. But that 1% of the time, you get blown off.

I am shooken up today. Astro has been doing amazingly well with his recall and attention. He has a fantastic stay, he does check ins frequently, he comes racing at the recall word. I've been letting him off leash on certain off leash trails and I think it's done wonders for him; he's happier and more exercised and more stimulated than he's ever been.

Well today, after so much success, I called him. There was nothing around. No squirrel, no nothing, and he was just standing there. He looked me in the face and turned and ran HARD. He ran so far he ran into a road. Not gonna lie, I couldn't bring myself to be neutral when I finally caught him. I was so scared I grabbed him by the collar and hauled his butt back, I was shaking.

At this point, what would you do? Beyond the specifics of Astro/my situation, how long do you try before just giving in and accepting that a dog might never be reliable off leash and always keep him on one? Do you proof with an e-collar?

I used to think that I'd be ok with a never-off-leash dog, but now, having seen how happy Astro is on the trails without one, I'm so bummed out, but I'm not sure where to turn.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:11 PM
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He's young, right? Could be an age thing. Watson went from 100% off leash to very poor off leash pretty much over night. I have faith that some day in his old age he will be good again, but I'm resigned to knowing that right now, he's not.

I have considered an ecollar, but I haven't found anyone to show me how to train it so it's not an option at the moment. I don't think it's the end of the world though if that's the route you go. I know many people who have used them successfull.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:18 PM
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I, personally, would proof with an e-collar, but I have dogs that would handle that kind of training well (aka, respond appropriately and not have fallout because of it).

Cynder is brilliant off leash (for Michael - I have to be more careful because I can't whistle, which is what he trained her to "come" to). She checks in. She doesn't go far. She will recall off of anything - even a running deer that she is chasing. That being said, she's had her moments where she doesn't come when called on the first time due to xyz. When that happens, the e-collar goes on and stays on whenever she's outside for about a month. It's used when it is needed and the rest of the time it just hangs out on her so she doesn't associate the collar with the stim. (It helps that she goes naked when she's in the house, so she doesn't associate certain collars with certain things anyway - any collar is a collar to her.)

Over the past three years, she's needed her recall proofed only once, and that was when we moved into our rural apartment and the woods was just soooo full of smells, and it was where she lived so she wasn't as keen on checking in as she normally would be in a new environment.

I plan on proofing Abrams' recall with an ecollar, but then I'm paranoid enough that any time he's ever off leash I'll have the ecollar on him (unlike Cynder, who hasn't worn hers in forever), just for the scenario you described with Astro.

Whether or not an e-collar would work for Astro is another thing entirely, that is just what I have done, and am planning to do, for my current dogs. If I had a dog that wouldn't do well with an e-collar, I'd likely just have them live on a long line, because I don't like worrying about that 1%.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:20 PM
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After losing Charlie, an extremely well trained close working bombproof dog to a douche in a truck that swerved intentionally to hit him, I will never let my dogs off leash outside a fenced area again. I know that's not practical for some people, but it only takes a second and I'm used to it anyway with the zois. Plus I have access to vast swaths of fenced family owned pasture.

Edit: There just isn't a fail safe way to keep a dog safe from harm if it's not physically attached to you. You can mitigate the risk by training, and only picking low risk areas to let them off leash but you can never eliminate it.

As an example, Logan's breeder lost her very first collie to a car. Tucker was a SAR dog, certified and a full fledged member of the county search team with finds under his belt. He had to be off leash for his work. He tracked someone into the road and that's when the car got him. She was devastated.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:31 PM
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I would probably take a step back but not rule it out completely.

I had a huge scare with Traveler awhile back that I don't think I posted about on the forum. I was letting all the dogs out at night when Traveler slipped by me through the open door into the back yard (For a frame of reference, Traveler is not a door bolter and after a lot of work he's trusted supervised off leash in my yard). I think maybe an animal ran through the yard behind us but I'm not sure.

I called him, I couldn't see him at all. I took a moment to run in, get shoes on and grab a leash. Over 20 minutes later, with my whole family out looking for him, not having seen him once, I got a call from his microchip company that he had been picked up over a mile away by a police officer. He had crossed two larger streets and was just yards away from a 8 lane major street.

I'm telling you this so you know that I totally get where you are coming from.

That pretty much terrified me and I haven't been able to get the same security back that I had. It took me weeks to let him off a long line in the back yard and I kept obsessively checking his collar to make sure there wasn't a chance it could come off. But, I still trust him off leash in other places. I don't trust him as much as Didgie but I try to stack the deck in my favor with the places I let him off. Such as around water, places where the way they are formed nature makes more of a barricade. I make sure that I'm actively working him when he's off leash in my yard (which is honestly the place he's worst) and I bring the best smelling treats and the highest reinforcers I can. I reworked my recall with him to match Didgie's because it worked a lot better for her and I like it more.

His life would be miserable if he could only be on leash, or even just on a long line. It's not for him.

So, I took some steps back. I waited awhile until I wasn't going to panic every time his head turned away from me and when I'm in places I know I don't have to worry about him taking off (my dog park, unfenced but huge) I make a BIG deal about coming back to me.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:44 PM
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I was super lax when it was just Lily. Probably stupid even with how awesome she is, but it is what it is and luckily nothing bad happened.

Nowadays I keep them leashed in town. Primarily to set an example for those who do not follow leash laws or have any semblance of common courtesy. I use a line/leash in certain situations out in the boonies, like when I have Lily help push sheep. Neither of us has enough training on it to be perfect so I want that to make sure she isn't set up to make a mistake like blowing through the middle of them. I get her out when they are being super stubborn because the BC is too soft and more interested in the ATV. I also leash Scout still when the ATV is going in close proximity. The BC's obsession transferred a bit and while its fixed at a distance, we're upping criteria of closer proximity. Going good though!

I would expect not listening during adolescence and use lines, etc. accordingly. I got both my dogs at a year or more old, though I have to say Scout didn't grow a grown up brain until the summer she turned 3.

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Old 11-18-2014, 07:06 PM
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I would proof with an RT.
And remember his age, he's still in adolescence. Young dogs do dumb things.

Quinn's recall is great. I am picky about where I have her offleash because I don't want dogs bombarding us but I know her recall is dam fine.

Until that one day it wasn't. We were at the rugby grounds where I run her offlead as I've been doing for years. About 12 months earlier we had had an off leash GSP come and ambush her mid ball game. He didn't do anything but he gave her a big fright. Since then she doesn't like GSP's.

Well this one day we were probably 80m+ back from the road playing ball when suddenly she just started sprinting across the field. Turns out she had spotted said GSP walking along the edge of the road with its owner.

Her recall fell on deaf ears and she went straight across the road in front of a truck. Thank god for good brakes! I really thought I was about to watch her get cleaned up right in front of my eyes. It was stupid close and she was totally oblivious.
She then did her "I'm 2m from the dog now - I'm done. I'll recall now" and sprinted back to me.
Talk about a mess of emotions. So much anger and relief at the same time. I just slowly picked her up by her loose scruff skin, kissed on the head than went back to our game.

it was totally out of character, dogs pass us semi frequently when we're out there are noone else has ever bothered her.

I pulled out my RT the next day and have it on her as much as possible. Main problem is that her recall is so reliable that actually making sure I'm ready for the one where she blows me off is the hardest part.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrose_s View Post
I would proof with an RT.
And remember his age, he's still in adolescence. Young dogs do dumb things.

Quinn's recall is great. I am picky about where I have her offleash because I don't want dogs bombarding us but I know her recall is dam fine.

Until that one day it wasn't. We were at the rugby grounds where I run her offlead as I've been doing for years. About 12 months earlier we had had an off leash GSP come and ambush her mid ball game. He didn't do anything but he gave her a big fright. Since then she doesn't like GSP's.

Well this one day we were probably 80m+ back from the road playing ball when suddenly she just started sprinting across the field. Turns out she had spotted said GSP walking along the edge of the road with its owner.

Her recall fell on deaf ears and she went straight across the road in front of a truck. Thank god for good brakes! I really thought I was about to watch her get cleaned up right in front of my eyes. It was stupid close and she was totally oblivious.
She then did her "I'm 2m from the dog now - I'm done. I'll recall now" and sprinted back to me.
Talk about a mess of emotions. So much anger and relief at the same time. I just slowly picked her up by her loose scruff skin, kissed on the head than went back to our game.

it was totally out of character, dogs pass us semi frequently when we're out there are noone else has ever bothered her.

I pulled out my RT the next day and have it on her as much as possible. Main problem is that her recall is so reliable that actually making sure I'm ready for the one where she blows me off is the hardest part.
What is a RT? What does that stand for?

Is it the same or something different as a shock collar?
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slick View Post
What is a RT? What does that stand for?

Is it the same or something different as a shock collar?
Remote trainer? (Aka, shock collar?) I'm totally guessing here, but that is what I read it as.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
After losing Charlie, an extremely well trained close working bombproof dog to a douche in a truck that swerved intentionally to hit him, I will never let my dogs off leash outside a fenced area again. I know that's not practical for some people, but it only takes a second and I'm used to it anyway with the zois. Plus I have access to vast swaths of fenced family owned pasture.

Edit: There just isn't a fail safe way to keep a dog safe from harm if it's not physically attached to you. You can mitigate the risk by training, and only picking low risk areas to let them off leash but you can never eliminate it.

As an example, Logan's breeder lost her very first collie to a car. Tucker was a SAR dog, certified and a full fledged member of the county search team with finds under his belt. He had to be off leash for his work. He tracked someone into the road and that's when the car got him. She was devastated.
I'm the exact same way. I have a scent hound that can and will run effing miles away from me, despite years of training and practice, and then of course my Amstaff, who is DA. I cannot even think about letting him off leash if I haven't secured the area-it's my responsibility to make sure he doesn't attack or kill someone else's dog. Just comes with the territory.
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