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Oliver is finally walking off leash now and we have not had an incident (knock on wood). I started him off off leash with our other two dogs knowing that even if he saw some type of distraction, I could recall the other two and he would return with them. He surprised me and actually stays close and checks in with me frequently, possibly thanks to the years of training we have done on a 100 foot long line.

Now we are walking off leash alone in the trails/fields that we have frequented most of his life, both with and without the other dogs. He has always been the type of dog to be aware of his surroundings and leans towards fearful/anxious although I wouldn't outright call him fearful/anxious. But even on the long line he would sometimes, on certain days, seem very "spooked" on our walks. Other days he would be fine - but he was always most "at ease" when the other dogs were around. Off leash, his behavior is similar, but I notice him stopping and listening with questionable posture/body language like he is alarmed/nervous very frequently. Sometimes he will shrug it off and come bounding to me with a smile on his face but I'd say he has these tense moments 5-6 times per hour long walk.

We have done a lot of hiking and adventuring and traveling and visiting new places together and most of that (say 75-80%) has been without the other dogs. In settings like stores, hotels, leash walks in cities, etc he never misses a beat. It's only when we are off leash in the woods or fields that he seems nervous and tense at times. It makes me sad for him because those are supposed to be the most joyful and fun times for him, when we are out in nature and he gets his freedom - something we have been working towards for almost 4 years now. I wonder if it may have to do with the fact that the areas we travel might have larger animals like coyotes travelling them at night, and their scent scares him?

I've been thinking about potentially trying some CBD treats and seeing if that helps take the edge off. Or maybe I should just put him back on a leash, if it makes him feel more secure. Any ideas as to how I can make him more confident on walks alone?
 
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