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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 5 month on sighthound Whippet and had him since he was 7 weeks old. I first started off training with positive training and recall was great. As the months passed by, recall starting getting worse and worse... to the point where he barely listens. I tried other methods (ecollar with sound and vibrate only) to distract his attention but has proven quite useless. He'll look around to find the source of the distraction and then go right back to what he was doing.

I've brought treats with me that he loves when he's at home but when we go out to the park, I literally have to stuff the treat in his mouth for him to eat it. There is no treat that is more attractive than being outside and free.

When he is at home, he knows exactly what to do when called. 100% success in home recall so out in the field, it is not like he doesn't understand, rather, he chooses to ignore me. It boils my blood. I've never reprimanded for a failed recall so I shouldn't have poisoned my recall word.

I keep hearing in particular hounds can never be off leash due to their prey drive, smell, whatever it may be in their nature. Since my whippet is maturing, could it be that the statement is true? A lot of Whippet owners also say never to let off leash.

Is it universally true? I'm saddened to think that some dogs will rarely experience running freely. Should I give up on having a high % recall success rate and accept that my dog might be one of those dogs that can never be off leash?

For those who have decided to never let their dog off leash, what was the tipping point that brought you to your decision?
 

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Sighthounds should never be off leash in an unenclosed space. They are far too likely to bolt off after an animal and you will not be able to call them off of it.
 

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Don't give up. You never know when you might need the training.
But yes, some dogs can never be trusted off leash. A lot of times this has to do with breed traits, like hounds, huskies, etc. My husky could never be off leash. She did everything she could to get off it, and the one time I took her to a secure place where she could run off leash, she spent 10 minutes walking the perimeter looking for weak spots, then went to the far gate and started trying to flip the latch up to get out.
 

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I have two whippets and they are really well trained. I will never have them off-leash in non-secure environments. They recall beautifully, but their prey drive is so high and their speed is so incredible that I would never risk losing them. They get to run in agility. They get to run in my yard. But mine are not off-leash dogs. Not worth the risk to me.

When they see squirrels, rabbits, deer, fox, they are out of their minds. They are incapable of making good decisions when they're that pumped up.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have two whippets and they are really well trained. I will never have them off-leash in non-secure environments. They recall beautifully, but their prey drive is so high and their speed is so incredible that I would never risk losing them. They get to run in agility. They get to run in my yard. But mine are not off-leash dogs. Not worth the risk to me.

When they see squirrels, rabbits, deer, fox, they are out of their minds. They are incapable of making good decisions when they're that pumped up.
Oh that's so sad. I don't have a yard and all the dog parks are completely filthy, dirt and poo everywhere, not to mention some aggressive rough playing dogs.

I've played fetch with him almost every single day with him for the past 2 months and he loves the exercise. He also runs around with a few dogs in the area. As a result, he's developed some really fine muscles that are clearly visible when he gently flexes or stretches.

If I start disallowing his off-leash time.... I'll have a difficult time finding an alternate way to expend his excess energy. We could walk for an hour I guess but nothing beats running full sprint for a Whippet.
 

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Do you have a long rope lead?i highly encourage this worked really well with my dog Jessie basically on walks esp open spaces switch the lead to the long rope one and practise recall and when doesnt come gently rail them in they soon pick up on what is wanted and learn! if i said Jessie come girl and she came right away i treated her. sounds like could be starting the teenager phase too so i really encourage you to work really hard on the recall and other things :)
 

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I've never been comfortable letting most of my dogs off leash. All it takes is one squirrel, cat, other dog and my dog could be gone or worse.

Do you have any friends or family members with fenced in yards that would let you use the yard? What about a fenced in field at a school?

I have a 6 month old longhaired whippet!
 

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I agree with everyone above. I don't think any dog is 100% bullet proof. The #1 reason I got a vizsla was bc I need a good off leash dog, and he's still not 100%. I know there are are up to 30 foot leashes out there, bicycle attachments, dog parks...Ive read that when dogs carry backpacks they often become more serious bc they feel like they have a job to do, not sure how true that is lol!
 

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There isn't anywhere around here legal to have dogs off leash around here so it is a non issue. I do practice getting the dogs in the house when they slip through the door and we practice obedience type stuff though.

I'd get over the dirt in the dog park thing and look for times it is empty and go then. My park actually has a hose outside so you could rinse the dogs quickly and dry before putting them in the car and/or crate them so any mess is in there rather your car seats.

I suggest using a flirt pole as part of your safely fenced recall training as it plugs into the dog's prey drive like nothing else we can do. Put obedience into the game planning in the end to be able to call your dog off a hot pursuit of its lure. I've never trained to that point, just to moving lure without dog moving, it would be a great addition to your training exercises. I don't know that I would try it in the real world on purpose but it could help in an emergency.

Sassy was extremely prey driven and could be called off treed squirrels, hot pursuit of a gopher and away from running animals that were far enough away. It is possible for them to learn to use ears while they are in pursuit although clearly I wasn't dealing in speed of sound issues with her!

Running next to a bike is fabulous for 12" tall Bucky who can reach 25mph for a moment or two according to Strava, a GPS exercising tracker. I can only get to that speed downhill. Your dogs may get good and tired but it really isn't going to be anything like what a sighthound can do.
 

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You can get 50ft leashes on amazon - I got one for my puppy while we work on recall. As others have said, just make sure you have him on a harness if you use the long line. I use the long line with Oliver's Julius k9. He can still run around on it and play with other dogs. I also 'taught' (using the word loosely) a cue 'heads up' that I use as he's getting to the end of the line, so now he slows down before he hits the end. He has his harness so he wouldn't get injured, but still, nice to give him a heads up that he's about to get yanked on.

But yes, it is true that some dogs can never be trusted off leash. I absolutely love sight hounds, but since I am a big hiker and camper, I will probably never own one for that reason. A dog that is known for not being off leash reliable isn't something that fits into my lifestyle.
 

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One thing to consider with long leashes is to buy a horse lead rather than a dog leash. I could buy 20 and 50 ft horse leads for a few dollars, compared to dog leashes for $50 or more.
 

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You know what's sadder than a dog that can't be offleash? A dog that's dead because it was allowed offleash and it shouldn't have been.

My previous dog was never offleash a day in his life. He wouldn't bolt, but he was highly dog aggressive and letting him offleash would have resulted in him killing someone else's dog. One time, he escaped from my backyard, ate an entire teddy bear and almost died from the resulting blockage.

My current dog would go haring off after a rabbit or an interesting scent, get three states over and realize he didn't know where home was. So he's not going offleash, either.
 

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I've never allowed either of our terriers off leash in unenclosed spaces. It doesn't matter how well trained they are I know that their prey drive would be too strong for them to notice me, never mind obey me, should something small and furry enter their line of sight.
They've been off leash in dog parks and we're planning to fence an area of the yard, but not in unenclosed spaces. Oh, and our trails etc. are all on leash although a lot of people ignore that.
 

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You know what's sadder than a dog that can't be offleash? A dog that's dead because it was allowed offleash and it shouldn't have been.

My previous dog was never offleash a day in his life. He wouldn't bolt, but he was highly dog aggressive and letting him offleash would have resulted in him killing someone else's dog. One time, he escaped from my backyard, ate an entire teddy bear and almost died from the resulting blockage.

My current dog would go haring off after a rabbit or an interesting scent, get three states over and realize he didn't know where home was. So he's not going offleash, either.
Oh so true, and well said.
 

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Yes unfortunately some dogs can never be trusted off leash. But there are other great options for them to run and play. Agility classes (or some other fun class) is an option; doggy daycare is another.
 

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Yes unfortunately some dogs can never be trusted off leash. But there are other great options for them to run and play. Agility classes (or some other fun class) is an option; doggy daycare is another.
Yes, look at what is available in your area. Some areas may even offer lure coursing for dogs who love to run and chase.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So for those who mentioned long leashes, I'm afraid that when my whippy dashes and reaches the end, it'll hit like whiplash. Could be dangerous to his neck or body if I use a harness.

Wouldn't a flirt pole encourage the fact that chasing something small and quick is ok?

I know recall may never reach 100% but in large open spaces, I'd like to give him a chance to run.
 
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