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Discussion Starter #1
I just adopted an adult stray dog. Yes, I know, that's a pretty bad statement to put in in "First Time Dog Owner" forum, but well... The dog has very few problems at the moment. He doesn't know most basic commands, like sit or come. He pulls a leash, but only a bit. But on the other side, it seems he used to have an owner before. He's very peaceful, he never barks (although we did have a biting accident while taking him, but that's most likely my fault), he doesn't object to be picked up and moved, he allowed me to wash him just fine, he even seems to be already housetrained.

Anyway, the problem is I'd like to get closer to him. I can feed him, all right, and I can train him. Still, I'm afraid the life might become boring for him. I have no room to play with him at home, and outside our walks have been just walking around and doing, y'know, nature's business. The other problem is I don't think I should walk him without a leash, because I just took him home (who knows what might happen? what if he gets into a fight or runs away?).

So, can you give me a few ideas for what can I do with my dog for him to have fun and to improve our relationship?

And by the way, the dog's name will probably be Balthazar.
 

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Why is adopting an adult stray a bad thing? Adult dogs are far better for first timers than puppies. (I'm assuming you made an effort to find the previous owner?)

If he hasn't been with you for long, these things take time. He'll open up, bond to you, play more, but it does take time. As to being bored, dogs like routine. What you think of as boring same-every-dayness is comforting to a dog. As long as he gets training and attention and has things to chew, he's happy.

I definitely would not walk him off leash. It's possible that's how he ended up a stray in the first place. Walks are just what you described, walking around, sniffing things and going potty. It's far more interesting to a dog than to you, I promise.

Good luck!
 

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It doesn't have to be "exciting" on a leash. I can't trust Jax off-leash unless I have food in my hand, and not sure that I ever will be able to, and he's a good dog that knows most of the basics. To play outside, I had an anchor and tether in the yard (a rental place and unfortunately not fenced in) but recently improved upon that by setting up a trolley between trees. That allows me to pretty well do or play most anything I want to with him outside. When walking him at the park, on his leash, I use an extending leash most of the time so he has that extra length to run about, and I'll usually take a tennis ball and toss it along as we go. Park benches we'll play on, just teaching him basic tricks and commands on benches and tables. He knows "up" means to jump up on the bench/table and then we'll sit, shake, etc, whatever. One of the parks I go to has some other things, some flat benches for situps/exercises, a steep incline bench I've taught him to climb, etc etc. Just be creative. It may not be anything hardcore or ridiculously exciting to YOU but there's training/exercise value to be found all around, even on a leash.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, your answers are very comforting. What worries me is I can't imagine how can the dog exercise physically like this. Hm... Maybe we should at least run a little? Also, even right now he asks me to go out again and whines a little, although we already walked for 40-60 minutes a couple of hours ago. By the way, it's okay to walk the dog twice a day, isn't it?

(I'm assuming you made an effort to find the previous owner?)
That's the thing, while I did make an effort, I couldn't find the owner. I did ask around though. One woman said the previous owner died.
 

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I walk my 11 yo dog twice a day for 30 min. When he was much younger... and when I was much younger.... we would jog for 30 min. on leash... it took two weeks for him to learn to jog with me rather than to pull me....

However, dogs adapt. One 30 min. walk is OK. And, then training in the house or backyard also help burn off energy. You might also look for a dog park or fenced area and see if you can find someone who has a dog that will play with yours once a week.

Boring on a walk is not usually an issue for a dog, because smells change all the time.
 

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If you get a long training lead (ours is 50 feet) You could take him somewhere with plenty of room and play fetch or work on his recall.
 

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If you get a long training lead (ours is 50 feet) You could take him somewhere with plenty of room and play fetch or work on his recall.
Much agreed. I love my 50 foot lead that I bought online here. While there are a little cheaper long leads available (often from farm stores as horse lunge lines), I really like this one because the nylon is easy on my hands compared to cotton, dries quicker after getting dragged through wet grass or mud, and the bright orange shows other people and dog owners that my dog is leashed and under control. All my my city's parks have a leash law (which I support strongly) but I have never had any problem using this long orange leash in a quiet area of a park where there is room to run. And I have even been stopped and asked about it by a police officer who thought it was a great solution to the problem of on-leash fun.

My dog is never off leash any more outside of my fenced yard (used to be off-leash at a friend's horse farm but after that was sold, we have no more large private property areas to play in) and he still gets plenty of fun. Walks, hikes, jogging, sniffing, even trips to dog-friendly stores like the pet store, many hardware stores, many camping goods or other outdoor type stores (ex. Bass Pro shops), dog training classes, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh, great news... There's a possibility my dog is a border collie (a small photosession to confirm this is coming soon). And that's why he was whining all the day and asking to go outside )) This makes me wonder, how much time does he actually need to be content with two walks a day? Also, how much time can I spend training him? For most dogs, I heard, it's 15-20 minutes a day, but border collie would need more, wouldn't he?

If you get a long training lead (ours is 50 feet) You could take him somewhere with plenty of room and play fetch or work on his recall.
Good idea, sadly he doesn't yet know how to fetch :( But thanks, I'll try this once he does. I think, for now I'll try jogging while on the walk and training more.
 

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Border collies can be quite energetic. The best thing is to know your individual dog. If he seems to want more give him more.

As far as the leash goes, we don't always do fetch, we do recall, training and general playing around as well. It can be a great tool, especially if you want to go hiking or the like.
 

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We use a 20ft (hopefully going to 50ft soon) lead on Misty (who cannot currently and never will be trusted off leash). She has no idea how to fetch well (she has no interest). She loves to just run, chase and sniff everything in sight. She doesn't need a game to be entertained - your dog may not either. Just spending time together on the long lead, practicing recall and letting him explore to his dog's heart content may be a great afternoon to him. You can work on teaching him fetch, or perhaps secure him to a tree on the lead so you have two hands and play with a flirt pole (Misty's all time favorite toy) - they work well for dogs with high prey drives.
 

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I used to spend most of my time with my pat dog. That was so adorable that I used to enjoy with my pat along with activities like bikejoring, racing and coursing, disc dog or flying disc, Dog scootring, earthball, hicking and backpacking, dog walks.
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family fun activities
 

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Your dog doesn't really need "exciting" to be happy. He just needs calmness, leadership, rules, and order to feel complete as a dog. Dogs love routines. You really should keep him on the leash to avoid a problem. The leash will create a bond with your dog where he understands that you are his leader, if you use it correctly.

For now, try to conquer the walk. You say he pulls a little. Once you can walk with him beside you without pulling at all, you will know you have created a strong bond with your dog.
 
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