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I am training my 10 month old golden doodle and we are able to walk together around the neighborhood when she is on a leash with no pulling at all. Eventually I want to be able to walk with no leash and have her ignore distractions.

My question is: every morning we walk on a trail where there are no other dogs or people. When we do this I let her off the leash and let her run ahead of me. Sometimes she lags behind me about 50 yards but once I get too far ahead of her she sprints to catch up to me. Should I not let her run ahead of me or get behind me if I am trying to train to walk off leash around the neighborhood? Should I be consistent and try and make her walk beside me no matter where we are? I'm wondering if I am confusing her by being inconsistent.

Also I amp using don Sullivan's training system which is working really well so far.

Thanks :)
 

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I haven't managed the magical off leash walk yet, but we're working on it! All I can suggest is either a flexi or a long line so you have at least some control and use that for quite a while until you're completely confident she will stick with you. IMO, with the freedom of being off leash (or on a long line for that matter) the freedom to explore is going to take over at least a little, so completely ignoring stuff isn't likely, but you might be able to get her to be very attentive to a "carry on" or "leave it" command and only explore in a small area around where you are walking. We've been training Caeda on the flexi/long line saying "Eh Eh" when she starts getting further away than we want her, which makes her either wait for us to catch up, or at least come closer to us not venturing further away.
IMO, no matter what, with your dog off leash anywhere, there is a major risk, you will always have to be vigilant. A new distraction, that she hasn't learned to ignore, or is too much to walk past could always happen and who knows what the result could be.....could be fine, but it could go horribly.
I'm sure others will have some better suggestions on how to get along training the off leash walk.
 

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My question is: every morning we walk on a trail where there are no other dogs or people. When we do this I let her off the leash and let her run ahead of me. Sometimes she lags behind me about 50 yards but once I get too far ahead of her she sprints to catch up to me. Should I not let her run ahead of me or get behind me if I am trying to train to walk off leash around the neighborhood? Should I be consistent and try and make her walk beside me no matter where we are? I'm wondering if I am confusing her by being inconsistent.
Depends on what you need/want.

I needed/wanted Wally to both be able to roam/explore off-leash as well was walk with me (as in relatively close to side-by-side if not exactly so). So I worked on the side-by-side walking first in a safe area and rewarding often and heavily when does so. I also wanted him to not lag/go to far ahead during this process so he can get a better idea of what is needed from him.

One of the rewards for staying near me is being able to go off and explore - giving me a "life reward" way to encourage staying by my side with more work on recall and always keeping "an eye and an ear" on where I am so that we stay "connected" to each other even at distance.

We're not quite at the 'ignore distractions' part, but at least he's able to maintain relative position in spite of them (i.e. he'll look with his nosy self, but won't break, etc.). Depending on what it is, I'll play "look at that" with it or cue him to watch me and reward when he focuses on me.
 

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Ditto with KBLover. I walk my dog offleash in an enclosed 10 acre park every day. He is allowed most freedom on the perimeter, and I call him back when goes off the perimeter path, inside the park. He's about 75% reliable to return, but he's not 'running away,' he's running towards food, another dog, or people. Although this is not a formal dog park, meet and greet is usually OK.

On the other hand, I do not trust him offleash, even on our quiet street, and I have to watch him in the driveway... and he's 11 yo !!! I never taught him to ignore squirrels, cats, and other dogs... so he may chase them when he sees them. I can walk him off leash on the street on Sunday morning, but I have to watch him very closely.

My point is that you can teach your dog to walk offleash in two different situations. First, on the path, like you're currently doing. But don't expect that training to transfer to street walking, or walking in the face of distractions. For street walking, you almost need an informal heel, close to you, with attention on you, and ignore distractions, although some sniffing etc. may be OK, after you have reliability.
 

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It is nice to have a dog that can walk off leash and by all means teach them to do so(in a secure area), but I would never walk any of my dogs down the street without a leash. I have had dogs for 40 years and they are very unpredictable when there is a distraction-I don't care how well they are trained. Just recently someone I know had a 12 year old dog that was very trustworthy..100% recall for many years...he seen a squirrel and he was gone and the end result was him getting hit by a car and dying.....12 years of a solid recall, no problems!! I would much rather have my dog on a leash then to take a chance with its safety and/or life.
 

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I'm wondering what the purpose is, in walking your dog around your neighbourhood unleashed ? IMO it's flirting with disaster, for all but the most exceptionally well-trained dogs. Perhaps there's a good reason why you want to do this but I just don't see it. :confused: I dunno, maybe it's one of Don Sullivan's lofty "promises" that leaves people with stars in their eyes, lol.

For allowing the dog liberty in appropriate, unpopulated areas -- I will remove their (flat) collar. *collar OFF* becomes the cue that they are free to roam somewhat, but must stay within a certain range. And, I frequently reward the dog for voluntarily "checking in" with me, plus I'll throw in the occassional "recall" to practice for possible safety issues that might arise one day ... just in case.

On the other hand -- *collar ON* becomes the cue that it's work time so-to speak, ie: no roaming permitted, with or without a leash.

If you are completely intent on teaching your dog to walk off leash in populated areas, then I would highly suggest that you enroll in organized obedience classes where you will recieve experience, and direction on the finer points of doing so, in a controlled environment to begin with. Good luck. And please .. stay safe! :)
 

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I'm wondering what the purpose is, in walking your dog around your neighbourhood unleashed ?
Perhaps the neighborhood is like mine - off from any main road and lots of fields and a paths in small wooded areas. I can walk from one end of the neighborhood to the other without crossing a street.

I wouldn't walk off-leash down a main/busy road by any means. I trust Wally but like you said, that's crazy. Like that dog playing fetch in that Don Sullivan commercial - right next to a main road. If he makes an overthrow or the ball takes a funny hop into the road - that boundary line training gets a real life and death test.
 

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I'm wondering what the purpose is, in walking your dog around your neighbourhood unleashed ? IMO it's flirting with disaster, for all but the most exceptionally well-trained dogs. Perhaps there's a good reason why you want to do this but I just don't see it. :confused: I dunno, maybe it's one of Don Sullivan's lofty "promises" that leaves people with stars in their eyes, lol.
Flirting with disaster, is a very kind way of explaining what could happen. Do not believe lofty promises from any trainers, after all the trainers are gambling with your dog not theirs. The dog you lose will be yours, any trainer worth his salt would never advise off lead walks in traffic areas.

The problem is there are many "professional trainers" that can work/walk their dogs off lead anywhere. Even some dedicated hard working amateur owners. The average dog owner is not gonna get the job done.

The dog could die and then the owner will say "My Bad" I didn't think it would happen to us.
 
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