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Hi everyone! Most of you know I have Calvin. He is almost 1 year old now and the best dog ever! My question is this....I see people walking around parks with their dogs walking nicely next to them OFF LEASH and I am wondering how they train that. I would like to have Calvin hang out with us in the front yard, but have never actually had him off leash for fear of him running off. He did respond to the "come" command MOST of the time, but it has been about 5 months since we have used it due to "The Lizzie Factor". How do I train him to hang out with us off leash without actually letting him off leash? My other concern is that if I "try it out" in the front yard, I'm afraid he may remember his 3 day adventure with Lizzie and start to go on another one! Does that make sense? Help!
Thanks! Leslie
 

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hey Leslie, I'm no trainer, and believe me I would LOVE this option on all our dogs! Our poodle does this naturally, without training, but our 11yr old Lab will still take off if allowed! She just comes home quicker, now that she's old. :?

This might or might not be what you wanna hear, but I would probably start with resuming an obedience course, if I were you.
 

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I would love to trust Frankie too in the front yard off a leash, but I feel better when he has one on. He listens very good and we have been taking him out in the front when we are there, but we put in on a real long leash so he can move around alot. I have to admit he has been very good especially with the little kids, he doesn't jump on them as much which is a good thing and he doesn't go after other dogs, just watches them walk by, he has definatly calmed down in the past couple of months. He does have a fenced yard so the only time he is tied up is when we are out with him in the front.
 

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Well I cant speak for outside the yard but for in the yard I installed an invisible fence myself in 1 evening for $200 bucks for the whole yard, right at an acre. Training was very easy as long as you follow the guidline. Murphy is a year old and has done great with it. Now I just hope he gets over trying to dig to China in my wifes flower beds.
 

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We have a LARGE area that Cinnamon runs in, I can work in the flower gardens and such with out her running off, even if the neighbor's dog (who they let run free all over God's green earth) gets her attention, she'll stay with me. It takes time and a lot of telling her over and over to "stay with me" and the just plain STAY! When we visit our kids, who live in subdivisions, she'll stay with us, but she does have to learn the new boundaries. She still wants to wander if we don't watch her there. I think she's just so used to knowing what her boundaries are at home she doesn't even think about it.

I start with the basics - sit, stay, come, heel, etc - and work up to the off leash thing. It will not happen while they are pups, they will have to mature a little. IT takes LOTS and LOTS of practice and patience! Letting them walk around the yard with the leash on helps and don't let them get to far ahead of you that you can't catch the leash if they look as though they might make a run for it.

Calvin is just the right age to start this kind of stay in the yard thing. I bet if you work on it, you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much you can trust him. Let him know his boundaries and keep him on a leash or rope for a while. He will wander if not watched at first, but he'll get better. If Cinnamon starts to wander now (usually with her nose to the ground!) all I have to say is a couple of words and she'll come running back to me like it was the most fun she's had for days! I'm still not brave enough to walk her in public places with out a leash, more afraid of people than her. Most places have leash laws now and it wouldn't be prudent to test those laws!
 

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We took our dogs (3) to a week-long in-house training. They came out perfectly trained...perfectly! I could walk all 3 at heel and not one problem.
That very day, we had moved, I took them to the new home, all excited about their new skills and ready to keep a close eye on them and keep the training up.
We went in the house, they found an open door in the back of the house, ran around to the open gate at the front of the deck and were gone for 4 hours!
Luckily, we found them...and they could barely walk for the next 4 days! The pads of their feet were raw.
Now, I have 5 dogs. I know that 4 of them would stay nearby...UNLESS they are with the 5th one! She would take (and still does take) every opportunity to run as soon as she sees an open door! She doesn't look back!
My point is, that some dogs have this in their nature and I don't believe you can train them not to do it. I guess you could, but not to the point of completely trusting them. My Bayley is one of those dogs.
My others are followers.
You know who owns the most obedient, off leash dogs I have ever seen? (And this is consistently...) homeless people! The transients that are always in our town. We live in a small town in northern CA and get a lot of young, transient kids. All of them have dogs and every dog is off leash and stays right by them.
Once I saw a puppy with one of these kids. The pup was off leash! I was terrified that it would be hit by a car (the freeway turns into our mainstreet) but it stayed right by its owner! The owner didn't even have to say a word!
There is something about the right dog...and something about the emotional connection...but these dog/owner relationships are simply amazing to me!
I have seen a few tethered to their owner on a long rope. I believe that tethering a dog is an excellent start for training and keeping them near you. (But for me it may be too late with Bay. *sigh*)
 

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Jac great point about the transients, I have actually noticed that very thing here in Indy. I guess if all you have is your dog with you 24-7 you could give them alot of attention. I used to have a beagle that was terrible about staying close by. But I will say Murphy is great at staying close. Especially when we go hiking.
 

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Janie,

What part of Indy are you in? I used to live in that part of the country and still have family that live in the south east part of the city. I'm from a little town east of Indy, but have been to the "big city" many times!

Becky & Cinnamon
 
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