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Off-leash freedom!

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 7:42am PST 
Lupi's 5 now. All grown up and seriously bonded to me. Quite obedient (especially for a Doxielaugh out loud and much less reactive than she used to be.

So lately I've been fantasizing about losing the leash. My city has strict leash laws, and I abide by them, but I keep thinking about how nice it would be-freeing-to simply have her under voice control.

This past weekend we visited another town in a different province. A small town, with a much more laid-back feel than my city. Right away I noticed that just about every dog was off-leash! Not just in parks, but walking down the quieter streets of town as well. I scrutinized any signs relating to dogs and they simply said dogs needed to be under control and picked up after.

Needless to say, Lupi got to spend her weekend off-leash. It was wonderful! She heeled when asked and stayed close the rest of the time, lagging behind only for the occasional sniff. She met lots of nice dogs, and we met so many people who had to stop and talk about her, or "Weiner dogs" in general. Not saying that wouldn't have happened had she been on-leash, but just to show the friendly, dog-loving culture.

A few observations I made: The off-leash dogs were much calmer than the few leashed ones. Only leashed dogs jumped on people or greeted other dogs inappropriately. Perhaps they were kept on-leash because of that.

No dogs showed any reactivity or aggression. Was this because people who have reactive dogs are afraid to walk them due to the high number of off-leash dogs? Or does the leash play a huge part in reactivity (flight is not an option, so fight becomes the only choice?)

People seemed far more dog-savvy than the ones I run into in my own city. Now this could have been pure coincidence, but I spoke to so many different people who seemed to have a fair bit of knowledge about Dachshunds (although we never saw another Doxie) and dog behavior. In a pet supply shop, Lupi was clearly stressed (by the way, she was on-leash in the store!). There were rats and mice being sold, and her focus was only on those smells. Anyway, several people came up to meet her and all observed that she was throwing calming signals and didn't want to be petted. One lady noticed her lip-licking, and another even commented on her "stress shake" One guy actually said, "You can sniff me and I won't try to pet you!" I could have hugged him! Here, even the folks who work at pet supply stores will try to pet my dog when I tell them she's afraid.

Besides her stressful pet store experience, Lupi had a great time. I think it was freeing for both of us, not worrying about the leash.

Obviously there are reasons for leash-laws, but it was interesting to see how things "worked" without them. How many of you would enjoy the chance for a leash-free weekend? Or do any of you get to live that way all the time?
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 8:28am PST 
So glad you got to experience that! It is just bliss to do it.

I know several farmers, so I get to walk in their fields/wooded areas with my dogs off leash, and it is awesome.

There are some small parks here that have signs that say to keep your dog on leash, but I go at off hours, bad weather days, etc. I see other people there with their dogs off leash. The attitude is more along the lines that if it ain't bothering anybody, let it be. Most dog owners in this area tend to keep their distance from each other. If we happen to bump into each other, we leash our dogs to pass, say a quick hello and let them off leash once passed each other. No real dog talk. Just people out enjoying a romp with their pals.

I'm not a city person by nature, but with dogs, I most definitely could never live in the city because of the strict leash laws (with good reason in those areas). Off leash freedom is just the highlight of life for many dogs. The Sankster, who isn't good off leash, got to stretch his legs the other day at a creek I hike along. He had random bursts of running for no apparent reason. He was just that happy.big grin
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 8:33am PST 
I also have access to areas where I can free walk. I don't know how I would manage otherwise, since my dogs love it so, and they LOVE to go on walks all at the same time, which I couldn't manage with leashes. (Or could, but it would be a handful.)

So glad you got to enjoy the experience. One thing I have noticed. The more I free walk, the easier it becomes to manage the pups...They learn to take the voice command, and I get practice in using it.
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Bailey

There's nothing- in my mouth, I- swear!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 8:52am PST 
Bailey loves going places off-leash! Unfortunately we have laws here but when we take her to the trails around the lake she gets to go leash-free and she absolutely LOVES it!! What you said is true though, Bailey is much calmer when off-leash and doesn't jump on people (as much, we're still working on thissilenced) I have walked her around the block off-leash but only when it's really late and NOBODY is around. If I do happen to see someone I leash her though. I don't know what I'd do if I could never have her off-leash, we both love it!smile
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 9:05am PST 
Sanka and Savannah-Blue Bell: I do envy you both. I've lived in the city since Lupi was a puppy, so we're used to the leash, but had we gone from small-town freedom to city-life, I think it would have definitely felt like punishment for her.
Bailey, I'm glad you have lots of off-leash areas. That's one good thing here: we do have plenty of dog parks. And that's interesting to know about the jumping.
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Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 9:26am PST 
The only time Tasha is on leash is when she goes with me into town, and that's only for her safety, not because there's a law in place(there's not). She still hates loud noises and crowds of people, so I'm not about to take any chances with her startling and accidentally running into the busy street. Far too many vehicles not watching their speed or what's in front of them. Other than that, it's always off leash freedom for her(and me!). dancing She's the first dog I've ever had that I've been able to trust off leash, so I think it's awesome, it makes the walks enjoyable. big grin
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UCH Onyx TT,- CGC

Do you even- lift?
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 1:05pm PST 
I love being able to take my dogs on off lead hikes. There are lots of sparsely used trails in my area that we take advantage of nearly every day, and a nearby national forest that's surprisingly welcoming of well behaved off lead dogs. Also have a few parks where dogs are technically supposed to be leashed, but as long as your dog is under control and isn't bothering anyone, no one makes a fuss. I do leash up if a leashed dog is walking toward us on a trail, but we've never had a problem greeting other off lead dogs, and both dogs will ignore people if I ask them to.

I started off lead walks with Onyx the day I brought him home at 8 weeks, and he's always been a great off lead dog (which I also attribute to breed). I can't imagine trying to exercise him if he always had to be leashed. Especially since he's at the age where his energy seems limitless, I'm so glad I can let him loose to sprint around while I walk.

I'm a big believer in the power of free running. Lets the dog go at their own pace, really stretch out and use their muscles, stop and sniff whenever they want, and most dogs just love it. For me, watching my dogs running full speed in a huge open space is a beautiful sight. They also seem to get a lot more mental stimulation out of an off lead hike than with something like running next to a bike.
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 2:01pm PST 
Here in the UK my two are walked off lead all the time more or less. We don't have leash laws here like you guys have, thankfully. Missy doesn't get as much freedom because of her DA issues, but we have no problems whatsoever finding quiet country fields to walk in, so there is always somewhere i can let her off. I don't do street walks so Ty is on the lead for less than 5/10 minutes before running free over the fields.

There is nothing like seeing a dog running free way to go
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 2:14pm PST 
Nice to hear of all your off-leash enjoyment!

Question for Missy's owner: How do you deal with her reactivity with so many off-leash dogs around? Do other dogs approach her or do they tend to give her space?
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 3:51pm PST 
It can be tough at times Lupi, but over the years i've learnt to avoid peak walking times and where i live right now i know most of the dog walkers and their dogs and they know of Missy's issues. We can walk with a couple of well known dogs and she does great.

When we go away, we purposefully choose areas which are quite remote and we go out of season to avoid crowds too.

That said, *touch wood* we haven't ever had any major run ins with dogs. Most will approach so far and back off once Missy acts up. The places we tend to walk are large enough to avoid other dogs too.
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