Sunday, March 22, 2015

Off-leash

At Joey's last obedience class, I asked his trainer about continuing training. I've really enjoyed going (gives me something to do on a Friday night! haha), and we've all learned quite a bit. He suggested doing another round of the classes (five weeks) to perfect all of the obedience commands in a distracting environment. Joey knows all the basic commands PERFECTLY when we're at home; and then in class, it's so much harder, because he's constantly distracted (which is the point).

I'd like to talk with his trainer about teaching Joey to come (without fail) when he's off leash. I don't plan to take him off leash when I run with him or anything, but we have the perfect place across the street from our house for him to run and play. I've written about it several times, but it's basically an access road that's only open in case of a major emergency, and it runs through a marsh.

Ohmygoodness... this photo! I'm totally turning into a dog-person.
I need to get another cat or something, STAT! ;)
Yesterday, I took Joey for a walk back there, and forgot to bring his long lead (I only had his 6-ft leash). There's never anyone back there, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice off-leash. I let him loose, and he had a blast! He stayed within about 150 feet of me in each direction. At first, he came when I whistled, but he'd run to me and then blow right past me, running the other direction.


He never went too far, and when I stepped behind a tree, I could see him look around like he was worried I was gone, and then he came to me. So I think he'll be able to figure out a recall with training--I just need help knowing how to train him for that.

Today, the kids and I took him out there again, and he did a lot less running and more exploring. His nose was on the ground constantly, and even when I offered treats to come to me, he wasn't interested. Still, he stayed in close proximity, and when we started walking down the path, he followed.

The kids and I were cracking up at Joey while he leaped through the phragmites. Eli has a bit of a cold, so his laugh sounds terrible on this video, but you can see Joey having a good old time.

video



Tomorrow is Motivational Monday, so if you have a photo to submit, please do! It's been a couple of weeks since the last MM, so I'm looking forward to reading your stories :)

9 comments:

  1. One of the most important things for training a recall is to make sure that you reward the dog when they come to you. So when he came back to you and blew past, he probably would have stopped at you every time if you had had some tasty treats that you gave him every time he came over to you. And if you give him treats when he comes and checks in with you even when you don't call him, you will teach him to do a check-in behavior, where he comes by and makes sure he knows where you are as you guys walk. I hike with my dogs off leash all the time, and the check in behavior is essential to being able to do that.

    The other big thing, is if you call your dog, and they don't come, and then you finally get them after a while, don't punish him. If you punish the dog when they get to you, you aren't punishing them for ignoring the "come" command, you are punishing them for returning to you, which is exactly what you don't want to do!

    I've been a long time reader of your blog, but my own blog is almost completely unrelated to yours- I am a pet blogger, and my blog is focused mostly on my daily life and training with my dogs. We take trips, compete in a number of sports including flyball, lure coursing, and dock diving, and I have been to Blog Paws, a big pet blogging conference, a few times as well. Feel free to ask if you have any dog related questions, since I pretty much have either dealt with everything, or have a friend who has!

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  2. I love that pic of you and Joey, so cute! Cats and dogs both have their own special personality traits to offer so they're equally pretty awesome, though I do lean #TeamDog a little more. ;)

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  3. Eli's laugh sounds adorable!!! You look great as a dog person, so welcome to the club! :D

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  4. The pic of you with Joey is great! In addition to coming to you without fail, you may want to talk to the trainer about the "Sit-Stay" command from a distance. A lot of people will call their dogs back to them if they get loose, but if you are near a road or somewhere with traffic, having them stay put is a lot safer, so they don't run across the street tryin to get back to you. I wish my dog could go off leash- but his little terrier brain just can't handle it.

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  5. That was a funny video and I loved Eli's hoarse little laugh. So cute! When you learn how to make Joey come when you call, let me know HOW! My Bulldog Juno is so stubborn and belligerent, she won't come when I call until she's ready to come. I love her to pieces, but she is very naughty.

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  6. I am a cat-person turned dog-person :)

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  7. Loved reading your blog. I too, love dogs, and am on a weight loss journey. Down 20 pounds and still more to go. Sounds like you have found a good place to practice off leash. Koira gave you some good hints and also, if you want Joey to come, start running away from him and I bet he will follow you!! And then reward with a treat. Good luck in your training

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  8. Aww he is adorable! All my dogs (three of them) were trained to be off leash from the very beginning, not by me but by my husband. For some reason he taught all of them great recall from an early early age and now they are better behaved off a leash than on most days lol. I think treats are a great incentive and don't chase him, they think it is a game. Make it worth his while to come to you.

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  9. That picture of you and Joey is stunning! Dogs are the best ;)

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