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Discussion Starter #1
Dan would like to walk Holley off lead. She is 11 months now and has always been on a leash while out walking. We do not have a yard currently as we live in an apartment but will be moving to a house in October so he wants to see if/what we can do. I know her recall isn't great when we take her to the fenced dog park at the apartment complex and she is so easily distriacted by anything that moves. I am just scared she will take off. Any advise?
 

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Have a go somewhere safe (not on a road) and take it slow - a few steps at a time.

In class we worked up to it by dropping their lead across their back or letting it drag on the ground. And praise her every few steps to keep her focussed on you.

And remember if she does wander away from you, don't go towards her but take off in the other direction like someone just dropped a roast chicken over there. Merc always takes me moving towards him as a signal that we are all going in that direction.

Good luck ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We worked on similar techniques in class with dropping the leash and walking away and then have them come to us. Holley would do that nonstop but there were no cars/people walking/birds/etc. That is my concern. Dan thinks she would come back to us but I don't think she is worth taking that chance with.
We are not sure how to transition her for this since she is used to the leash. I want to work more with her in the dog park but that is not true off lead training.
 

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Agree. Take Holley to a place/field where she will not be in danger. That way, if she decides not to recall, she is not taking off in the road or in someone's yard that would not like it. Pumpkin has been off leash most of her life, but I take precautions & anticipate most of the time. This means she will have a leash or check cord attached. Pumpkin is very comfortable dragging a line. This way, I can reinforce the 'come' command if she is choosing to ignore. I think it is best to avoid giving a command you are not sure your dog will listen too if you do not have the ability to "encourage" the follow through. Holley will probably love the freedom, so get ready :)

Wanted to add that we have been consistent with Pumpkin's off leash romps, so she recalls well. The instances where we need the back-up line almost always involves wildlife. We will introduce the e-collar in hunt training, but it will be with the trainer who has many years of experience with Vs. Holley will come back, but you need safety, patience, consistency, & opportunity, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the advise. I definitely think it will be a while before she will be completely off lead. She is still too ready to run after anything that moves. We will probably work with her each day at the dog park at the apartment on recall. I would like to incorporate a whistle so she knows to come when she hears it. That way, if she is further away, she can still hear the whistle to come back.
 

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Here's my advice: Don't do it. Whoever owned my Willie Boy to begin with obviously cared about him. He came to me from the dog pound quite well trained in many respects. Not one potty accident in the house, ever... and his other house manners are impeccable. Now, we all know they aren't born that way. So his first owners did care. But he was young and exhuberant, and apparently running off leash. They go so fast, it's easy to get beyond voice or even whistle range. Willie just got lost. Maybe they didn't know where to look for him. Who knows? But there he was, sitting on death row, looking like a skeleton with fur, when I adopted him. I just wouldn't do it. Also, I am very cautious about this because when I was just a girl, my beloved beagle, Sam, got loose by accident and was hit and killed by a car. We found his body right away but it was too late. If that ever happens to you, it is something you will never forget. It's probably why I've always been very cautious with my dogs. I'm the one who determines whether they will live or die. It really is a pretty big responsibility.
 

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Are you asking about going for a walk in a field/forest off-leash, or walking down the street off-leash?

If you're talking about a field, then yes of course you should let your V run. They are called velcro dogs, and although it is possible for them to run away, it is very, very unlikely.

If you're talking about walking off-leash down a city street with a Vizsla puppy, well, that is ridiculous.


mswhipple: I too lost a beagle to a car accident when I was a kid. Those dogs are escape artists, and wanderers!
Sorry to hear about your loss. I still miss my little buddy, Snoopy.

-Dennis
 

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If you are in a busy environment, the answer is flat out NO! In the forest, dog park, empty beach, go for it. Just leave the leash on as a short check cord, or begin her transition with a 30 foot check cord to off leash.
I have extremely good control of Gunnr off lead, but if we're not in the forest, WMA, or shes not in her own backyard, She's on a leash. Same with Tika.

Tell Dan to be patient. You both have invested a lot of time and energy in her. She just needs a few more months, and then you'll have a different Holley.
 

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Straight away I would invest in a whistle. Use it to recall her all the time, in the house, on the lead until she knows that the 3 pips (or whatever you choose to use) means come to me and you'll get a treat or whatever the reward is.

Secondly if you do take her off lead (somewhere safe as other people suggested) make sure she is always behind you. Seems a strange concept but if she runs ahead change direction and walk slowly in another direction. The result should be that she is following YOU not the other way round. Obviously keep one eye on her but it should make her respond to you a lot more and look for your next move.

I found that my V is never super close to me but he'll still be looking up every so often to check where I am and never strays too far.

Keep practising that recall when she is off lead. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We would never do it walking down the street or anything. Dan wants to be able to let her run around the yard, park, etc. He sees how my aunt's dobie just stays in the yard even though they don't have a fence. Neither one of our parents have fences either and he feels bad that she has to be on a leash while we are outside there. I tried to explain that he is a completely different dog with different energy level. He is not a hunting dog so if something moves near him, he doesn't care. Holley would take off after these things. I still don't like the idea at all. I just have a bad feeling about it because I don't want anything bad to happen to her. I would never forgive myself if it did. I guess we will pick up a whistle this weekend and start working in the dog park and then in the field on her 30ft lead.
Gunr,
What is a short check cord? Sorry for the foolish question.
 

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I'm going to answer Gunnr's question if I may be so rude? A check cord is basically a long leash. It plays an important role in field training; however, it is a useful tool for everyone, IMO. They come in different lengths. 15, 20, & 30 ft are what I see. You can find them online, hunting stores, & even Pet Smart. If it were me, I would get Holley used to the check cord 1st. Then introduce the whistle later unless you have already been working with it. I could very well be incorrect, but I would introduce one thing at a time. The check cord or the whistle. I wouldn't introduce a couple of new things while also expecting her to pay attention with distractions. Y'all will catch your goal in due time. You are being wise. Pumpkin will stay in our yard, but we have worked with her from the beginning; in addition, she is always dragging a line (even in situations where I feel comfortable). You can never be too safe. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for explaining. We have a 30ft lead that we have used a few times. Holley doesn't seem to understand that it ends at 30ft though and I feel so bad because she will be running like crazy and come to the end of it and do a flip because she ran out of room. I guess that will come with time as well.
 

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Always trust your instincts. If you feel the situation is risky, err on the side of caution.

One purpose of the check cord is to kind of do what it already has to Holley. Stop her and bring her up short. She's supposed to be paying attention to you. When she reaches the end of it by being a nutter, she pays the price. She'll learn where the end of it is.
However, it sounds like you may be using as a long leash, and that's not it's sole purpose.
I don't have a handle, or loop on a check cord. I use it in the forest to instill and reinforce the come. If they don't come, and run off ,the cord will slow them down and get tangled in the underbrush and trees, or I can step on it and bring them up short until I get control again.
The checkcord is an extension of the leash. Psychologically you are trying to convince Holley that you can and will enforce a command at any distance.
Once birds are introduced the checkcord had other functions, but for basic obedience you want Holley to use it against herself.
 

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Mercutio said:
Have a go somewhere safe (not on a road) and take it slow - a few steps at a time.

In class we worked up to it by dropping their lead across their back or letting it drag on the ground. And praise her every few steps to keep her focussed on you.

And remember if she does wander away from you, don't go towards her but take off in the other direction like someone just dropped a roast chicken over there. Merc always takes me moving towards him as a signal that we are all going in that direction.

Good luck ;)
Great post! I might add to that, words I have used repeatedly in here. repetition and consistency. It's all about doing it over and over and over and over and over and over!!! Starting small and gradually increasing things.

Our V is 8 months old and my 12 month old GSP who I adopted only 9 weeks ago, both walk off lead. BUT...I put a lot of work into both of them before trusting that they would recall. I also would never walk them at such a young age on the street off lead. I am also very careful with the GSP at the moment around kids. She adores them. But, this also means she gets very excited and may not recall if she gets close enough to the child. I practice making Zsa Zsa & Ozkar come back if they get a certain distance ahead of me. Usually about 15 or 20 metres is all I give them when out bush walking. Or, line of sight. They know already not to turn a bend if they cannot see me. The only time they are allowed to be further away from me than that, is when I tell them they are free. That is usually when they are in a large field where they have no possibility of running on a road while chasing feathers or fur! :) If they act up and disobey a command while off lead, there are consequences. Those consequences are usually to be put back on the lead and made to heel. Neither of them like that when there is all this bush to walk through with fur and feather smells everywhere!!! I usually only have to walk 100 metres on the lead & they have recieved the message loud and clear and the rest of the walk goes swimmingly well. I also find that the consistency is a big one. If I have not walked them off lead for a long time, it takes a little voice control initially to keep them in check, as they are excited naturally. But, if I do it every day, they are the most well behaved puppies you could hope for. I think they have had 1 incident where they would not recall and that was on day 1 or 2 at this new area where there is an oval full of birds which fly very close to the ground. Both of them took off excitedly after the birds. What I did from here was the important thing. I walked in the opposite direction! The minute they lost sight of me, they turned back and in an almost panic came bolting back. V's really are not the type of dog to run away. They are not like a Jack Russell or several other breeds which will literally just take off and not come back. There is a reason they are called the versatile velcro vizsla!!!

Eventually, we will get to the point where I will be able to walk them off lead everywhere. But, it won't be till they are both 2 or 3.
 

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I strongly suggest letting them run off lead. we only have a vizsla pup However we started letting him run off lead in a safe area immediately, and he does so well. He stays with us, and recalls immediatly. As well, our other dog we let run off lead all the time, we use an ecollar with her about 50% of the time though.

I find it very important because if they are to get away from you off leash, then you know you can get them back (if you trained them well for off lead). Also this lets them get their full energy out, and in general be a dog.

you do have to find a safe zone to introduce it. However I find very often people walking there dogs on leash, in the places i go, afraid to let them off for your very reasons, and never end up letting them off. And I believe if you take to long to do this your results will be much worse. Later when they do get away from you. They will finally be free in their eyes. and want to run fast, and far!

Their are lots of ways to go about it. Start soft in my opinion. See what your dog does in a safe area. if he stays with you, or runs away quickly. But do this when he is calm so he is not just trying to burn energy as fast as he can. If after a while you feel that he has no chance of being off leash safely. introduce an ecollar. They are extension of leashes, and if used right, are perfectly humane, and will let your dog do what it naturally wants to do safely, RUNNNNN!!!!!!


good luck!
-D
 
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