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Surprisingly, Ruby destroyed something of ours for the first time at 8 months. I was in the shower yesterday and just started to let Ruby out of her crate when not watching her. She grabbed my husbands glasses off the night stand and must have chewed on them while I was showering. We found them on the floor when the lens pulled out and across the room with bite marks. Yes, it is my fault for trusting my "little angel". Just made me remember how young she still really is and can't be trusted...yet.

This morning, I went to put her in the car to go to doggie day care. I haven't been using the leash (again..trusting her too soon) and she normally goes in the car from the garage. A squirrel was in the driveway so she took off running after it. I kept calling her and running after her and she took off. The squirrel ended up going into the swampy area and Ruby did not follow..Thank god.

I am not as concerned about the glasses but very nervous about Ruby not listening when she took off after the squirrel. She has never done that before. I know that is the hunter in her but am I expecting too much from her at this age with listening in this situation?
 

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Hi Rubyroo!
My male puppy is at the same age and we are going through similar situations. I have started allowing Miles out of his crate while I run an errand or two, but I think I'm giving him too much freedom, so I'm probably going to stop doing this until he's older. I like the phrase that others have said (mswhipple?): "they chew til they're two."

As far as the squirrel thing, this is the age where working on recall is a must. Their predatory instincts are really kicking in and the distraction of little critters is going to be more than they can handle without training under those very distracting circumstances. Having strong recall without animals around doesn't translate to great recall when there's a possible hunt. Yes, having pups this age off a leash without working on recall with animals around means they will tear off when they see something they want. I've gotten angry at mine for doing that but I constantly have to check myself and ask, "how can I expect my puppy to choose me over those distractions if I don't give him the tools or instruction to do so?"

Here is an exercise to try with her (recommended by our trainer): get a stuffed toy that looks like a squirrel or furry critter and put it on a string. Have someone toss it over the fence and have Ruby on a leash far away. When she sees it, say, "Wait" and the second she stops ask her to come excitedly and treat her when she does. If she's like mine, he wouldn't come right away which meant that we needed to get further away to lessen the level of enticement and also when he didn't come we'd say, "no, come!" and give a gentle tug on the leash. We'd keep doing this until he came back and we'd work on it a few times until his recall was good. Then we'd move in closer. If she doesn't wait when you say "wait," say, "no, wait! no, wait!" in a low and calm voice until she waits. You have about a second after the wait to redirect her to you to come. Even after doing this, I recommend keeping her on a leash or check cord when you go outside b/c at her age, she will always be looking for something to chase down. Keep working on recall and only when she proves to have the self control needed should you trust her off-leash in a place that isn't completely safe.
 

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Please click on the link below and take a couple of minutes to read this story, "Trust -- A Deadly Disease"

http://www.siberescue.com/Common/Leash/leashTRUST.html

I actually knew a guy (a former neighbor) who lost his beloved "Barkley", a black Chow, this way. Barkley used to go with his owner everywhere off-leash. He seemed very trustworthy. He was about 8-years-old when it happened. :'(
 

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We had/have the same issue with Pumpkin. It started at about 8-9m also. She has responded very well to training, but we had our 1st incident of P not recalling. Now that she is 12m, it is happening more frequently. Running to the end of the driveway if people are walking or trying to jump on someone in a new situation. This has just evolved over the past couple of months, and it has made me rethink & change the way we operate. I have quickly learned as Pumpkin gets older & bolder, that we still have a lot of work to do. It's a safety issue for us.
 

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Thank you all for the responses. These dogs are so smart and you get caught up in all of the great things they do.

We are going to start working on the recalling in the back yard for now. The other thing is Ruby seems to respond more to my husband than me. I bet if the squirrel thing happened with him this morning she would have come back. He has a very loud deep voice. I can't rely on that and need her to focus on listening to me.
 
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