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    1. #1
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      Strategy to go Off leash

      I need help in building this part of the training.

      1) I need to train myself to go off least first but... my heart pounds every time i let her go. We go to a big dog park and she plays with other dogs. She used to get into trouble by not understanding that some dogs do like her. Now at 8 months, she is made huge steps that she plays with dogs that want to play with her and not chase after that dogs that do not. She plays rough at day care [i send her 1 day to just keep her being handled by others and interact with dogs]. She is listens when i have a treat even when she is in play , i can recall her to leave. She will come and let me leash and walk off.

      2) I let her off leash inside the dog park for now and walk around. she mostly hangs with me and plays around me.

      3) Recall is better after the first 10 minutes of crazy running. Again when no one around she is solid.

      I can send her to a local 5 day boot camp for a few thousand. But is it the only way ?. any resource. she has a e collar. but i need training ideas and how to work with her. she is smart and food motivated.
      i do not want to use a e collar without a clear understanding on how to build it.

      i saw a u tube guy who had a long rope on a lab and was condition come but any expert ideas are welcome.

    2. #2
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      I would not send her away to train on recall. If you have money to spend, find a trainer to work WITH YOU and train you. Especially if you are considering using the e-collar. you need a system and training plan and best to talk to a qualified educated professional who can give you one. Around here there are many classes/programs specifically on recalll as well.

      not sure if you do this but don't recall her only to leave the park. make sure to do MANY catch and release - meaning praise her for coming then reward by sending her back to play. this way recall doesn't equal end of fun. Reward doesn't have to be treats - use real life rewards (ex: allowed to go outside, gets the toy, gets to go play...) as well as treats. Ensure treats are not visible even if you do use them. Once the dog knows the command you want to move to sporadic/random rewards of various values (sometimes jackpot, something something normal, sometimes nothing). BUT if you increase anything (durations, distance, distraction) you go back to more regular rewards until that is 95%).

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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by silverfz View Post
      I need help in building this part of the training.

      1) I need to train myself to go off least first but... my heart pounds every time i let her go. We go to a big dog park and she plays with other dogs. She used to get into trouble by not understanding that some dogs do like her. Now at 8 months, she is made huge steps that she plays with dogs that want to play with her and not chase after that dogs that do not. She plays rough at day care [i send her 1 day to just keep her being handled by others and interact with dogs]. She is listens when i have a treat even when she is in play , i can recall her to leave. She will come and let me leash and walk off.

      2) I let her off leash inside the dog park for now and walk around. she mostly hangs with me and plays around me.

      3) Recall is better after the first 10 minutes of crazy running. Again when no one around she is solid.

      I can send her to a local 5 day boot camp for a few thousand. But is it the only way ?. any resource. she has a e collar. but i need training ideas and how to work with her. she is smart and food motivated.
      i do not want to use a e collar without a clear understanding on how to build it.

      i saw a u tube guy who had a long rope on a lab and was condition come but any expert ideas are welcome.
      It sounds like she is doing well, especially for an 8 month old puppy. What is the problem? What are your fears? Where do you want to be able to let her off leash where you feel you cannot let her off now? Based on your post, I don't know why on earth you'd consider spending a few thousand on a boot camp (that may or may not work) or use an e-collar?

      I do recall work starting from day one, with treats. Start in the house, move outside of the house, etc., slowly building up. The dog is always safe, always with a long line, always a party and treats. I have dozens of recall, feed, party, release to every one recall, leash and leave the fun stuff. I also train them to stay close this way, by calling them back every so often before they get beyond a certain distance (that distance is up to you). As puppies I also work on the collar grab, so recall, grab collar, feed, praise, release. I cannot tell you how many times getting my dogs in close and being able to grab their collars without spooking them or having them duck away has come in handy.

      I'm very aware of my environment, always looking for dogs, kids, bicyclists, horses, runners, wildlife of any kind. Whenever possible, I want to see them before my dogs do and then call them in before they have a chance to make a wrong choice. While I have successfully called my dogs off of all of these things, including deer, I know that the chances of getting them back before they run off or get hurt are not 100%. So, I set them up for success as best I can and I never trust them completely. For example, I took the dogs to the mountain yesterday. They were on leash coming out of the car, even though they didn't have to be. But, I did not know the environment, and I did know they'd be excited (and not thinking 100% straight) so I wanted to make sure it was safe before allowing them, all excited, off leash. The first thing Linus did was try to jump on a snowbank which was actually a snow covered guard rail with a small cliff ending on the road below. The guard rail was about five feet away (same length as the leash) and even with an e-collar, I would not have been able to get to the remote fast enough to stop him, it happened so fast. So, manage your environment the best you can and do your best to know what you are dealing with before letting the dog off leash.

      My dogs are 3 and 6 and are well trained, yet I still carry cookies in my pockets when we are out and about and I still feed them when they come back. Is that not an option for you? I know some people are against it, but I don't understand why it's such a big deal to have a baggie with treats on you to help ensure your dog's safety. I keep a plastic container in the car full of Charlie Bears or Cheerios for this purpose. When they were younger, I used higher value treats like freeze-dried liver or even small meatballs. The recall is the single most important command, IMHO, that you can teach your dog.

      It's also normal for the dog to be a little crazy for a few minutes at first. I typically don't let the dogs off until I am at a place where they can get their yayas out for a few minutes and if I don't think they'll listen, I don't ask because I don't want them to develop bad habits. Especially when learning, if you feel certain the dog won't come back, don't ask him to, just walk up and get him. If we go to a place where there are other dogs (we have these huge off-leash fields where people walk for hours and dogs are off-leash, sort of like a giant dog park), my expectations are somewhat low, so I focus on keeping them close and when they find dogs to play with, I walk over and supervise. I don't call them off when they are in the middle of playing because I know they are focusing on that at the moment. It's like calling someone out of a football game when they are running to score a touch down and expecting them to just stop what they are doing and come to you. You either need to wait until they are done or go and grab them yourself.

      I have high expectations, but like humans and children, they have their limits. The expectations we place on our dogs -- being 100% compliant at all times or else you go to bootcamp or get an e-collar -- are ridiculous. I've done it too and probably still do even though I try not to. An 8 month old is still a puppy and one going through adolescence at that. You do the best you can, commit, be consistent, train, be fair, build a relationship, manage your environment AND your expectations and then give your dog only the freedom that they can handle. Then, after doing all of this, if you have problems that compromise the dog's safety, start looking for a plan B.

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      It sounds like she is doing well, especially for an 8 month old puppy. What is the problem? What are your fears? Where do you want to be able to let her off leash where you feel you cannot let her off now? Based on your post, I don't know why on earth you'd consider spending a few thousand on a boot camp (that may or may not work) or use an e-collar?

      I do recall work starting from day one, with treats. Start in the house, move outside of the house, etc., slowly building up. The dog is always safe, always with a long line, always a party and treats. I have dozens of recall, feed, party, release to every one recall, leash and leave the fun stuff. I also train them to stay close this way, by calling them back every so often before they get beyond a certain distance (that distance is up to you). As puppies I also work on the collar grab, so recall, grab collar, feed, praise, release. I cannot tell you how many times getting my dogs in close and being able to grab their collars without spooking them or having them duck away has come in handy.

      I'm very aware of my environment, always looking for dogs, kids, bicyclists, horses, runners, wildlife of any kind. Whenever possible, I want to see them before my dogs do and then call them in before they have a chance to make a wrong choice. While I have successfully called my dogs off of all of these things, including deer, I know that the chances of getting them back before they run off or get hurt are not 100%. So, I set them up for success as best I can and I never trust them completely. For example, I took the dogs to the mountain yesterday. They were on leash coming out of the car, even though they didn't have to be. But, I did not know the environment, and I did know they'd be excited (and not thinking 100% straight) so I wanted to make sure it was safe before allowing them, all excited, off leash. The first thing Linus did was try to jump on a snowbank which was actually a snow covered guard rail with a small cliff ending on the road below. The guard rail was about five feet away (same length as the leash) and even with an e-collar, I would not have been able to get to the remote fast enough to stop him, it happened so fast. So, manage your environment the best you can and do your best to know what you are dealing with before letting the dog off leash.

      My dogs are 3 and 6 and are well trained, yet I still carry cookies in my pockets when we are out and about and I still feed them when they come back. Is that not an option for you? I know some people are against it, but I don't understand why it's such a big deal to have a baggie with treats on you to help ensure your dog's safety. I keep a plastic container in the car full of Charlie Bears or Cheerios for this purpose. When they were younger, I used higher value treats like freeze-dried liver or even small meatballs. The recall is the single most important command, IMHO, that you can teach your dog.

      It's also normal for the dog to be a little crazy for a few minutes at first. I typically don't let the dogs off until I am at a place where they can get their yayas out for a few minutes and if I don't think they'll listen, I don't ask because I don't want them to develop bad habits. Especially when learning, if you feel certain the dog won't come back, don't ask him to, just walk up and get him. If we go to a place where there are other dogs (we have these huge off-leash fields where people walk for hours and dogs are off-leash, sort of like a giant dog park), my expectations are somewhat low, so I focus on keeping them close and when they find dogs to play with, I walk over and supervise. I don't call them off when they are in the middle of playing because I know they are focusing on that at the moment. It's like calling someone out of a football game when they are running to score a touch down and expecting them to just stop what they are doing and come to you. You either need to wait until they are done or go and grab them yourself.

      I have high expectations, but like humans and children, they have their limits. The expectations we place on our dogs -- being 100% compliant at all times or else you go to bootcamp or get an e-collar -- are ridiculous. I've done it too and probably still do even though I try not to. An 8 month old is still a puppy and one going through adolescence at that. You do the best you can, commit, be consistent, train, be fair, build a relationship, manage your environment AND your expectations and then give your dog only the freedom that they can handle. Then, after doing all of this, if you have problems that compromise the dog's safety, start looking for a plan B.
      LOL, after all of that you throw in "if you have problems start looking for plan B". The truth is you better start looking for plan B now!
      They'll only come for a treat when there is nothing more inviting, which for a lab will be many things.
      "if you feel certain the dog won't come back, don't ask him to, just walk up and get him", and remember to wear your walking shoes cause that may be a 1/2 mile in any direction.

    7. #5
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      So Bernie do you have any helpful suggestions instead of poo-pooing other posts? Or is your only goal to mock other people's posts these days. Not calling if one is pretty sure the dog is not gonna listen is pretty standard advice - because your dog is going to practice ignoring the command. One can use other things to get the dog's attention, using other words or run away or many other options VS using the recall word, but best to go to the dog if you can.

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    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
      LOL, after all of that you throw in "if you have problems start looking for plan B". The truth is you better start looking for plan B now!
      They'll only come for a treat when there is nothing more inviting, which for a lab will be many things.
      "if you feel certain the dog won't come back, don't ask him to, just walk up and get him", and remember to wear your walking shoes cause that may be a 1/2 mile in any direction.
      This method works for me and everyone I know who uses the same strategy (correctly) and is the same advice you'd receive in several books (probably explained much better than I did, however). However, there are a few dogs that have high prey-drive (as in, would go through an e-collar to chase squirrels) and must be leashed under certain circumstances or just careful with where they are off-leash. Not necessarily Labs though. Maybe you should read those books instead of jumping all over the tried and true advice being given by professionals all over? You might learn something! I can recommend a few if you'd like.

      You train the dog to come back with the food using a high rate of reinforcement and the dogs builds a conditioned emotional response (much like when your dog hears a package of food, his collar/leash coming out, sees you put on your dog walking jacket, hears kibble hitting a metal bowl, etc.) as well as an ingrained habit. I've called my dogs off of deer, horse poop, other dogs, kids, bikes, you name it, with Cheerios and Charlie Bears or sometimes nothing at all, if I happen to not have anything (rare though). Only after training and reinforcement. It's not about the Cheeriors or the Charlie Bears, which I think is part of what you're not getting.

      If your dog is running off 1/2 mile, you'd best not be letting him off leash. It means he's not trained to be off leash yet. Take a step back, continue training. Not testing. Each failed test is an opportunity to learn a new (bad) habit and self-reward. That's where the manage your environment advice comes in as well as only asking of your dog what he can handle.

      Perhaps re-read the post. There is nothing there that says to set your dog up for failure. If the dog can't do something, don't ask him to or put yourself in a position where you are able to control the outcome. If your dog finds something more rewarding than your relationship and what you have to offer, then you need to take a step back in your training. Or you need to stop letting the dog self-reward. If you are allowing the dog to find more value in what's out there than in you, that's a problem. If it's not coming together, seek out a professional and/or move on to Plan B.

      Criticizing without making suggestions is useless. What works for you and your dog(s)?
      Last edited by Labradorks; 11-21-2016 at 04:14 PM.

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    11. #7
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      I am NOT sending her to this e collar boot camp training, its too expensive I rather not control her with a e collar. Even then when I hike and go in the woods I would like her to stay with me and just enjoy the surrounding. I do not want her to take off after a squirrel . She has gone off leash hiking as a puppy but my trainer said its because she is a pup she stays with me and I should never go off leash .

      but I see In the local area a lot of off leash walking/hiking . when I inquire they recommend I put her in a bootcamp for a insane amount of money to do it. I question was is it the only way. I have a feeling she will be like that as she gets older but is there a way to test and reinforce this behavior. what happens I let her go and she chases after a squirrel. Do I need a e collar to get her attention.

      thanks
      satz

    12. #8
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      Where will you go off leash besides the dog park? Where we go it's rural, mostly bush and most people walk the trails. Everybody's dog wants to walk and pretty well stays with it's owner. All the dogs just want to GO, GO, GO for a walk and recall is hardly ever needed. Because these places are treed it's easy to work on recall by stepping out of sight behind a tree when pup gets too far ahead (rarely too far behind) and either wait till pup notices or call. Calling is probably best at first. Treat don't cut it for my dog when we are outside, not much, but a throw of his ball is a big reward so I carry two balls and treats. And I reward for voluntary returns to me and when I call. Another trick I like is from Leslie McDevitt's book, "Control Unleashed." She doesn't like her dog madly racing away when first let off the leash so she used a calm release word and threw some treats up in the air. My release word is FREE but for this exercise I could not say it without sounding too happy so I said FREEZER. It might be good to get the book in case I didn't relate it quite right. Lots of good stuff in that book.

      ETA: I did train a whistle recall using balls which I wrote up here:
      Snowshoe's Album: North/South Fetch
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      Oh boy. A stick in the SNOW! Hidden Content

    13. #9
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      We live on a main road and my worst fear is an accident. when she gets out I want to control her for her safety.

    14. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by silverfz View Post
      I am NOT sending her to this e collar boot camp training, its too expensive I rather not control her with a e collar. Even then when I hike and go in the woods I would like her to stay with me and just enjoy the surrounding. I do not want her to take off after a squirrel . She has gone off leash hiking as a puppy but my trainer said its because she is a pup she stays with me and I should never go off leash .

      but I see In the local area a lot of off leash walking/hiking . when I inquire they recommend I put her in a bootcamp for a insane amount of money to do it. I question was is it the only way. I have a feeling she will be like that as she gets older but is there a way to test and reinforce this behavior. what happens I let her go and she chases after a squirrel. Do I need a e collar to get her attention.

      thanks
      satz
      Have you read any books? Talked to any good trainers? There is an obedience club in your area that offers training in Cambridge. Charles River Dog Training Club. Lots of Labs there, too. You should check it out. Even if you went the e-collar route, you'd still need training. The dog doesn't come back a robot. Snowshoe's book suggestion, Control Unleashed is excellent.

      Your dog is only 8 months. Why would you be testing her now? That may be too much to ask of her at this age, especially during adolescence. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Train the dog and when she is 2, 3, 4 or even 5 you’ll have a great adult dog. She should live to be in her teens. What is the big hurry? And, if you don't feel confident in her off leash abilities, keep her on lead until you do.

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