First time off the lead

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First time off the lead

Post by PaulD on Sat Nov 12 2016, 19:10

Our Mollie is almost through her first season after four weeks, she's stopped bleeding and her "tinkle"  Blushing  is returning to its normal size! also at the same time (in about two weeks) her inoculations should be effective and we can finally get out on the field and mix with other doggy's applause
As walking on the lead doesn't seem to tire her out I'm looking forward to her retrieving her ball and Frisbee and hopefully getting rid of some of her boundless energy. However I'm a little concerned about letting her loose especially if she sees another dog. The field we use is fairly remote so traffic isn't really a problem but I don't want her tearing up to a strange dog with all the ramifications that involves? Obviously I'm not just going to let her off the lead and hope for the best and my plan is to use treats to get her to come from my other half and me starting with short distances and gradually building up to longer ones but I'm still wary of how she will react if she sees another dog. Now she's never shown any signs of aggression so far and when we have met other dogs on our walks she sniffs them face to face but she does get very excited and starts crying and barking when we have to say goodbye. So has anyone got some tips for me please?
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by LizP on Sat Nov 12 2016, 20:27

To be honest, I always put mine on the lead when I see other dogs anyway. It's maybe overly cautious but at least that way I always have some degree of control if needed. Once it's clear they are all fine they can go off lead.

If Mollie's not used to being off lead at all, it might be an idea to start giving her more freedom with a long line. It's also a great tool for practising recall. I use a 5m line but you can get longer than that if you need. And your plan of starting with close recalls and building up, always using treats, is good. Lots of yummy treats, lots of praise, and play as well, are the key.

When she is off lead, the other important thing is to call her only when you are pretty sure she'll come. Calling a dog who isn't playing the blindest or who is hot tailing it after a rabbit won't work and can in fact teach them that they can ignore you. Wait for a glance in your direction, then call.

Good luck!


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Re: First time off the lead

Post by lexii on Tue Nov 15 2016, 00:00

I agree with liz, if you ever spot another walker or dog, pop her on the lead. If they have a dog off the lead, ask them to also, but you can ask if they mind you letting your dog meet theirs and if they get along, let them both off providing the other dog is one that comes back!

Gorgeous pup by the way.
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by -Ian- on Tue Nov 15 2016, 20:10

I can't really offer anything more than those above. Let us know how you get on


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Re: First time off the lead

Post by PaulD on Sun Nov 27 2016, 17:00

Sorry for the deay in posting an update but I still can't log on while using my mobile and this old laptop is sooooooo slow at wits end at wits end
Anyway this weekend ive finally plucked up the courage to let her off the lead after a week or so on the long line. As she came back when recalled on the lead I thought I would give it a go. The place I walk her is well away from roads and is quite isolated so apart from other dog owners we have the place to our selves. Mollie enjoys playing fetch with her ball but I will have to find something more durable than tennis balls as she destroys them before she drops it Laughing

Playing with other dogs is great fun and she walks away if the other dog growls at her. One thing I'm still struggling with is trying to calm her down when she meets people, she goes absolutely nuts jumping up and mouthing hands etc! its really quite alarming hearing her snapping her jaws together with excitement. She also does it in the house and it takes visitors quite a while before they dare to sit down. Any advice will be appreciated.
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by -Ian- on Sun Nov 27 2016, 17:20

Ask people to completely ignore her until all 4 paws are firmly planted on the floor, no interaction at all not even a glance. When all 4 paws are down reward ith praise and treats. It'll be hard to start with but given a short while it should improve.

Odd about the phone log in thing though i dont know


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Re: First time off the lead

Post by Mia05 on Sun Nov 27 2016, 20:38

id get your visitors to ignore mollie as well until she sits and stays calm. use high value treats such as dried fish or natures menu good luck .

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Re: First time off the lead

Post by LizP on Mon Nov 28 2016, 13:33

For that level of excitement I would advise more than just ignoring. It's incredibly hard for a person to just ignore a dog that is wound up to the point of snapping jaws.

I would suggest that any time she meets a person and jumps up at all, they should walk away from her, then return and praise her when she's got her feet on the floor. If she jumps again, then walk off again. Each and every time gets her the cold shoulder, i.e. the opposite of what she's looking for, but the moment she's quiet she gets her reward in what she was after all along.

It's easier in the house when someone can actually leave the room if necessary, and when she's on the lead. In fact, you can combine the two and have her on a long line in the house when people first come in to stop her just following after them as they walk away. Once she's settled you can unclip her but use the line to support her learning for those first few minutes.

Until she's got this at least to a reasonable degree, I would keep her on the line when approaching people out and about. Without wanting to sound over cautious, some people might misinterpret a bull breed dog jumping up at them with snapping teeth and report you. You may be 100% certain she's just being too friendly but they might not get that.

It is tricky having an overly friendly dog, especially when most people will say 'oh I don't mind' and cuddle them, which of course reinforces the behaviour. You need to insist that Mollie is in training, or try and prevent her from getting close enough to jump up in the first place. Good luck with that bit, I'm still struggling to get people not to cuddle Millie. They know best... Rolling Eyes





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Re: First time off the lead

Post by PaulD on Fri Dec 09 2016, 09:30

Thanks for the advice re the jumping up thing. It's quite hard to ignore her when she's doing it and if you turn your back on her she just follows you around and carries on! Outdoors it's not too bad as she is always on the lead unless we are playing on the field so I am doing as you say and restraining her but unfortunately this means she misses out on a fuss as usually people get fed up before she calms down. I will try the lead while we are at home and get visitors and see how she gets on. Other than this she is a really well rounded dog and is very intelligent. She now knows what time I'm due in from work and my other half says she starts pacing up and down and waiting by the back door ten minutes before I get in Laughing Laughing
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by LizP on Fri Dec 09 2016, 19:08

I wouldn't worry about her missing out on a fuss. Bear in mind that for her the fuss is a reward for her OTT behaviour, so as long as she still gets it for that then her behaviour will continue. But do give the lead a go. At the moment, she doesn't know what it is that she needs to do but equally without being with visitors she can't learn either. With that, you've got the 'seatbelt' while she learns.


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Re: First time off the lead

Post by PaulD on Sun Dec 18 2016, 09:03

Well for the time being at least Mollie will have to go back on the long lead as she has decided some of the time to take her ball to someone else for them to throw? The jumping up thing seems to be getting better when she's off the lead but is still just as bad while on it. She really has got a mind of her own lol
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by -Ian- on Sun Dec 18 2016, 19:39

At least you're making progress Paul even if Mollie seems to think that everyone is there just to throw her ball for her Laughing


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Re: First time off the lead

Post by PaulD on Mon Dec 19 2016, 05:15

Yes we are getting there Ian, she has definitely earned a place in our hearts now. Considering the life she had before she adopted us with so much time in the cage I think she's a remarkably well rounded dog. Onwards and upwards.
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Re: First time off the lead

Post by LizP on Mon Dec 19 2016, 08:08

They do like to choose, sometimes! There's a lady near here who swims in the sea every day while her GSD waits for her. He loves to swim and will happily swim with anyone, except his mum.

Re the jumping up on leads, try to make sure there is minimal tension on the lead as that in itself will cause a dog to pull forwards. Work with her to bring her away, to sit, to do something other than pull towards the person, and use the lead only as a safety net. If she does pull, get the tension off as soon as you can.

It does sound like you're doing an amazing job with Mollie. Some of these habits and reactions can take a while to chip away at but, given the progress you've made already, I'm sure you'll get there.


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