Last week I wrote about how to know when a dog can be trusted off leash. Based on the comments, it seems like most of you allow your dogs off leash in some situations.
One question that came up was this:
Can every dog learn a reliable recall? Or do some dogs always need to be leashed?
I don’t know the answer to that.
Of course, there are many dogs that should currently never be off leash, but does that mean there’s no hope for them?
With the right training, can any dog eventually earn some off-leash privileges?
I shared the example of my former foster dog Cosmo the American Eskimo. As much as he loved food I could never get him to come when called once he was outside. He was always on a leash, and when we practiced the recall on a 50-foot rope, the only way to get him to come when called was to “reel” him in.
Meanwhile, he was nearly perfect indoors. We took two sessions of obedience classes, and he earned his Canine Good Citizen test on the first try. But coming when called while off leash and outside? Ha! Not gonna happen!
Some of you wrote about your dogs who have gotten loose and how stressful it was to get them back. Others said their dogs have too much prey drive to be trusted off leash.
I also tend to think the prey drive is just too strong in some dogs to be able to trust them. On the other hand, some people have had great success through extensive training using a shock collar and/or highly valued food.
If you give your dog a meatball every time he comes when called, that just might do it (for some dogs).
Kerasote used a shock collar to stop his Lab from chasing deer.
So, for you trainers out there as well as everyone else, what do you think?
Can all dogs eventually be trusted off leash?
For me, that will always be the goal. Whether or not I’m able to achieve that with every dog I ever own may be another story.
*This post is part of the blog hop Training Tips Tuesday hosted by Dogthusiast.