Pets

Off Leash Too Soon

Dear Adam:

Thank you for you book and tapes. They have been invaluable in training Maggie my 5 month old Rat Terrier. I got her at 7 weeks and have been working with her ever since. She does very well and masters most things usually within a day. Or at least understands what is expected. She is very good at the down/stay or sit/stay in most cases. If there is a lot of activity in the park or something new going on she doesn’t always listen. I use a 50 ft lead and occasionally let her off.

Most times she will listen to my commands however periodically she decides to run at this freedom. When I catch her I correct her and she knows she has done wrong. My main question I guess is to get her to down/stay from a distance. Very rarely will she do this if I give the command from a distance. My goal is that if she were loose and for some reason I needed her to stay put (i.e. Danger to her) I want her to know and respond to this command. I think for being only 5 months she has done very well, but I know that we must continue to work at all the things that will make her an even bigger joy than she already is. Maybe I am expecting too much at this age? Keep up the terrific work and thank you for your time.

K. Fletcher

Dear K:

A big emphasis in all of my material is the understanding that you cannot EVER let the dog be in a situation where you might give a command and she MIGHT NOT respond, until she has already proven to you that she is 100% responsive.

In other words, if she’s not 100% responsive, then you’re letting her off the long line too soon.

Furthermore, as she’s still an adolescent, I probably wouldn’t take the long line off in a park setting until she is BOTH 100% and at least a year old. At her current age, she’s really just an adolescent.

You may choose to let her off the leash (although I wouldn’t) … but if you do this, please recognize that if you give her a command and she chooses not to reply… THEN YOU’VE HUST TAUGHT HER TO BE LEASH-SMART.

Make sense?

That’s all for now, folks!

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