Controlling puppy off the lead

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Controlling puppy off the lead

This is a discussion on Controlling puppy off the lead within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Hello, I have a 14 week old border terrier puppy. I'm currently living on a farm, where there's lots of fun things for puppy to ...

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Old 05-11-2014, 04:41 AM
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Controlling puppy off the lead

Hello, I have a 14 week old border terrier puppy.

I'm currently living on a farm, where there's lots of fun things for puppy to look at! What should I do when she's running around enjoying everything? I know it's important for her to look around, and explore. But when I want to move around the yard, or take her back in, if she's doing something more interested she will ignore me (which I expect). Obviously I don't want to stand there calling her, teaching her she can ignore me until she's ready.... What I have been doing if calling her 3-5 times, if she ignores me I'll go and pick her up and carry her to where I'm going.

Is this the right way to train her? Do I need to train her for this? Would really appreciate some advice with this, as I don't feel she is doing anything wrong, but she's also not doing what I'd like her to... Maybe I'm expecting too much from her!
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:20 AM
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Letting your puppy off the leash is definitely a very good thing and it is normal for puppies to be inquisitive, particularly at a young age. However, training your puppy to respond to your call is essential if you are going to let her off the leash. I would buy some dog treats. Let her run around for a while and then squat down, hold out the treat and get her attention by calling her name, once your puppy has noticed the treat, say 'come' once and very clearly. If you repeat this command a number of times your puppy will start to understand.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for your reply Wren. Probably should have mentioned she's already very good at being called with a treat - when shes not preoccupied. Normal for a puppy I know, but is there something I should be teaching her, it feels wrong to let her do what she wants all the time, even if shes just exploring. If shes doing no harm I usually let her explore, but when its time to move around I need her to be around where Im going to keep an eye on her.

She also seems to have learnt that if I'm walking towards the house, it means she might be going in her crate, and if shes not tired she seems to not want to come to me. I've been giving her extra attention when she comes back before I pick her up to take her back, and then playing with her before putting her to bed, so she has something exciting to look forward to when heading in. Is this the right way to train her?
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 105ben View Post
Thanks for your reply Wren. Probably should have mentioned she's already very good at being called with a treat - when shes not preoccupied. Normal for a puppy I know, but is there something I should be teaching her, it feels wrong to let her do what she wants all the time, even if shes just exploring. If shes doing no harm I usually let her explore, but when its time to move around I need her to be around where Im going to keep an eye on her.

She also seems to have learnt that if I'm walking towards the house, it means she might be going in her crate, and if shes not tired she seems to not want to come to me. I've been giving her extra attention when she comes back before I pick her up to take her back, and then playing with her before putting her to bed, so she has something exciting to look forward to when heading in. Is this the right way to train her?
Sounds like you are doing very well with her. You are catching on to the fact she has learned "what happens next" and that affects her behavior, and you are adjusting the routine so that she is more naturally motivated to do what you want her to do. This is absolutely the right way to do things.

Understand that at 14 weeks a puppy is going to be a "wild child" and that is the nature of a puppy. You seem to have a lot of patience and understanding for this, and that is essential for surviving puppyhood!

Realize that she is the human equivalent of a 4 or 5 year old child. Self control and "obedience" just are not possible yet, so all you can do is to continue to train her positively (scolding or punishing usually backfires) and continue to stay one step ahead of her in terms of anticipating how she will react to routines and keep modifying your routine. Her needs and such will change as she matures, so you'll need to stay on your toes.

Puppies are wonderful, and at times frustrating but they do grow up into very nice adult dogs in a few more months!
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for that, it's relieving to know I'm doing things right!

She can be VERY frustrating at times. The first week or so I took her out off the lead, she was actually very good, i think thats what worries me as she seems to have gone backwards a bit. But I guess being so young, she was a little cautious, and was happier to come back to me? Now she is bigger, and braver, she wants to explore and be more independent?

I'm happy to be patient with her, as long as I know she is doing well. What worried and irritated me was the feeling she was getting worse.

Thanks for your advice, and anything else any one has to suggest would be more than welcome!
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:05 AM
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I'd have her drag a long, lightweight line. If she doesn't come when called, gently reel her in to you. Then release her to go and explore again. Dogs quickly learn that being called in from fun play and exploration means the end of that activity for them. Releasing her lets her know that coming to you is not the end of the fun.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:15 AM
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My advice is make sure when off lead she doesn't do what my Jessie is doing and has since October which is running from me when approach ger! Never mind escaping when get chance. Whilst still very young make sure you practice catching her and putting three fingers under her collar moving them back and forth a few times each time.

After six months comes teenage rebellion so please get long rope lead. Hard work is this teenage phase! Thought id give you heads up and they go through it intact or desexed doesn't matter they still can rebel
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:20 AM
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I have been trying to call her back to me occasionally for a bit of a fuss, then setting her on her way again, to teach what you suggested. I like the idea of attaching the line though, would that be better than going over and picking her up when shes ignoring me?
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:23 AM
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I don't know if this has been suggested yet, but be sure to work on recall inside until she has it down pat and then start working on it with her outside.

Until she's a bit more reliable with recall, I'd do what Grabby suggested and have her drag a long line or something similar. I know I'd be nervous to let my pup run free outside without a leash anywhere. We're still wprking on recall and I'm teaching it with a whistle, which is going well.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:03 PM
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She already is very good with the recall indoors. Its when she's outside and theres lots of things going on she is less interested in coming to me.

Today I had her favourite toy with a squeaker inside it, and when i squeaked that she came straight back everytime, as she knew it was going to be fun to come back to me. I might try using the squeaker when she is ignoring me and call her at the same time gradually using the squeaker less and less, although im concerned she will get bored of it once she realises she isnt going to get the toy everytime. I let her have a play with it for 5-10 seconds, then put it back in my pocket.

Are there any other drawbacks to using this?
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