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Offleash training dilemma

1127 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  woodsy8
Hello, I adopted my first dog about 8 months ago. She's a husky/shepherd mix that spent the first year and a half of her life as a stray in the northwest territories. She's about 2 now, overall she's an amazing dog but I have been having some problems of late. She has a TON of energy, but she is perfectly calm and well behaved in the home, just lays around next to people and loves cuddles.

I moved to the city about 5 months ago and before that I was working in the forest and she would be allowed to run off leash all day wherever she pleased. Now where I live there is a forest (in the city) directly across the street with tons of walking trails. She gets about 40- 60 minutes of walks a day and often gets about 30 mins of playtime wrestling with the neighbours dog during the week and typically a full day of mountain biking or ski touring on the weekends, I feel this is a decent amount of exercise but far less than the 8 hours of running she was receiving daily for the first few months I had her. I was trying to combat this change in activity level by allowing her to run as she pleased during our forest walks. However when we go mountain biking she often sprints off into the forest and despite repeatedly calling her she would be too far gone and I would end up getting a call from someone saying she was at the car in the parking lot (its not a recall problem, her recalls very good, its simply by the time I realize she's gone into the forest she's too far away to hear me) so very recently I have been training her to heel during our forest walks and adding a bit of fetch at the end. However it seems like she needs to run free and that just walking beside me isn't enough exercise. Then as a result of this extra energy she plays too rough with other dogs she meets, especially puppies, and growls the whole time scaring other dog owners (she's not at all aggressive she's just very excited to play and plays quite rough) to add to all this its currently too snowy/icy to take her for bike rides or runs in the city.

So to summarize my overall question is how do I approach this from a training perspective? my end goals are for her to be satisfied with her exercise, play nice and not growl when playing with other dogs and to not get lost when doing off leash activities

Thanks for your time!
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I'm not a trainer, but IMO dogs are more adaptable then we often give them credit for. Whatever you do, you have to have control of her, for her safety and to avoid potential liabilities. My experience has been, though dogs have different energy levels, their main desire is to be with their people and feel safe and loved. Given that, they can adjust to a variety of living conditions.
What I'm hearing from you is that you'd like your dog to enjoy her off-leash time without totally bolting off, then getting lost and confused and being embarrassing. I watched a wonderful video on YouTube that might help. It shows how to teach a dog that you'd like them to "check in" with you WITHOUT being called.

You could probably do this without a clicker, but I think it'd be faster to buy the .99 cent thing and spend 5 minutes doing click-treat-click-treat-click-treat (perhaps as you feed her tonight's dinner?) and then just getting started.
Thanks! I have heard a-lot about clicker training and am starting to think I should give it a try. As far as the growling when playing goes is that just her personality and something I should accept?
Perhaps increase the mental exercise as well to help her to adapt. The
Thinking games and trick training can wear them out faster than just running, so might balance her week a little.

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ALOT of dogs growl when playing.....I think if people give you flack for it its their problem not yours. Most of the dogs I've owned sounded like they were killing each other when playing rough but its just play. When our gsd and lab play the lab will have teeth bared and a dang mohawk of hair standing all the way down her back, thats just how she plays when rough housing.
You'll probably know it if things get out of control and one or both is not playing anymore.
I used to use a whistle for woods off leash. Sound travels further than a voice can. N growling... it has gsd in. Of course its vocal. Thats the breed.
Thanks for the replies! super helpful
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