Off The Leash: How And When To Let Your Dog Run Free

Off The Leash: How And When To Let Your Dog Run Free

By the time you read this, it will have been two years since I wrote the first version of this book. Since then, I’ve had many requests from readers asking questions about different aspects of the book. So here they are. Please feel free to ask any additional questions or share your own experiences with dogs and off-leash play!

1)

What’s new?

I added a few things to the book. Here are some of them:

The first section was called “How To Train A Puppy” which explained how to teach basic obedience commands such as sit, down, come, etc. I included pictures and videos showing how these exercises work. The second section was called “Off Leash Play” which covered various types of off-leash play. These included: chasing other dogs, playing fetch, retrieving objects (such as bones), tug of war, and more. I included pictures and videos showing how these activities work.

Finally there were sections on “What Should My First Exercise Be?” and “When Should I Start Training My Dog?”

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2)

Why did you add/change something?

There are several reasons why I made changes to the book. Some were as simple as grammatical corrections. Others were based on reader feedback. And others were to do with the way I personally train my own dogs nowadays (based on new strategies I’ve developed since I wrote this book!)

3)

What’s your favorite part of the book?

That’s like asking a parent which child they like best! But if I had to choose, I’d say it’s the “Tug-Of-War” section. It’s a great way of building your dog’s confidence and getting them used to the feeling of a moving object in their mouth.

4)

What is your least favorite part of the book?

The sections on “agitation training” (chasing other dogs) and “flyball training” (playing flyball). These were once separate sections, but I think they are both so dangerous that they shouldn’t be used at all. In fact, I have removed sections on them from the latest editions of this book! There is less risk of injury if you train your dog to play one of the other games listed in this book.

5)

Should I choose a small dog or a large dog when it comes to picking a breed?

The golden rule is: DON’T PICK A PUPPY THAT IS SMALLER THAN YOUR FOOT!

(Seriously, though, don’t do it. They have different needs when they are that small and need to be kept short so they don’t hurt themselves jumping etc.) Larger breeds are easier to train, so if you are looking for an easy-going dog then choose a larger breed. But if you want something really tough and resilient (and you don’t mind spending more money on its food!) then choose a smaller breed like a bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier.

6)

What breed is the best for a first-time owner?

CHOW CHOWS!

Off The Leash: How And When To Let Your Dog Run Free | thelabradordogs.com

They are lovely dogs, but you have to give them a LOT of attention. I have two chow chow puppies right now, and they are incredible fun. They only calm down when they are either: sleeping, eating or playing. And when they play, it’s like they are puppies again–rolling around and being clumsy.

7)

How can I get my dog to stop barking all the time?

The only way is to be more firm with him. When he starts barking, tell him “NO!” in a loud voice. If he doesn’t listen then pick him up and put him in his cage for five minutes. Usually, this works. If it doesn’t then you might need to consult a professional dog trainer.

8)

Why does my dog only listen to me sometimes?

Dogs only really listen if you have something for them or if you are angry with them. So if your dog doesn’t listen, it’s probably because you haven’t given him anything for doing it, or he has gotten away with not listening before. Try using a small piece of hot dog (or other preferred food) as a reward when he does what you want him to do. Also, make sure you are setting him up to succeed. If he only listens when you have the treat in your hand, then he’ll learn that he can ignore you until you have it.

9) My dog keeps jumping all over me and licking my face whenever I get home.

How do I stop him?

Try to ignore him for the first few minutes that you are home. After the frenzy dies down a bit, feed him and then play with him for about five minutes and then put him in his cage.

10)

How do you stop your dog from barking all night?

Try crating him at night. This means putting him in a wire cage and covering it with a blanket or cloth until morning. Don’t give him anything to eat after 7:00 pm (but do give him water, of course). You could also get a shock collar. These can be very effective, but only if you use them correctly. You don’t want to encourage your dog to bark in pain, so make sure you follow the directions.

DOG SPORTS

1)

What sports can my dog participate in?

There are many! Agility, tracking, flyball, disc catching, and, of course, just regular ol’ fetch and such. It really just depends on your dog’s personality, but you can find something for any dog.

2) I have seen dogs catch discs in the circus.

Is this a real sport?

Yes! It’s called Flyball. There is also Disc Dog or Frisbee, and it’s fairly new. It started in the 60s, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. There are also several different variations. It’s one of the most fun activities you can do with your dog!

3)

Should I train my dog myself or take him to a professional?

The choice is up to you. Most people start off training their dogs themselves, then move on to a professional if they want to continue participating in that particular activity. The choice is yours.

4)

Should I get my dog a professional trainer or a book on training?

It depends on what you want to train your dog to do. If you’re looking for a book, there are many available at your local bookstore. If you want someone to train your dog for you, there are several places that offer this service. A lot of pet stores have trainers that work for them, or you could always hire a professional.

5)

How do I know if my dog is ready to be trained?

This depends on what you are going to be training your dog to do. Some types of training (such as tricks) can be started at a very young age, but others, like field work or hunting, are best started when the dog is a little older.

Off The Leash: How And When To Let Your Dog Run Free | thelabradordogs.com

6)

How old should my dog be before I take him out in the field?

This also depends on the type of hunting you will be doing. For birds, your dog should be at least one year old, and for hounds, the age is usually two or three. Waterfowl hunting is different from other types of hunting because you are usually looking for feathers that have been shed rather than actively pursuing a living creature.

7)

Should I use canned or dry dog food?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Canned food is usually more nutritious, but many dogs don’t like the taste of it, and it can be expensive. Dry food is usually less expensive and most dogs prefer the taste, but it’s not as good for them. You should probably feed your dog a combination of both.

8) I plan on hunting with my dog.

What breed is best for this?

There is no one “best breed.” It really just depends on what you like. All of the hound breeds (beagle, coonhound, foxhound, etc.) are good for tracking and treeing. Retrievers are good for waterfowl and upland game.

9)

Should I get a male or female?

Both males and females have their advantages and disadvantages. Females are usually more people friendly and less aggressive. Males tend to have a better sense of smell and hunt more aggressively. It’s best to decide based on what you think will suit you and your family best.

10)

What type of health problems do dogs have?

Just about every breed has some sort of health problem, but with proper care, you can often avoid or delay most of these problems. The biggest problems are obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Some dogs are prone to certain diseases and conditions, so it’s always a good idea to check with the breeder or veterinarian before you buy a pup.

Next page: Chapter Two: The First Days

1)

What supplies do I need for my new dog?

The essentials are food and water bowls, a collar and leash, and a bed to call his own. It’s also good to have a sturdy box or basket to keep them in so you can keep the house tidy.

2)

What type of collar should I use?

Most dogs wear either a buckle collar or a harness. The buckle collar looks like what a person might wear, only smaller, and it goes around the dog’s neck with a tongue that buckles in the back. The harness goes around the dog’s chest and fastens behind the back legs. Both types are fine, and which one is better depends on the dog and what you prefer. A special type of collar called an Easy-Walk harness can be purchased through your local pet store. This harness has a ring that connects to a leash that stops the dog from being able to pull. It’s good for dogs that like to pull when they’re on the leash.

3)

What type of leash should I use?

It’s best to use a leash that’s designed for dogs, that way, if the dog pulls too hard, it won’t hurt them. The retractable leashes can cause a lot of problems when the dog pulls because they can get their nose or paw caught in the mechanism and get injured. If you decide to use one of these types of leashes, make sure to keep the leash short all the time so this doesn’t happen.

4)

What kind of dog beds are available?

Most pet stores sell a wide range of dog beds for both indoors and outdoors. The best type is one that’s waterproof on the outside and filled with material that can be washed on the inside.

5)

What should I feed my dog?

You should always feed your dog quality food available at most pet stores or pet supply websites. Be sure to ask your vet what he recommends.

Next page: Chapter Three: Training and Play

1)

How can I train my dog?

Dogs, just like people, can be trained to do many different things. Each breed is a little different, so you need to find out exactly what your dog is capable of and what he tends to like best. It’s important to be firm, patient, and consistent. Don’t give up just because you run into a barrier. Remember, whatever you train your dog to do, he’ll do it for the rest of his life. So be sure to think it through before you start.

2)

How can I teach my dog not to chew everything?

A great way to prevent your dog from chewing on inappropriate things is to make sure he always has appropriate items to chew on. Nylabones, Kongs, and other items can keep them entertained and their mouths full. It’s important to make sure these are large enough that they cannot be swallowed though.

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3)

How can I stop my dog from barking constantly?

Your dog is barking because he or she senses that something is wrong or something exciting is happening. If you can eliminate the reason for the barking, your dog will quickly learn that it is pointless to bark. There are a number of ways to do this.

Get your dog a bark-collar. These collars deliver a small, but annoying zap whenever your dog starts barking. It should quickly teach your dog that barking equals an annoying zap. These types of collars can be found in most pet stores and online. Make sure you follow the instructions when using them.

If you don’t want to use a collar, you can try to find out what is stimulating your dog to bark and then eliminate the cause. For example, if your dog is barking because of the garbage man, move the garbage can into the house. If your dog is barking at the kids down the street, close the windows and turn up the radio. Dogs rarely bark when they can’t hear anything.

4)

How can I prevent my dog from eating everything?

Many dogs love to eat just about anything, this can cause all sorts of health problems, not to mention a big expense for you. The best way to prevent this is by keeping your dog hungry. Most dogs will only eat as much as they need and any additional food that is provided will be discarded. So don’t over-feed your dog. You should also make sure that you do not leave food around that could be eaten, such as crumbs in the kitchen.

Sources & references used in this article: