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Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:57 am
by janet909
I'm curious what thoughts some of you have with regards to training my new rescue Brittany. He is 1 1/2 years old and has had a life of confinement up to now. He is lovabale and our obedience training in the yard is going unbelievably well after being together for only 2 weeks. We also have a 8 1/2 year old Brittany and a 13 year old Blue Heeler. We couldn't be happier with our new dog. We have a huge fenced in yard and a dog door so he's in and out all day. I take him to the dog park which is fenced in and he can run free at high speeds and play with others. We've been taking long walks in the desert with a 30 foot lead and working on commands. My question is: we've taken him off the lead in the desert to test him with regards to following with the pack. (I know we've only been together for 2 weeks but he does seem to follow us around the house from room to room and be "into" us). So, when we've done that, he still exhibits signs of following his nose over the horizon with total disregard to the dominant pack. The question is: what's the balance between letting this dog be a puppy with free reign and learning his place in the pack hierarchy vs. containing him on the leash and controlling him the entire time. Would you expect him to be able to run free and follow the group in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months???? Can someone describe a training progression??? I know that since he's been confined for the first 16 months of his life, he's beyond excited on these walks but it's important for us to be able to get to a point where he can be off leash in the backcountry. (The other two dogs follow us flawlessly). Anyway thoughts?????
Janet

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:40 pm
by janet909
I want to clarify two things. When we're hiking in the desert, my older two dogs aren't walking calmly behind my like Cesar Millan's pack.....well, the blue heeler is when she gets to come with us because she's old and crippled but the 8 1/2 year old Brittany is running all over the place like a maniac. He, however, knows that every 30-60 seconds, he needs to "check in" by either crossing the trail in front of me at mock speed or stopping up the trail until I catch up. I have no worries of ever losing him. He learned this through the years but we started as a small puppy which is quite different than an older rescue dog. My other clarification is that we always give the new Britt a treat, offer water and give praise when we call him and he returns so that he associates us with meeting his needs etc.
Janet

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:09 pm
by Dave
Google the book "Control Offleash" I hear it's good . Brittanys vary on when you can run them offleash . If it was my dog , I would find a trainer and ecollar train this dog . It gets them so that they don't turn off their ears .

I've trained them in as little as two weeks and even had a few fosters that were already trained on reliable recall and ran them free with my dogs in two days :P . I've had some I wouldn't turn loose after several months . Work on total recall in a big fenced area , then graduate to a bigger area non-fenced , but where you can run him down still in sight . My idea of running them down now is pressing a tone on their ecollar :roll: :lol: Dave

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:06 am
by Kerplunk105
As Dave said, I think it really depends on the dog. As he suggested, I would start on the lead getting his recall to be 100%. I've had fosters that could never be allowed off the leash b/c they would just follow their noses and never come back.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:13 am
by adele
janet909 wrote:The question is: what's the balance between letting this dog be a puppy with free reign and learning his place in the pack hierarchy vs. containing him on the leash and controlling him the entire time. Would you expect him to be able to run free and follow the group in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months????
Wouldn't it be great if there was a hard and fast rule. It does sound like yours has opportunity to run in controlled space, big yard and the fenced dog park so, what's the rush? Take the time to put in lots of practice and make sure he is good and solid.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:40 am
by rtropeano
I would spend a little more time building a strong bond first and a really reliable recall. I've had Daisy almost a year already (since April 18). She's pretty obedient and I wouldn't trust her completely off lead. We'll have the opportunity to do a "pack walk" at our dog camp this year and I'm still not sure if I trust her, not to open up and run off.

I think like everyone mentioned, it's different with every dog - but why not play it safe??

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:42 am
by janet909
It's not that we're trying to rush things. I was just trying to get an idea of a good, natural progression for training. He gets some quality, high speed running in at the dog park but on walks, it's a very slow pace for him.....or so it seems. We just want to find a good balance in hopes of getting him off the lead. We backpack in the mountains a lot and would like to take him with us , hopefully by the end of the summer, but we'll need to trust him 100%. I have no worries......we'll get there !!! If not this year than next. I have faith as he's a fast learner. We're also hunting him a lot already so I think that will help get him focused on the pack. I was just looking for tips from some of you who have trained numerous Britts.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:10 pm
by Canned Ice
I'm all for positive reinforcement training, but I've got to say, getting Buckley trained to the e-collar is one of the best things I've done for him. His recall is well above 90% as long as there are no critters!!! But throw a bunny or grouse in there and all bets are off. Buckley gets tons more exercise with his ecollar and I very seldom have to use it. If you have a good recall already, the trainer's job will be easy. If you want to go the ecollar route, I always recommend having a professional trainer do or supervise the training. A good trainer is worth every penny.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:15 pm
by Hayley's Mom
Canned Ice wrote:I'm all for positive reinforcement training, but I've got to say, getting Buckley trained to the e-collar is one of the best things I've done for him. His recall is well above 90% as long as there are no critters!!! But throw a bunny or grouse in there and all bets are off. Buckley gets tons more exercise with his ecollar and I very seldom have to use it. If you have a good recall already, the trainer's job will be easy. If you want to go the ecollar route, I always recommend having a professional trainer do or supervise the training. A good trainer is worth every penny.

Ditto for us and Hayley. She had a great inside or backyard recall, but get her in the woods and we lost her several times. It took only 1 hour with the trainer for her to understand that the very low level nick means "come to my feet now." That also seemed to make her finally understand that a verbal command is as important as the nick. So she immediately started responding better to all verbal commands. The collar has given her huge freedom to run and we don't worry. She always wears her e-collar offleash (except in a dog park) although we rarely have to use it. It's now more of a safety device for when the bunny, gouse and deer show up!

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:49 am
by janet909
Well, today was a day for the books. I took Moby and Wesley for a 45 minute run in one of the desert canyons nearby. We've had Wesley for 7 1/2 months now. He was wearing his GPS collar and his e-collar (lots of bling) but I put both controls in my fanny pack for the first time ever. My goal was to not have to pull them out. He does wear bear bells so I can hear him. Anyway, he followed along beautifully and I didn't have to pull out either control once!!! :D :D :D I blew the whistle around my neck at the half way point so he would look at me and see that I was turning around to head back to the car but other than that, he stuck with the pack....running around in circles of course but following me. Yeah Wesley !!! I'm not ready to let him run without his bling but this was a major step for him.... :D I'm really proud of my boy !!

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:47 am
by adele
Congrats to both you and Wesley!! Lola thinks running free is THE BEST!

Even though Lola usually comes running when I blow her whistle she wears her electric collar whenever she's off leash. I keep her remote control around my neck or in my pocket - where its still fairly handy. Don't normally need it but there are still times,... usually has something to do with pheasants.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:31 pm
by janet909
Yeah, Moby has 1000% recall but it might be a couple years before I can comfortably not strap all sorts of acoutraments around poor Wesley's neck. Maybe today he was just trying to be extra good after knocking and entire glass of red wine off the coffee table onto the carpet last night :shock: :shock: :shock: :evil: :evil: (My fault for not putting it on the end table, I know, but.....) Seriously though, no vibrations or shocks for the entire jaunt.....if you'd have asked us 6 months ago, we would have said "No Way" :wink:

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:23 pm
by adele
Well, you must have worked darn hard with him because I don't think its something that comes naturally to Brittanys. Its worth it. You make me think I should get back to working with Lola. She's good but I'd never say 100% recall.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:49 pm
by etyson11
Congratulations to Wesley!

Bridget Willow just celebrated her seventh birthday on Monday, I rescued her a little over two years ago. Although she is wonderfully behaved and very obedient, her recall was very bad. For her birthday, I purchased a Tri-Tronics ecollar (about two weeks ago actually) and she has taken to it perfectly. Her recall is nearly 100%, even with a fox, cat, squirrel, rabbit, etc. in sight. I now know, too, how relieved of a feeling it is to have her recall, though she wears her e-collar every time we go out.

Re: Free Running My Rescue Brittany

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:52 pm
by janet909
What a great pic of her. She's gorgeous and so is the background. Colorado ??? Where???