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Categories: Basic Obedience

Q. My Boston Terrier runs off when I take it off leash. He minds at home this just happens when we are out for a walk. What should I do?
Hi Ed,

I have a 16-month old Boston Terrier and I bought your basic dog obedience training video. My BT obeys my commands very well when he is off leash at home and on leash on the street. He can stay on the street for 10 min. and the distance between he and I is about 50 feet, but I have a problem when I bring him for a walk and try the off leash work. My BT tried to run away. I trained him with a 20-feet long leash before and reduced the length of the leash to 3 feet and at last 1 foot, but when I tried to train him without a leash (a prong collar was still on his neck), he thought he got had freedom and tried to run away. I would like to know how to solve this problem and when do I know I can start to train him without a leash? My friend has a Pit bull, and he doesn't need to use a leash to go out with his dog, but his dog won't run away and stays close with him wherever my friend goes. Is there any method to train my dog to stay close with me when he is off-leash? Thank you for your help.

Justin

A. No two dogs are 100% alike. That's one reason there is a difference between your BT and your friends pit bull.

The way to approach a problem like this is to not take the dog off leash for a long long time. Let it drag the line so it thinks its off leash but there is still a line there to grab. The fact is that there is very little reason for a dog to be off leash when you take him someplace. I never take my dogs off leash when I am out in public.

If (in training) the dog does run off you should always calmly walk after the dog (not chase him and don't get mad or excited). Walk after the dog and when you catch him you clip the line on him and automatically correct him all the way back to where you were when he ran off - even if it's a block away. The dog MUST LEARN that he will ALWAYS get corrected if he refuses to come when called.

If you have a need to have the dog off leash then you should get an electric collar and use it. But there is a protocol for starting and using this - I don't have time to go into that right now.
  
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