Off-leash obedience; How to keep your dog close.

Off-leash obedience; How to keep your dog close.

by Mark Siebel – Owner – DOGGIE STEPS Dog Training

Oh…the dream of taking your dog to the park, taking him OFF the leash, and playing fetch without him running away! For some dogs this can be a reality. Unfortunately, for others, the instinctual desires to smell and track will make it difficult to trust their “off-leash” freedom. I tell customers that off-leash obedience is NOT for every dog, so be sure that your dog has mastered the “come” command before attempting any off-lead work.

Off-leash obedience takes time, repetition, and your dog’s awareness that YOU are the pack leader. Through daily exercises and by using a stern-voiced recall, followed by a treat and strong praise/affection, your dog may have what it takes to play fetch unleashed. To see if your off-leash dream can become a reality, follow the simple tips below:

1. Off-leash at your local baseball diamond. A great way to get your dog prepared for off-leash obedience is to work with him at an enclosed baseball diamond. Find a local ball diamond and arrive early or late in the day to ensure you will be the only ones there. Go prepared with a leash and poop bag to pick up after your dog. Enter the ball diamond and be sure ALL gates are closed behind you. Release your dog from the leash and begin to walk the perimeter of the park. After only a few times of this routine, your dog will begin to follow/come to you! You can also practice running backwards combined with the “come” command in the ballpark. For a local ball diamond near you check out:

2. 50-foot lead. Next, your dog must link the off-leash connection at the ball park to the eventual freedom in an open park/field setting. To achieve this, purchase a 50 foot training lead from: With the 50 foot lead, go to your local park or greenbelt and tie one end of the lead to your dog and the other to your waist. The purpose of this long lead is to teach your dog that he has a 50 foot radius in which to roam. If he goes straight right, you go straight left. Just as the lead is about to get taut, you will command “come!” and continue walking in the opposite direction as your dog. In time, a boundary will be set, and your dog will not exceed the 50 foot radius. Practice this exercise often until your dog no longer exceeds the entire length of the 50 foot lead.

3. Playtime with dogs already off-leash trained. With your dog now familiar with a 50 foot boundary, its time to acclimate him to a play environment with dogs already trained to be off- leash. I often help customers with this by bringing my two Australian Shepherds. Having dogs that STAY close to the handler off lead will keep a new dog close to the pack 90% of the time. If you see any oncoming passersby with or without dogs, leash up your dog to ensure they don’t run. If your dog begins to stray from the pack on this exercise, you may want to have a 4 foot lead attached just to stop your dog. If your dog roams and doesn’t stay with the pack, repeat tips 1 & 2 for a few more weeks.

4. Finally, off leash with lead still attached. You’re almost there! Now that your dog knows its boundaries and has run with an off-lead trained pack, you now can do the final test. Pick an early morning and go to your local park/field. Take some tasty treats and a ball with which to play fetch. Be sure no other passersby are near and drop your lead. Have your dog explore with the lead ON to be sure you can stop him if he strays. After you’re sure the boundary is being obeyed, you can then remove the leash and your dream has come true!

Off leash obedience can be achieved with time and patience. As stated earlier, this is NOT for every dog. After you have tried tips 1 & 2 you will have good idea if your dog will have the capacity to achieve off-leash obedience. Please also be aware of your local OFF LEASH LAWS. I’d recommend off-lead work ONLY for exercises like fetch or general retrieval. Otherwise, for safety and dog etiquette, have your dog remain leashed.

Dawg Tired…

That is about as much dog as I can even begin to muster up currently. Both of mine incidentally are in full blown snore mode so they need to go back to chewing their butt’s in their dreams, Cause Mama is going to bed!

Yeah…so, what if it is almost 11a.m? It’s dark somewhere and it will be dark under the blankets as well!!!
Duck feathers that fill my pillows and comforters are more my speed right now. Yeah…yeah….I am going to hell for duck cruelty, so since I am on the way there anyway this might be a great time to bring up that duck La’ Orange is yummy, one of my favorites for the holidays. If you are wondering what I am blathering on about read my post before this one…I had a little mis-adventure last night and never got to sleep… But I am about to rectify that !!!. I will be posting when I revive at some point that I am holding a contest for wordpress theme designers for my new site. I am looking for a folk art type presentation 3-4 columns, widget ready and plugin ready….Oh yeah….and it need to be based on
Drop me an e-mail if you are interested….the prize will be my announcing your name all over as designer including in my weekly newspaper column I write…and I will be having matching business cards and letter head stationary ‘all matching’ with your signature incorporated into the artwork and your info will be on everything as well (ie; cards,stationary,brochures etc…)
You will also win a custom dog collar by Muscle-Dawgz and ummm…whatever cool stuff I can come up with because I will be grateful, I have no time!!! is our new e-mail as many of you seem to know.

Many, Many, thanks for the dollars that are coming in, I noticed a few of you have snuck in more!! (THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!) It is greatly appreciated and helps us keep the site up and running giving us the ability to spend the time needed to do the research and keep the blog updated. I am truly proud to be able to do something with my life that ‘is the love of my life‘ (after my kids and honey)

Fido’s Been Busy….

Yep, we certainly have had not a minute to spare, here at the dawg house. Our week began with our computer taking a nose dive (this would be the second time since ‘Fido’s Place’ was created) I am beginning to think the luck of the ‘Blue Jays’ that I have been cheering on so faithfully, is rubbing off ( insert shame faced chuckle here ) My long time Canadian friends are telling me I should know better, the Blue Jays are just not gonna happen’. How sad is that?! I remember going to their games as a kid and nobody would be there….sigh…poor fella’s!

I am so grateful to my wonderful & talented friend Susan Sheridan who let me bully her into taking time away from her painting ( you can check out her work all over my site) and her own blog to come on over to our site and help us live up to our promise of ‘daily updates’. I got to go computer shopping while she was busy designing a smokin’ new banner banner for the new site I am launching soon….

‘Fido’s Place’ is going ‘dot com’…..

Well ….actually, again. It already was at one point but then it went ‘poof’ into cyber space!! Don’t ask, ’cause I don’t know!!

So I basically just wanted to let y’all know …. (Yep, I said y’all …just for you ‘Thomas the Terrible’ -author of )

There was a short pause while I was writing this in case anyone noticed (silliness is imperative in these dark times…chuckle) I decided to do an absolutely ‘brilliant stunt’ and mistakenly take my son’s 50 mg of Vivance (this is an amphetamine used for ADHD) instead of my ‘sleepytime’ medication. I suddenly started began feeling like running a marathon instead of falling asleep (or possibly like I had just smoked ‘crack’ (I am unsure on that one, I have never even seen the stuff other than on T.V.) I asked my son son Matt (15) to look on the kitchen cabinet shelf to see if I may have mistaken my med’s for something else. (several of us in our household are medicated- I have two Bi-Polar /ADHD children, who have a Bi-Polar Mommy . You guessed it, that would be me, myself, and I and probably more…ha! ha! with high blood pressure!!)

Anyways to make a long story, longer and most definitely entertaining, not to mention somewhat embarrassing my concerned and level headed son called poison control when we realized my error. The real concern is I am on several other meds that may not mix very well with an amphetamine/stimulant, not to mention my high blood pressure. Poison controlled panicked the poor child (which he never let on whatsoever during the crisis) and he called the ambulance. (actually ‘my major ‘concern and greatest fear was that I had just put my laundry in the washer and I was wearing sweats going ‘au naturel’ underneath so I was in a complete frenzy trying to find clean underwear!! All I could envision was being toted off to the hospital via ambulance and being stuck in the infamous wardrobe of all hospitals-the backless gown!!) Obviously I have not stroked out and I am fine, but I must say my typing speed has greatly improved and I will probably knock out quite a few posts tonight…(it is now 12:00 a.m. eastern standard time and I am feeling quite bouncy to put it mildly)

Bragging time!!! I have two absolutely incredible teenagers that pulled me through a potentially hazardous event with level heads, calmness, and a sense of humor. (my 16 year old daughter was also present for the drama) She tended to my potential hysteria keeping me calm and laughing, making sure no fear entered my head and worsening my condition, ie heart rate and blood pressure as my son handled things with Poison Control and the E.M.T’s. They both had gathered up all the medication I normally take to have ready for the Emergency Tech’s.

My kid’s Rock…I love you guy’s I am a Lucky and Blessed Mom and I am sorry I have to be such a ‘meanie’ all the time!!! The days are coming soon that I will get to stop telling you what to do and what not to do…and just hang out with you guy’s!!!! We will do lunch and a movie soon…before school starts I owe you both one…a big one!!! (they are so gonna kill me when they read this…teehee)

Matthew (15)

Matthew (15)

Good Lord I am rambling arn’t I?….that would be me on speed …lol… the whole point of this post was to let everyone know that if I am not posting here as often as I was, is because I am over at my working hard to get it just right. I still use wordpress over there, gotta have my wordpress themes they are the best out there. But I have a lot more flexibility and of course it is ‘way cool’ to own my own website. So wander over there every now and then and give it a peek, let me know what you think.

I will announce my official ‘Launch’ date here on this blog when it arrives!!! I must sign off I am headed over there now…kiss your dogs good night ( and your spouses too!!, if they’ve been good.. 🙂 xoxox Michele

P.S. Thanks for everyone’s support and e-mails…it makes it all worthwhile!!!

PPS…. Good Morning all…it is now 7:00am and I am still flippin’ perky….sigh