> Ok my lab bella is pretty good most of the time but today we let her off
> leash so she could enjoy the water (which she loved) but she gets so
> when she sees other people and wants to run to say HI to them. It seems
> she totaly ignores us. What to do to keep her from running off to other
> people? I keep her on the leash most of the time but want her to get used
> to being off the leash occasionally. SHe's 7 months old, will she grow
> of it?
> thanks Evan
A good recall in the face of good distractions is one of the hardest things
to teach--even to ***s. She's too young to be able to control her impulses
and really shouldn't be off-leash yet. When dogs get highly aroused they
literally cannot hear you, add puppy (and no obedience training?) to that
and she's stone deaf when a good distraction comes around. One of the main
points of training is to teach the dog that no matter how aroused s/he is
they need to keep an ear out for you. That's why people start somewhere
quiet, like their backyard and move to progressively busier and busier
spots. If you let her off lead and she ignores you all she'll learn is that
she doesn't have to listen to you. Should she ignore your come command, go
get her, do not repeat yourself--ideally she shouldn't be off-lead until she
has a good recall.
One thing that will help is if when on-lead you call her back to you to let
her off-lead to run over to whatever the distraction is. Her reward for
coming is getting to check out the distraction. For example, you are in the
back yard and she's on-lead. Now throw her favorite toy across the yard.
Call Bella to you, cheering enthusiastically and gently reel her in if
necessary, when she comes praise like crazy, give her a cookie and let her
off lead so that she can get toy. After enough repetitions of this she will
"get the game" and immediately respond to your come command. Once she does
this consistently in your yard, move to a new spot like a quiet corner of
the park and then to busier and busier spots. Also change the distraction
once she is really reliable with whatever distraction you are using, borrow
a neighbor's kid or dog.
Have you started obedience classes? If not, you should. Be sure to find a
class and trainer that you like and go. Group classes are the perfect place
to start teaching that despite all the dogs and people around you have to
focus on me and what we are working on.
Kali CD, CGC, TDI