There is a time in a young puppy’s life where the most important thing in the world is to follow their new owners around. It’s cute, it’s wonderful to think that these creatures are so bonded to us immediately … but it’s also a short phase for most pups, and can be deceiving.
Witnessing an incident the other day made me realize that it’s important to post this information.
There comes a time in a puppy’s life (not unlike children) where they start to develop confidence, their own personalities, and a sense that they are not part of a whole, but rather individual. And there is nothing more heartbreaking than watching this moment happen to an unsuspecting owner who is walking their young puppy off leash, close to roads, because they think that the pup “came trained” and would never leave their side.
For safety of your puppy, there should never be a moment, before they are fully trained, that they are allowed to wander, unleashed in an unsecured area. Too many things can go wrong, and you could stumble upon that moment where the pup thinks, “wow, I’m not attached to you, so I’m going to explore over there.”
And there is not just dangers from the road, there is dangers of puppies getting into things that they shouldn’t, being startled by something and bolting (possibly during a fear period), becoming lost after bolting, being attacked by a loose dog, starting in on bad habits and the list goes on.
This situation can startle owners, create panic, and often has the owner blaming the pup for not sticking by their side, which is completely unfair and does nothing to forward the relationship. If an owner lets their puppy off leash before they have a solid recall, it is the owners fault that the pup ran away, or didn’t heed the recall, not the dogs fault. Before training has been proofed, puppies are not fluent in what is required of them, and we need fluency before we can expect compliance, especially off leash.
Set your pup up for success from step one, not after an incident has happened and the leash is a tool to help you do this. Always remember, training continues through your dog’s lifetime, and should start the moment you acquire, purchase or adopt. Keep your puppies safe and have fun!