For those that let their Shikokus off leash
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    Hello, I just wanted to ask of any of you let your pups off leash? For those of you that let your Shikoku's off leash:
    At what age did you do this?
    How did you successfully train the recall?

    I would let my past dog, a Shiba Inu, off leash only if there were absolutely no way of any cars to get into the park. She would go in large circles around me and check back every now and then. Her recall was only good with cheese. I was lucky though. She was one of the rare ones that could be trusted off leash.


  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 123
    From when we got him until about 5 months Ajax's recall was great. Then from 6-12 he was absolutely untrustworthy off leash. He's now 14 months and his recall is improving again. We've mostly working him with a 50' long line until till recall is good again. Been taking him to an unfenced dog run weekly to play with his doggy friends. One of his friends is e-collar trained with great results. Ajax is almost as good with voice alone, once he's voice recall is really solid, we're planning to add in an e-collar. I certainly wouldn't recommend e-collars with most Nihon-Ken, but I think it will work well with his temperament.

    My general recommendation is to use a long line. You won't go wrong with that. Just make sure he doesn't tangle a leg in when running.
    Post edited by Ajax at 2017-05-10 01:35:37
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 125
    For me, your dog and the bond you have with your dog is the most important thing before even trying to train recall and off leash. So basic obedience and activities with your dog should be your priority before you try this.

    Your shikoku is a working dog, and when it goes outside it has a switch that clicks as soon as they are outside. It's very common for them to naturally click into hunting mode as soon as you leave home. This will all vary from dog to dog. So how do you combat this? Be the more interesting thing to them, Be a good leader/role model for your dog to always look to you for the next step. Your dog should be well socialized to understand how things work in the world, cars, streets, that scary looking manhole, those scary sprinklers that come on randomly, Random dogs, Dogs that are reactive or aggressive, etc etc. Point being they should be socialized so that their fight or flight tendencies aren't the first reactions that come out of them and the less likely that is to happen the safer. This is the most crucial thing about being able to trust your dog off leash.

    We started Miyuki on off leash training from when we first got her starting at 8 weeks old. Every time we stepped out, it was always me that was the spotlight of her adventure's outside the house. I made sure that when we went outside, there wasn't a huge distraction, which means timing was everything since we live in an apartment complex with lots of people. While outside there was always treats for her whenever she got back to me. At the same time, I would always let her chase me since it was crucial for her to be near me at all times. Puppies at 8 weeks old tend to stick to you like glue, so make sure you use that as best as possible to make it a rewarding and fun experience for your pup. From there week after week I compounded call cue's and also taught her her name. Each associated with tasty treats for her whenever she would come back to me. As she got older she always associated her name calling with treats or affection from me when she got back to me.

    As far as how we got her socialized, I'm going to straight out recommend you to take your puppy to classes for not only obedience but mainly for socialization. We never took our dogs to classes because we wanted to train them to be obedient. It was all mainly for socialization. Training your dog to do tricks, and listen to commands I think is the easiest thing to do as long as you are patient and nurturing. Socialization is something that you will work on for years and should start setting up habits for your dog to follow.
    Post edited by jigzzor at 2017-05-10 01:52:01
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    Great advice! Definitely things I will work on. She is already enrolled in puppy socialization class and basic obedience :). I like the bonding time and I feel it is good to go to anyway for the socialization, bonding and training. New and better methods of training develop constantly and I feel that it's a good refresher. I am worried about the reactiveness that I've read about with other dogs but i feel that early socialization will hopefully curb it. I did ok with my Shiba before so I'm hoping it will be the same if not even better.

  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 216
    My advice, whether you decide to let your dog off leash or not, is to always -always- train recall. Every day, get some tasty treats and practice calling your dog (work up to it till you are further and further away, or out of sight). In addition to the standard recall commands it's good to have an unusual word for this because you want it to be your fail safe word. When you say it, the dog KNOWS they are going to have a delicious treat and loving attention waiting for them. People tend to abuse the "come" command (guests/friends/family/etc).... so the dog might not associate it with the absolute BEST TIME EVER like they ought to. So train your regular word (you want people to be able to call your dog if they have to) but also train a magnificent word that no one else will abuse.

    We have let Kaja off leash at the farm, and at the dog parks that are fenced in -- but I wouldn't want to let her off leash anywhere else. We have loads of animals around here and she tries her best to get at them even when I've got her tethered -- if she had a chance, she'd chase them all over. I imagine she'd come back to me once she was pooped, or at least I hope she would.

    She has slipped through the door a couple times but thankfully recovering her was easy because she either stopped to bark at some strangers, we used a recall command, or we got close enough to tell her to 'sit'. Sit is one of those commands she's trained to do like a million times a day, so it's almost one of the fail safe words.

    We tend to put a 50 foot line on her when we let her run around in a non-fenced area --
    example: the beach.That way, if you have to, you can always pull them in. Not advisable if you're in a forested area with lots of shrubbery they can get it caught up on -- better for clean open areas.

    If you live in an area that allows tracking collars, you might feel a bit more at ease with it on them. Dogs can be trained to return to you at the sound of a beep, or if not, you can at least pin point where they've gone.

    Of course, letting a dog off leash and them being trustworthy is one thing. The other is if you can trust them around other dogs. Kaja is great off leash with other dogs, but... not all dogs can say the same. Unfortunately her curious nature would have her getting in every dog's space, and one of those dogs might just decide it doesn't like that very much. Calling dogs back from an interesting thing like another dog is a bit tougher than normal recall... especially if that other dog is instigating something.
    Post edited by Kaja at 2017-05-10 10:01:29
  • MihoMiho
    Posts: 10
    I agree with Kaja. I trained my dog to come when called normally, but I also have a stronger recall command to use when he is going to be going off leash. I use a silent whistle because they are easy to carry around and provide a consistent and unique sound that can be heard from pretty far away. I also use a treat that he particularly loves and that he only gets for recall with the whistle. Whenever he hears that sound, he knows that I will give him the special treat for coming.

    Knowing how an individual dog will react to certain situations, being prepared for how ro handle them, and avoiding putting him in situations that you know might be too tempting are also important. For example, I only let Jude off leash in large, secluded areas such as my family's farm because while he is good at recall around other dogs/animals, he will occasionally get too focused on greeting a new person to notice what I am asking of him. If I were to let him off leash in a crowded park, I couldn't 100% trust him not to get distracted by, say, a group of children running and playing. Even though he is a sweet dog, not everyone wants a dog coming up to them.

    I should also give a disclaimer that I don't yet have a Shikoku, and the dog that I am talking about is a husky/hound mix. Good luck with your training!
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1907
    My Shikoku is probably "abnormal", in a way. I got him at 6 or so and was hiking with him off leash a month later. I did a lot of work with a long line and reinforcing his check-ins. He was particularly motivated by being near me and was comforted by my presence, which made things easier.

    My home-bred Kishu start recall training as soon as they start paying attention to human faces. My current litter of 5-week-olds is already starting training for recall - I reward them heavily when they return to me with affection (really weird, high-pitched, interesting noises are what get them to come to me right now.) Later, food and other motivators will be necessary.

    My Kishu that I got as pups, but did not breed/raise from Day 1, get to go naked around the house and yard and I do the same thing. I have observed that dogs that never get off leash as young pups may find it overstimulating or too novel when they get off leash for the first time, which can make recall suffer, so I do my best to give them as many positive experience off leash, before they are old or big enough to get far away from me at a sprint.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 ||
  • ShibafoxShibafox
    Posts: 49
    Ok, so it seems that everyone is saying bonding, make it interesting and fun, focus on recall and wait till they're older before trusting them. Lots of good tips and advice. Thanks everyone!
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 3017
    One thing I'll add good to have a gps coarse not necessary, but it's nice for piece of mind anyways I think.

    I plan to get one for my shiba. She does great, but still think it would be good for my piece of mind plus like how it'll display the dog's walk and your path too.

    There are various kinds out there tons to pick from depending on what you need. I'm going with Garmina Astro found place that has decent pricing and option for the collar to be reflective which is nice. I believe it's waterproof which is nice. Saya likes to swim in pond and creek once in while.

    I started when I first got Saya just basics teaching her name and stuff I'd also let her walk around on long leash if she came to me on her own I'd reward her.

    I only do off leash in my yard and in the field/woods.

    Nicole, 7year old Bella(Boxer), and 7year old Saya(Shiba inu)

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