Sighthounds off leash...

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by ~Tucker&Me~, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    So I have a question and I would like some opinions.

    Sighthounds interest me a lot, while I will probably stick to herding breeds for the most part, I could see myself owning some type of sighthound as well. One thing that seems to be a common theme in the articles I have read is their inability to be reliable off-leash. Everything seems to say that they must be kept on-leash unless in a well-fenced area. So as a person living in a suburban neighbourhood, the only well-fenced areas that I can legally allow the dog to be off-leash in are actual dog parks. This brings me to the next point I have been seeing a lot of - large sighthounds should not be trusted around small dogs in a situation where they are running because their prey drive may kick in. So now taking the dog to an enclosed dog park is out of the question, as we don't have size limits for our parks here.

    What's the deal, sighthound owners? Do you keep yours on leash at all times or happen to find convenient places that lack small dogs and are fenced in? Never being able to let the dog off-leash for some freedom seems like no fun to me, so is keeping a sighthound not a good idea for someone like myself?

    Edit: I guess I probably could have put this in the breeds section... Sorry! Oh and some of the breeds that appeal to me are borzois, whippets, silken windhounds, scottish deerhounds and irish wolfhounds :)
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Kaia has a better recall than any other dog I have worked with. Strider's is decent. A big part of the issue is the speed and the amount of time it takes them to get out of earshot, and subsequently lost or smooshed.

    In Seattle it was hard because my two are not dog park dogs. I exercised them on tennis courts or ball fields, and just made sure their bowels were empty first.

    Around here we have a fenced yard. I'm also fortunate that my aunt and uncle own a lot of land around here, and can take them running a couple times a week in their fenced 5 and 20 acre pastures. They'd be fine without that extra run, but they enjoy it a lot so we work it in.

    I think Dekka said that her whippets are pretty reliable, hopefully she'll step in.
     
  3. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Seen 100s off lead, and usually under much better control than most. They're usually sprinters, not marathon runners, so aren't inclined to go go go.... Gone. Honestly, greyhounds and whippets are pretty popular and I've really never seen anyone lose one... They usually trot along with their owner or have a good run and play, but never out of sight.
     
  4. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    The LHWs are fine. I just had them and a few of mine free here for an hour roaming the property while I mowed. Some of it seems to be one's own anxiety and the lack of off leash time ever. When I'm in the city if I don't take mine off leash they get more doordashy and their recall gets worse.

    I've met some greyhounds in dogparks when I went occasionally in past. They wore racing muzzles at the park.
     
  5. chaospony

    chaospony New Member

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    I have Afghan hounds now but had whippets in the past as well. My whippets were super mellow little shadows that were fine off leash, no desire to chase anything or let me get too far away.

    My Afghans have the instinct to chase squirrels. Like Romy said, a lot of it is they run so fast that even if they plan on listening to you call them back, they are out of earshot before you can.
    Robyn has a great recall, Trin takes her sweet time coming back and gets distracted easily.
    We always stay in fenced areas though, or bring long training leashes to the beach, fields and so on. They very quickly learn how far to run and what "stop!" means!

    I know many sighthound people who let their dogs loose, not so much in the city just becuase there are often lots of cars in between the dogs and those dang squirrels.
    But on secluded beaches or out hiking. A lot of it is the individual dog and the bond you have with them, their personality and so on.
    That being said, I have seen so many posts about sighthounds lost for days, months even years that it's not something I will be doing.

    You get used to keeping them on leash, even if you are a little jealous of the freedom everyone else gets. A long training leash and a little work training the dog to run in a circle can work in a pinch, though there is nothing better than watching a sighthound run free. Robyn had no recall at first and the rescue she came from had a huge fenced property that would have taken forever to catch her so every morning she ran like a loon in huge circles on a 25 ft leash.

    As far as the small dogs thing. There are only a small percent that can't be trusted with small dogs, cats and so on. If raised around these animals most are fine. Often the instinct is to chase then zoom past and wait for them to catch up to chase some more. No ill intent. When adopting a sighthound, a quick cat test is fine for me. Most can quickly learn who is off limits to chase.

    Long post is long!
     
  6. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    Sonic is a blend of saluki and coldblood & hotblood greys. he has crappy recall once he stretches it out. if i can catch his attention before he takes off he's not bad (but not great either). he has been known to get selective hearing & take off hunting on his own after a missed run. if i'm not willing to risk everything that his running entails (possible injury, skinning & butchering whatever he catches and the time spent catching him up if he gets selective hearing) then he doesn't come off leash.
    small dogs- he's gotten cranky in his old age and doesn't care how small the dog is, if it picks a fight or in some way offends him, it is game on. in his youth he was very dog friendly to every dog he met including small one. he never saw them as prey but was too dumb to control himself and not injure them in play.
     
  7. Kyllobernese

    Kyllobernese Member

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    I am glad to hear that some people realize that Greyhounds can be let off leash. It really bothers me when I hear people saying they cannot ever be off lead. We had Greyhounds for several years and never had one that had to always be on lead. I never found them any harder to train than some other breeds.

    It is common sense to not let any breed off lead where there is a lot of traffic and you have to pick the places where it is safe for them to be off lead.
     
  8. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Boston has a few large parks, but most are unfenced.
    We have a few sighthound owners that hang out in this big one where I walk dogs...and we had an issue today and it reminded me of this thread.

    While their recalls have been VERY GOOD from what I've seen..we had an issue where one of this woman's dogs (a greyhound I believe) went after a squirrel which ran out into the street, and the dog came VERY close to getting hit.

    The dogs are fine with small dogs (even the TINY chis I walk sometimes), they listen and come back well..but today we almost had a very very sad accident because the dog just LOCKED ON to a squirrel. The owner was yelling her name, the dog passed a bunch of people, jumped over a bench, nothing could get this dog to stop running!! We are very lucky she didn't get hit by a car! Thank goodness the car was driving slow and the squirrel got up a nearby fence so the dog stopped long enough for the owner to get to her and catch her.
     
  9. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I've posted this many times but it really is an excellent answer to "sighthounds can never be off leash": http://neversaynevergreyhounds.blogspot.com/2010/04/off-leash.html

    The Greys I knew well were high prey drive dogs who did lure coursing and they were walked off leash almost daily, over fields and through wooded areas. They would hunt on these walks if the opprunity arouse and sadly, they sometimes killed feral cats, rabbits, groundhogs. They were very attached to their people though, while they loved to really run they also would check back on their own and never really run to get away. Some did get to a point where they couldn't safely do a dog park/daycare situation with small dogs, some didn't but it is something to be aware of for sure.
     
  10. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    I haven't been a sighthound owner for long yet, but I'll chime in. Most of the sighthounds I know are fine offleash and actually have pretty reliable recalls.

    Joey and I are working on his recall and he's actually getting pretty good. Major distractions are still an issue... squirrels etc he will chase after and he'd be gone before I even realize he saw the squirrel. They are very fast and can get out of earshot in a nanosecond it seems. I wont let him off lead outside of a fenced area right now, but we practice walks and recalls on a long lead whenever we get a chance because eventually when we live much further away from the city I'd like to be able to take the dogs outside offleash and right now he is the only one I don't trust to be offleash (mainly for lack of training). Bamm surprisingly is the best offlead out of my dogs and he is nowhere near as reactive as he is onlead, but we don't get much chances to be offlead. His recall is really good.
     
  11. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    The problem with zois is that most of the time they are really obedient and want to please you, so it's easy to get complacent with them. Then one day their instinct kicks in and they're just... gone. Sometimes that one time is all it takes for them to be gone forever.

    This is a good read for anyone interested:

    http://www.mielikkishunt.com/trust.htm

    And I don't know if anyone remembers the time my SO took Strider for a walk in the woods and let him off leash when I expressly forbade it. He may have been okay if I was there. Maybe. But he didn't really have a strong bond with him and definitely didn't listen to him.

    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87512&highlight=lost
     
  12. chaospony

    chaospony New Member

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    You nailed it with that link Romy.
    It's so easy to become complacent when they behave so well every day.

    But really most sighthounds live full happy lives regardless of the leash.
    Heck if you adopt a retired greyhound many of them want nothing to do with running anymore!
     
  13. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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    I've owned Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds. Both of which I've always let off leash when hiking or at the beach. It is considered a major NO NO to most sighthound owners, but we work on recall and I also run them as a pack.

    Here are some pics:

    This is about as far as Ronon goes w/o turning and coming back to me. He is a big time mama's boy!

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    Cell phone pic of a hiking trip

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    At the beach

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  14. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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    3 Greyhounds running at a 4000 acre park

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    Resting after a run on the trail

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    3 of them posing at the trail

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  15. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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  16. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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  17. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Video- the adult Greyhound is now a NOTRA champion in his new home

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