Off lead / on lead

I was thinking back to my own dogs tonight, mostly rescues over the years.
Sometimes I could tell almost immediately that it was ok to let them off the lead, they would have a sniff around but not go far, and come back when called. One or two I was not so sure about, so waited until I got to know them. One spaniel, in particular, I had strapped to my wrist for 5 years. Great dog. but just didn’t trust him to come back.

When you do a house sit, are you worried that a dog may “do a runner” as we say in Scotland.
I have looked after almost 50 dogs now, house sitting.
If the owners tell me to keep the dog on the lead I do. But there have been some, where you can just tell that they will follow you, even on the first walk.
Sometimes it almost feels as if the dog becomes yours for a few days. One of my favourites was on Lama island in Hongkong last year. Within minutes I knew she would follow me anywhere.

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Lucky you are to “feel” dogs like that.
As a sitter I ALWAYS follow the advices of the owners, Keep their pet on the lead if i have been asked to.
I’m the anxious type I’m so scared myseld to let go my dogs (i try to train my new puppy and failed with my former ones) when they don’t come back immediately.
Consequences can be terrible
My first sit (not with THS) was in Mallorca and the owner told me she never put the lead on her dog, although policemen in Valdemossa asked her to do so… I warned her I would attach her dog in town, it was MY responsability if the dog was hurt by a car, or hurt somebody, running…
It’s different in a wood or a forest, when there are no cars, but you never know if the dog will obey you (or feel your anxiety ???)

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We always ask the homeowners and go with what they say.

Saying that, even if they say that they are fine off lead we always keep them on for at least the first few walks to get them used to us!

Not any issues with run away dogs so far! :crossed_fingers:t3:

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As a Housesitter, my philosophy is simple: to ensure homeowners come back to happy, healthy pets. When it comes to doggos, I always encourage their owners to take them out on the walk together with me (as part of the hand-over before they leave). It helps to gather a lot of information about potential walks and get useful tips only a dog owner can give. My golden rule is never to let doggos off the lead unless we are in a safe, fenced area where they can play.

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@Petermac I’m in the leashed school of pet sitting.

Main reason my own Springer gave me enough moments of “OMGoodness we’ve lost her” good on recall, in the open countryside once she had the scent of her “quarry” … deer especially … she was gone and no amount of recall training worked.

Like @Jenny my golden rule is off leash only in a fully secure space with no possibility of escape. For energetic breeds I always make certain they have enough physical exercise and mental stimulation.

I never want to be the one to have to make that “Lost Dog” call …

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This is a good topic and I think it’s best to do whatever you feel comfortable with alongside following the owners instructions. One of my top questions about dogs is ‘what is their recall like?’ (though some owners like to think it’s better than it is!) and I tend to go from there along with the instructions from the owners. I feel like I can get to know a dog pretty quickly so how soon I let them off the lead is based on that judgment. Some dogs it’s straight away others I hold off and only pick certain areas.
Saying all that though I have had a few racing heart moments where for a moment I wondered if i’d see them again! The “best” one was a young Golden Retriever called Beau. The owners did say that at a particular wood he liked to run off chasing rabbits and could disappear for a bit… So we’d been past this wood a couple of times and sure enough off he’d go into the thick pine trees and i’d stand and wait and then he’d reappear further up the track about 5/10 mins later…

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Part 2/2 On this late afternoon walk he disappeared and after about 10mins I was starting to get slightly concerned as I couldn’t hear him and there was no chance of seeing him with the dense pine trees and the darkness encroaching. At that point I looked at my watch and took a note of the time and continued walking up the track alongside the wood calling his name and whistling…still no sign! I was definitely getting more concerned as time ticked on but in the back of my mind I thought of my own GR and he would do exactly the same, run off, chase rabbits, ignore any calls and then eventually come back in his own sweet time! So I kept calling and whistling to make sure Beau would know where I was when he was ready to come back. After 30mins and it getting darker I admit I was running through my mind what i’d do if he didn’t return… Then behind me down the track he reappeared, absolutely exhausted, panting away and headed for the biggest, dirtiest puddle he could find and promptly laid down! I did let him off again afterwards…when I had time to wait!!

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Brilliant picture and great story @PetsSit.
I have done a couple of sits where I have asked the HO where they keep the lead - to be given a strange look “Lead, we don’t need one of those”
Then in Singapore where I have done about 10 sits, it is illegal to have a dog off lead except in recognised dog walk areas. I did one sit, a bit outside the city, where the owner took the dogs out on the main road, following her on her bike, off lead!! I was a bit surprised, but I always put them on the lead to get to their walking area.
And on Bali, where I have looked after a couple of wee Shih Tzu’s several times, lead on for 5 minutes to the beach because of traffic, then they just run about mad with all the beach dogs, having a great time, eventually joining me at my favourite beach bar for a beer.


Bonnie and Clyde and friend Olive on the beach on Bali. This was their favourite place to watch the sunset.
image
Another sit I did on Bali, the poodles didn’t have leads. We went to the beach on the Scooter, the wee one in the basket on the back, the other one on the footplate - ears flying in the wind, she loved it.

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On the footplate? It was the owner’s choice ? Or yours?

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The owners choice. Her villa was slightly remote and that was how the dogs travelled. Fortunately I am happy on a scooter - almost a requirement in Asia.
I have seen some sits where the HO asks that you are able to ride a scooter - often supplied.

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Waouh !

@PetsSit Ditto @Petermac, story and pics.
I had a very similar situation with Woody a Springer I sat 3 times for 3 months at a time … the South Downs is a very large and remote area to find a Springer on a mission … a springer with “perfect recall” he was a trained ex army sniffer dog …

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Oh to be a dog on a lounger on a beach in Bali :purple_heart::heart_eyes:

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Deffo on a lead for us.

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I have always used a leash, but am now on a sit with a semi-feral senior rescue dog who will not walk on a leash. She lived outside most of her life before being adopted and will just sit down and not move if you try to put a leash on her. The location is in a quiet neighborhood on a dead end street with little traffic and she is really old, but it still makes me a bit uncomfortable. The owner keeps telling not to worry, but that is hard for me.,

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I would worry too…

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We’ve always kept any dogs we’ve looked after on the leads as my worst fear would be having the dog do a “runner” and never return! Only once did I let a dog off and it was our second time looking after the dog who I knew just wanted to run around the park. I brought treats with me to entice her back in case she did take off. I slowly took the leash off expecting her to bolt off running in joy of her new found freedom and she sat down and looked at me as if to say “what do you want me to do now”! It was a relief and I know if we look after her again I’ll have no qualms about letting her off the leash.

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