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 Bolting when off leash?

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101N
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Join date : 2013-10-10

PostSubject: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:10 am

Hi I introduced myself in the forum the other day but long story short I’ve ended up taking care of a husky that was in a not so great situation and it is quickly looking more and more permanent. I also have no experience with huskies whatsoever and am having to take a crash course in what and what not to do.

Anyway, I go hiking on a regularish basis out in the desert and in the mountains. When I go I generally let my dog off leash to run free. Her recall isn’t perfect but I know she won’t go out of sight and she always comes back. When I have high value treats I can guarantee that 100% of the time she’ll come exactly when called no matter what else is going on.

I took the two dogs out this morning. I chose to hike in a canyon so that there wouldn’t be as many places to run since I wasn’t too sure about this dogs recall. I took treats and he was pretty good for most of the first part of the hike about coming back when called. Then, about an hour in he literally took off at a dead sprint for no reason I could tell in the opposite direction up the trail. I ended up having to chase him up the trail panicked because there was no way I was going to be able to catch him unless he decided to come back. Which he did… eventually. Obviously the leash went back on at that point and didn’t come off the rest of the time we were hiking.

So my question is… can huskies ever be trusted off leash when out hiking? If so how do you work on the recall since treats obviously aren't worth as much to him? Or is there no way to stop huskies from bolting when they feel like it? I’d like to keep going hiking with the dogs and I don’t like having to leash them since it gives them a chance to run but obviously I will use the leash if I can’t trust him not to bolt.
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VintageJeans
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Female Join date : 2012-07-07
Location : Houston, TX

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:35 am

This is a very controversial subject, so I'm going to tread lightly.

Huskies are notorious for not being able to be trusted off-leash. It all depends on the personality of the husky itself, but 99% of them are not to be trusted off-leash.

They were bred to run fast and for long periods of time, not to be loyal companion to their owner.

If you want him to run around off-leash, take him to a local dog park instead. Smile
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:54 am

It's called sled head. Smile they take off at full speed and get pretty far away before they even notice your not with them. They love to run and sometimes when they get started, they lose their heads and get lost or hurt before you know it. I sort of trusted my first husky off leash. She would always keep me within sight (even if i was only a tiny dot on the horizon) and always come back.... Eventually. So if we were in safe place where it's wasn't crucial she come immediately I let her off leash. She would usually move ahead of me in the same direction I was going, and if I changed direction, she would too. But, I wouldn't have trusted her anywhere that could have been dangerous or high distraction.

My current pup, has never been off leash. Living in the city, it's just too risky. I'm going to take him up to a state park today with a beach, so I may try it out, but we'll see. It depends how isolated the area we are going is and some other factors.
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Rigbyjek
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Join date : 2012-12-18

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:03 pm

I have a husky and an alaskan malamute- I let both of them off leash on a regular basis and they love it! Having said that- like Jen mentioned above, I only let them off where its safe, ie. no cars, busy roads, etc. It's not worth it to me to risk their lives to let them off leash.. but they love it and I truly believe they are happier for it. As a result, they both come when called- and if they get loose outside my house, they literally stay like right in the front yard and wait to be let back in... Maybe I just got lucky and I'm just the exception Smile lol.
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MGoBlue
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Join date : 2012-06-13
Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:30 pm

If you want to take him on your hikes, think about using a long lead. That's what we do with our boy. We just bought a 50-75ft yellow nylon rope so that he gets room to range but is still safely attached. If we are out in the woods, we usually don't end up holding on to the rope, he listens well and it's more of a precaution to make it easier to catch him if he does start to stray. But I know that Bode has a high desire to be with his pack, so he is always concerned with where we are.

As others have said, huskies are notorious for being unpredictable off leash. For me, no matter how much I think I trust him, it's not worth the risk of him getting lost or hit by a car. Since you don't know much about the dogs training or history, I would err on the side of caution for sure.
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Rocio_Caballero
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Location : New Mexcio | Germany

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:17 pm

I just had it happen to me yesterday where Lycus' collar snapped and he just ran. Lol, worst recall I've seen has definitely been with him.
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MGoBlue
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Join date : 2012-06-13
Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:25 pm

@Rocio_Caballero wrote:
I just had it happen to me yesterday where Lycus' collar snapped and he just ran. Lol, worst recall I've seen has definitely been with him.
Going along with this, if you do use a long lead, use it with a harness. Less potential for snapping or injury if you have to grab it if he's running away.
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:06 pm

Well I didn't let Dizzy off leash today, but I did drop (on purpose) the leash and allow him to run. I had his 50' line on him with his harness and it worked really well. And low and behold, his recall is good. Of course, I did have, gasp, BACON JERKY! But still I was proud my little guy stayed with me, changed direction when I did, and came when I called. However, there were no other dogs around, if there had been, I know they would have won his attention.
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counter
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Male Join date : 2013-03-24

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:40 pm

http://www.dreamcatcher.org.uk/the_off-lead_debate.htm

Someone posted this link, and I think it helps to explain a lot. Of course, each Sibe is an individual (in more than one way! ha!), but I definitely agree and understand how their unique and ancient history has played an important role in today's result!
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Ashley&Kaia
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Female Join date : 2010-01-15
Location : Massachusetts

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:33 pm

I agree with Jen. I do allow Kaia offleash in places that are free of cars, wooded areas where I don't for see any injury will be caused by traffic, because I'll face it she has no idea about traffic she would run out on a main road and not think twice. If we go to a state park, we do a lot of hiking in NH, at certain beaches, she stays very close, reverses direction when I do, comes in my general direction when I call her. It does help to have a high value treat, I usually bring chicken or something. And I'll only let her off if I know I have a large amount of time to dedicate to be out there with her because she has pulled the "I'll stay close but I'm not gonna let you catch me" thing.
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xredrainx
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Male Join date : 2012-05-24
Location : Georgetown, On Canada

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:55 pm

In your case I would stick to a long lead (till you train and work up to having him off leash on hikes if that is what you are striving for). But to answer your questions yes it is possible but it is a lot of work and I mean A LOT(more so with a rescue I would have to guess). To work on recall it really depends on the husky/owner, I personally didn't train with treats so I used a lot of umbilical training, praise, check-ins, hikes with other dogs and solo hikes and learning what type of recall he best responded to. You can't really tell if they will bolt or not it's up to them and how they feel :p

Anyhow good luck
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dogbowl
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Join date : 2012-11-14

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:00 am

I have had my Husky for a little over a year. He is 4 years old. If he is off his leash, he is gone. End of story. He knows not to go near the door, but outside, he is a runner. When I went backpacking I took him and my black lab. The lab is wonderful off leash and has perfect recall. So what I did was I hooked the two of them together with about a 10 foot line. I put a harness on the Lab so as to give her more pulling power if need be. But it didn't seem necessary. The Lab wouldn't run too far, and when I called them, they both came. Basically it was two factors, the lab was listening to me and wouldn't run away. The leash still being attached to my husky and him not having full reign to run made him not run as fast. I was far away from any roads and kept them close to me when other people were around but it worked well.

At the end of the trip though, my girlfriend unhooked him trying to untangle him. We were about 100 yds away from the road. I ended up chasing him down highway 88 for at least half a mile. So be careful with your husky. They are bred to run, and it is their favorite thing to do.
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nichole.1990
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Female Join date : 2013-06-03
Location : Newfoundland

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:41 pm

We go in the woods with Jasper and it's a pain to have him attached to us 24/7 so I usually use a 50' lead attached to a harness and tie to to my waist. We noticed he would never really go to the end of the lead so I started just putting the lead on him but dropping it and letting him run free. My logic was if he bolts the rope will tangle in a tree/bush (we go in thick forest) and it worked perfectly, he still wouldn't bolt. Then we thought 'awesome! we can lose the rope and just let him go with his vest and harness'. We were wrong, for some reason without the rope attached he bolts lol. I guess he knows we can't catch him without it.
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dahowlers
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Female Join date : 2012-01-30
Location : Wisconsin

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:42 am

I take Snoopy for runs down the gravel road, which he LOVES. He gets to run as fast as he can and he absolutely loves it. I also used to let him run free in the yard so he can do zoomies around the house. Well I hadn't ran him in like a week and he was zooming around really hardcore and suddenly he turned, ran down the driveway, turned, and started running down the road Laughing

I whistled and whistled but the look on his face was pure ecstasy and I knew he couldn't hear me from that rush, but I kept whistling and he shook his head, slowed to a walk, stopped, and look incredible confused! He had completely lost himself in what he'd been doing. He looked back at me in the yard, I called his name, he bolted toward me, jumped the perimeter fence, and tackled me in his excitement. He didn't run to be disobedient, he just couldn't help it. That'll teach me not to let him zoom around the yard before his exercise lol!

I was so glad all the neighbors had left their cottages so no one was out.
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SiberianAnubis
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Location : Stuttgart, Germany

PostSubject: Re: Bolting when off leash?   Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:24 am

There are times and places where even a Husky can be off leash but as mentioned above it depends on his charakter. Then it depends on how strong the bond between you and your dog is and if he accepts you as the leader. It also depends on the effort you spent in training the recall.

I think chasing after your dog wasn´t the best idea. Dogs love to chase or being chased, it is a game for them. He now learned that he can run away from you without consequences.
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