Now I am very nervous of having a dog offlead near any road - quiet or not - however we have lovely walking tracks here and it would be a shame not to be able to give Doof some running space, especially in the ovals etc we pass.
Whilst in Melb I was able to give him quite a bit of safe offlead work in an enclosed park. Lots of letting him run free and then calling him - sometimes to sit in front, sometimes for a cuddle, sometimes putting the lead on and taking it off and sometimes for home time.
Whilst I am not suggesting his 100%, when we left here at Christmas his recall was about 45% - I would say it is now 80%+ - he never refuses to come, but sometimes finishes what he is doing before he comes back.
I took him for a short walk next to the house - just down towards the oval. Paths leading onto Courts and a dead end street down the bottom. Not only did he keep looking back to see me but he came of his own volition - for a cuddle and just to see what I was doing.
Earlier today I took him down to the park that's 2 minutes drive from here - a soccer oval so you can imagine that it's quite large and flat. He was excellent - went and had a sniff but came back when i called him.
He is also learning to drop on command wherever I tell him - which is good for obedience - it also means I have an emergency stop command - though he recognises quite a number of words for drop.
We had done minimal work at dog training - just some offlead running before class - and until quite recently he would go and do his own thing and not bother about me at all.
We are in the middle of the training process - not at the end - but I think this shows that nothing beats practice done on the exercise itself. Offlead walking is important as I want him to be able to socialise with other dogs. Many of our parks are stupid - they're built right next to main roads.
I am also teaching him not to go on the road - which is coming along. I am at the end of the court so I can work on him there - off lead!!
This is positive progress in our training. When I got Doof I thought I could get him ready for trialing in six months. I have done relatively little with him but I still think he could pass the first level of obedience - which is all on lead.
I am not going to put him in trials until we are in the higher classes at dog school - for my own confidence - and there's no hurry - he is barely 2!!