Let’s be mindful of the fact that on average, it’s been shown that for a dog, it may take an average of 70 times before it starts to engage in the wanted behavior on a regular basis. So let’s not think of this type of teaching as a sprint.
This type of good manners-teaching is expected to grow alongside the dog’s life development. As it keeps growing, the pooch will become more reliable with honed behavior. Progress would be shown in months, then incrementally with years.
Just as it should be for any living creature one’s committed to take care of, this if for a lifetime. While requiring an immense amount of patience, there’s an even bigger payoff when experiencing its results. Yes, it’s a natural developmental phase for a dog to uncontrollably chase after scents.
As one seeks to limit, then control your pooch’s primal urges, it’ll become both for the dog as well as for you, a valuable learning experience. By primal urges, we mean going off on other dogs without reason. It could also be uncontrollably going off on picked-up wild animal scent, thus getting into undue danger.
The whole point of having a dog be off leash responsibly isn’t to then let the pooch choose its own experience. It’s a way for the dog to rely on you as the caretaker for knowing how to control its behavior. Part & parcel of that is us human owners being aware at all times of their whereabouts & actions.
As dog organizations which license pooches going off leash mention; a proper off-leash dog is to show being as much under the owner’s control as those that remain on a leash. One can imagine that this type of result is to require a certain amount of patience & a steep level of consistency.
First thing’s first on this type of training, & that would be the teaching of recall. You’d do this by having your dog come over to you. When it does so by itself when you call it, that’s when you give it a treat. Make it easier on you by choosing a ‘call’ command that you won’t use on the pooch for anything else.
Almost as important, make it a point to immediately reinforce the behavior you want, the moment your pooch comes to you. Still, don’t get this teaching act mixed with a session of petting &/or giving food. The outcome you’d desire out of teaching recall is that, wanting something will always involve action.