At 4 – 8 months the puppies become more independent of their owners and are likely to venture off on their own.
Puppies that have always come when called or stayed close to their owners will now ignore them, often running in the opposite direction. This period can last from several weeks to months. How you handle your puppy’s refusal to come or stay with you will determine whether or not he will be trustworthy off leash. Therefore, keep your puppy on leash when this period arises and keep him on leash until he readily returns to you or shows no inclination to leave you.
Releasing an unleashed dog in an unconfined area that is not well trained off leash may be dangerous to your dog. Even well trained dogs can make mistakes or become distracted by something in the environment so that they do not respond to their owners’ commands.
So, how do you respond when your puppy suddenly develops the urge to bolt? First, you must, for his safety, put a leash or a long line on your dog whenever you are not in a confined area.
Second, work hard on training your puppy to come on command. Use the recall game and the spontaneous recall. When walking your dog, suddenly run backwards and encourage your puppy to come. If your dog still continues to bolt or run away, then your dog probably does not view you as the dominant figure in this relationship!