Nearly every dog owner has the same worries about letting their dog off their leash - injuries and running away. It’s not hard to imagine the reasons for keeping a dog on a leash — safety from cars, other dogs, other people, wildlife, and potential hazards but there are many benefits to giving your dog the freedom from being off their leash. Be truly considerate and always pay attention to posted leash law signs and rules.
Benefits Of Being Off Their Leash
Dogs love to run, play, sniff and explore without the hindrance and pull back of a leash. By training them to play respectfully and explore without their leash you are giving them a freedom you can both enjoy and an outlet to burn off some energy. Being off their leash, a dog can develop confidence and independence by getting to explore more and make good choices when they are outside. This helps to build a trusting bond between you and your dog that benefits you both. Physical activity is essential to prevent your dog from developing health problems and staying healthy. Off-leash training is an excellent way to help keep your dog physically active and healthy.
Off Leash Risks
Whilst there are many benefits to training your dog properly off their leash it is important to understand all the risks and follow posted leash law signs and rules. It is impossible to guarantee the safety of your dog off leash. The unexpected chance that something might catch them off guard or frighten them is always a risk. However, the risks associated with a dog being off leash will be greatly reduced through a combination of training and management of your dog.
Begin your off-leash training in a small, controlled area in order to practice your commands. Start off in a quiet area that’s familiar and free from distractions, such as your kitchen or living room. When your dog responds consistently to your requests inside the house, move to a small, enclosed area and then a larger enclosed area. This allows your dog to be comfortable off their leash and gives you the peace of mind that they can’t go anywhere or harm anyone. As long as your dog is safe and has the room to move it is the perfect place to begin. Try to limit the number of distractions to enable your dog to focus on what you are trying to teach them.
Try Using A Long Leash
When walking your dog in larger parks and pathways, begin to introduce a longer leash to allow your dog a little more freedom to explore yet allowing you to maintain control. This allows you to see how close your dog tends to walk beside you naturally and lets you establish where they need to be in case you need to give them a command.
It can be difficult to train and trust your dog when they are off their leash. However consistency over time will allow your dog to understand what you are trying to achieve. Repetition is key to reinforcing the idea that it is rewarding for your dog to return to you. By taking a break for a week from training, your dog may have forgotten what you have taught them previously and will cause confusion to their routine.People can grow frustrated when their dog just isn’t getting it, however you need to be patient.
No matter how you encourage your dog, basic communication is key to a successful off-leash experience. Be consistent with your commands and responses and enforce positive praise to let your dog know they are doing a good job. Keep a stash of small treats to reward them with when they successfully return to you off their lead. This will reinforce your training with them. With consistent, persistent training your dog can enjoy a level of freedom that is both fun and safe.
Related Blog: How To Train Your Dog Successfully