Dogs love being able to run free without restraint. They are built to love exercise and running, as well as social interaction with humans and other dogs and animals. There are various places that you can let your dog off the lead (designated dog friendly off-lead), such as public parks, beaches, and dog parks.
When raising a dog, letting your dog off the lead can be a big feat. However, it is worth noting that some dogs do not do well with other dogs, and might become aggressive, so if you are worried about aggression with your dog or aggression from other dogs in the area it might be best to keep your dog on the lead.
It is best to take small steps into letting your dog off the lead. This is not only training for your dog, but boosts trust between dog and owner so that your dog will listen more. When working on basic training such as sitting and staying, it is best to keep your dog on a lead when in public spaces.
Letting Dog Off the Lead
When you’re first letting your dog off the lead, you should do so in a small, enclosed and quiet area. Make sure that it is an area that they know, as they might be too curious or exploratory in a new place. Letting the dog off their lead in a familiar enclosed area will help them start to get used to being off their lead on their own, without distractions.
It might be good to try to get your dog to come back when you call him or her. To do this, use treats, positive remarks, and their favourite toys. They will be trained to come when called in no time, without distraction.
If you want to take it a bit further, get them to sit or hold still each time they come back to you. This encourages them to hold still in situations you might need them to, as well as acknowledge that you are still in charge when the lead is off.
Make sure that while you’re training your dog to be off their lead you are taking them on multiple walks and socializing them with other dogs. This will give you lots of chances to call their name and get their attention, practicing calling back.
If your dog feels comfortable with it, try to get them to sit while other dogs play or move around them. This will train them to pay attention to you over the other dogs and distractions when he or she is off the lead.
Once they are used to being on the lead around other dogs as well as being off the lead on their own in an enclosed space, the next thing to do is letting the dog off the lead with other dogs around. This can be done in a dog park or on a trail.
After letting the dog off the lead and allowing them to become adjusted to the other dogs, it is best to practice commands. Call your dog with treats, say their name, and carry their favorite toy so that they can establish trust with you without distraction of the other dogs.
Once your dog is used to recognizing your voice, it is time to let them off the lead during a walk without distractions and make sure that they are listening to you and aren’t getting confused. If you feel like they aren’t listening, make sure to put them on the lead immediately so that they don’t run away or get injured.
Make sure that you are only letting your dog off his or her lead in certain designated areas, as some dogs aren’t friendly to others. It is important to protect you dog in all situations, and if you are letting them off their lead in places that you aren’t allowed to, they might get injured by the aggressive dogs.
If you are in an area that has lots of wildlife, you should be weary of your dog chasing deer or rabbits. This is common in breeds such as jack russells, labradors, and springer spaniels. Make sure that you are keeping track of the places you’re in so that you know if your dog is going to be tempted to ignore your command and run.
It can be harder to train dogs to be off leash if they are susceptible to chasing after other animals, or are trained to hunt. Natural instinct can be hard to train out of a dog. It might also be hard to allow them off lead at all if they can’t handle other animals.
So finally, can I walk my dog off the lead? Of course, you can but its best to build up to that point instead of jumping in the deep end!