Dogs love to run, roam, play, and explore the world. The leash restricts them in doing that. But letting your dog 100 off leash can be dangerous. It can pose risks to your dog, other dogs, and sometimes, it is viewed as disrespectful act to your community. Unless you are in an enclosed area, it might not be recommended to let your dog off leash.
And even then, without some off leash k9 training, your dog should not be off-leash. Only properly trained dog in basic obedience, and one that behaves well and calmly, should earn the privilege of off leash life.
Remember, being off leash is an earned privilege, not a given right. Today, we will talk about how to get there with some dog obedience training.
Why should your dog be off-leash?
Should my dog go without a leash? That is a question many dog owners have. Well, the main reason why you let it off leash is freedom. It is a wonderful concept in the canine world. Your dog can now sniff, which is the most exciting and stimulating thing to do, without the restraint of a leash.
They can meet new friends, chase squirrels, and enjoy freedom. Yes, freedom is fun, running around provides your dog with mental stimulation and physical exercise, but should you let it be?
All dogs need to be trained so they can respond to you when they are 100 off leash. The trick is to allow your dog to run free while also keeping him safe.
How do we train dogs to snap off the freedom when we call them? Read on to find out more about behavior modification.
Always consider the risks
Before you let your puppy and pet go roam off leash, consider a number of risk factors. They may jeopardize the safety of your puppy and others around you.
Many cities and towns have leash laws in place. They are there to keep everyone safe. You might get fines and citations.
Also, remember, there are is no 100% reliability and 100 obedience. At best, any responsible dog owner will tell you, around 80% reliability is a success. That is a well behaved dog. All puppies can get distracted. And if your dog gets distracted or something triggers his anxiety, problems may arise. With basic advanced obedience, you can get a reliable dog.
Last, but not least, some people are afraid of dogs. No matter if you have a small dog or large dog, people have their anxieties. Yes, you have a calm and well-mannered dog. But always remember people might be afraid of puppies. Letting your dog off-leash might seem rude and annoy some people.
Why Teach Off Leash instead of On Leash?
When you read this, I am sure you said how can I let my dog off-leash if I don’t know if he will come back first?
Well, who said you need to let your dog off-leash in the park with millions of distractions?
You can easily teach advanced off leash obedience before on leash life. Otherwise, you are developing a crunch in the leash and putting it on you and your dog. You will have a hard time getting out of it.
The leash represents a safety net, and not many people have and develop the confidence to let go the dog after they get accustomed to the leash life. If you ask pro trainers, they will tell you the same, the leash can sometimes become a hurdle we do not try to cross.
But you can easily do off leash puppy training at home. Start in your living room, then move to the garden, and then call some people as distractions in the garden. Then, invite a friendly dog to join you for a play session.
Then go to a park with fence. Dog training with leash in your hand has a higher risk of developing bad habits and bad behavior in your dog.
Without a leash, you cannot rely on it to keep your dog close. Instead, you have to work tirelessly to make sure your dog wants to be close to you and achieve amazing obedience.
Off Leash Exercise to try at home
When it comes to off leash training, I said you can do some in home training. But how to do it? We know the answer to where, no let’s talk about how. There are many games you can play at home and do some training. Today, I will give you three examples for doing some off leash k9 training at home.
This exercise, training technique, and game will help you teach your dog to stay close to you and look for you. Start with the dog close to you, but nothing happens. Then, you have to give the dog a reason to sit next to you.
The easiest way to do it is trail walking. But you have to set the criteria. How close do you want your dog to be next to you?
You have to understand the idea of distance. If your dog goes farther away from the distance you want, turn away and walk off. The trick is for your pet to learn that he follows you, not that you follow him. It is easier to do this on a trial, or at home.
Whatever distance you set, stick to it. If it is safe area, you might not even need to call him, the dog will come alone, but keep an eye on him. If your dog is behind, speed up. Strive for the best dog obedience training results.
Waking off leash
You cannot teach a dog to walk on a leash if he doesn’t want to be next to you. You might get bad behavior problems like pulling on a leash. So, with this game, we will try to give your dog a reason to be close to you.
Put food in the left hand, and take one step in any direction, forward, backward, or right. Then, turn 90/180 degrees in any direction and say heel. Do it 100 times and your dog will eat his dinner, and learn that heel means when you are standing still, he has to be close to you.
Teach it while standing first, and then move a bit. For this to work, you have to hand feed your dog. It is easier when your dog loves eating kibble and knows it comes from you.
Last, but not least, you have to practice the concept of the dog looking at you, its responsible dog owner and pet parent. You can call it “watch me” or look.
Start by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose, and then slowly bring it between your eyes. Your dog should watch the treat and be staring at you. Mark this behavior, praise, and give the treat.
Repeat, but give reward from your other hand. Then repeat with an empty hand, but reward your dog when it establishes an eye contact.
Then, add a verbal cue and hand signal. When the dog is following the cues, you achieved what you want. Now, you can add distance, distractions, and increase the level of difficulty so that your dog reacts.
Ideally, you want to add the name cue. So, when you say the name of your dog, it will stop everything and look at you for guidance. What Commands Your Dog Needs to Know for Off Leash Life?
In order to get off leash life and off leash privilege, your dog should know a couple of basic commands. Otherwise, it is not safe for him or others around.
Once that you establish a solid foundation of basic obedience training at home, you can practice some commands. Only when your dog masters these commands, you can give him off leash freedom in an open area. You can practice the commands in an enclosed area with your dog on a loose leash.
Here are the commands:
- Reliable recall
- Reliable emergency recall
- Leave it
- Look at me
I like to share some final thought with you. First and foremost, you have to add value to staying close. And you have to make things fun. There are many fun things your dog can do when you give them freedom. But your puppy should learn it is highly valuable to stay close to you. This is where good things happen.
Keep challenging your dog. Practice puppy training commands with your dog off-leash in an enclosed area. And gradually add more distractions. Only by doing so you can see dog obedience training results.
And if you want to better understand the leash k9 training system, you can always check some dog training videos with a leash k9 trainer. Remember, I am not a professional trainer, but my experience has helped me achieve amazing obedience with Milo. And I want to share it with you.
If your dog fails at something, go a step back. It is best that you practice certain training technique in an open area that is quiet and calm in the beginning.