The issue of how to train your dog to walk off leash is a pretty interesting one. We say this because dogs are pretty instinctual and sometimes their instincts could override their training. So, training your dog to walk off leash could be pretty risky.
However, who says all risks are bad. Life is full of risks and we have to take some of them to enjoy life. So, let us help you train your dog to behave even when they are not leashed.
How Do You Train Your Dog To Walk Off A Leash?
You can follow the following steps to train your dog to walk off a leash:
- Start the training with a longer leash.
- Incorporate the training into your dog’s everyday life.
- Give positive reinforcements.
- Take care of distractions.
Now, let’s explain:
Start With A Longer Leash
Yea, we know you are trying to teach your dog to behave without being leashed but like with every other habit, it is important that you do not just do a clean break.
You have to start with what the person (or in this case, dog) is used to and slowly wean them off such.
So with your dog, start training them with a really long leash (say between 10 and 20 inches) in a really large yard. You want to make sure that your dog has more than enough room to roam.
Now, when you have your dog on a short leash, you instinctively pull on it in addition to giving them a command when you need them to do something.
As a result, your dog will find it difficult to remember the training when there is no contact between you two.
With the really long leash, the instinctive pulling will not affect your dog. So, you could train them to run within a defined area and come when you need them to, all while being in control of the situation.
Incorporate The Training Into Your Dog’s Everyday Life
While you might have a specific time for your off-the-leash training, incorporating the training into your everyday lives makes it so that your dog is used to these things.
Your dog should be off-the-leash while at home, right? So, why not use that opportunity to teach them to teach them boundaries, respond to you when you call and stop when you say so?
You want to start the training indoors and only move to training outdoors when your dog has mastered the great indoors.
If you are a seasoned dog owner, you must have learnt that punishments are not the way to go with dogs. Negative reinforcements only make them either really aggressive or really anxious.
On the other hand, positive reinforcements are a good way of telling your dog that what they are doing is the right thing. So, think of those things that your dog really enjoys like toys and treats because you’ll need them.
Now, you want to use these toys and treats as a reward and not a lure; there is a difference. If you are using these things as a lure, you are basically dangling them in front of your dog expecting them to come and get the lure.
The lure method doesn’t teach your dog to do what you ask; it only feeds their instinct of going after what they want above everything else.
On the other hand, the reward system teaches them that there is a reward for good behavior.
So, you do not tangle the treat or toy in front of them; instead you encourage them to do what you want them to do and give them a reward when they comply. With time, they’ll get the message.
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Taking Care Of Distractions
Of course you cannot get rid of every distraction. However, teaching your dog to ignore distractions is important if you are going to have a successful off-leash experience.
To do this, you have to be aware of what poses a distraction to your dog. And if you have a puppy, it could really be anything.
When you are sure you’ve identified them all (or as many as you can), you can start to train them to come when you call them when they are faced with those distractions.
Now, instead of bombarding them, what you want to do is train them one distraction at a time. That’s not all, you want to train them to avoid these distractions in different settings.
That is, you’ll be training them to avoid one distraction in different settings and do the same with all the distractions.
To better understand all we’ve been saying, watch this dog trainer take the beginning steps to training his dog off leash.
How To Train Your Dog To Walk Off Leash — FAQs
Should I Let My Dog Walk In Front Of Me?
Well, if your dog is properly trained and you figure it can take care of itself, there shouldn’t be any issue with your dog walking in front of you.
Sometimes, they do it out of curiosity to check things out and at other times (especially if you’re on a hike or on a terrain they consider dangerous) they do it to ensure the path is safe.
However, if your dog is small or hasn’t been properly trained to come when you call, you shouldn’t allow your dog walk in front of you, as it would be more difficult to call it back.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Dog Off Leash?
Even if the training is done every day, it could still take weeks for your dog to be ready to walk off-leash. This is largely dependent on how many distractions you have to work on.
It is also dependent on how quickly your dog takes to corrections. Some will learn faster than others. So, you’ll need patience.
Can All Dogs Be Trained Off Leash?
Eventually, all dogs can be trained to walk off leash, regardless of the dog’s temperament. It will, however, take some dogs less time to take to the training than others.
Do Dogs Get Bored Walking The Same Route?
Dogs can certainly get bored of walking the same route every single day. Some of them might even begin to whine every time they have to go on a walk.
The thing is, dogs are really curious animals and like to explore things. If they have to walk the same path over and over again, the wonder will be taken out of it. So, consider changing up routes every now and then.
That said, are usually more slowed down and not as curious. So, they might be more OK with walking the same route.
Is It Better To Walk A Dog Before Or After Food?
Both walking your dog before food and walking your dog after food have their benefits and downsides.
If you walk your before eating, it allows him rest after eating instead of trying to immediately expend energy. Just like humans, dogs tend to feel lethargic after eating and might just want to rest.
However, if you decide to walk your dog after a meal, it would be easier for you to schedule bathroom breaks for during your walks. That said, if you decide to walk your dog after a meal, be sure to wait 2 hours before the walk to avoid any digestive issues.
Is It OK Not To Walk Your Dog Everyday?
It is actually not OK to not walk your dog everyday, unless it is getting its exercise in some other way.
The reason everyone seems to be all about walking your dog is because it seems to be the most convenient way of allowing your dog get in its exercise and expend energy.
So, if you’re not doing that and your dog is not getting any form of exercise, you risk your dog’s health.