7 Ways to Train Your Dog to Walk Off the Leash
Walking your dog out without their leash is often quite challenging, mainly because of a variety of distractions such as vehicles on the road, squirrels, and more. It requires meticulous training and building a strong relationship based on trust and respect with your dog to make them learn to walk without the help of the leash.
Problems and Proofing Behaviour for Off-Leash Dog Training
Off-leash dog training requires a thorough understanding of your dog’s behaviour. As they become more comfortable and well-behaved off the leash, you can work your way up to training them in more challenging environments. It is important to ensure your dog knows to follow your instructions in all situations despite any distractions. Remember to keep them on the leash in crowded areas or around traffic, regardless of the leash laws in the neighbourhood.
In addition to this, do not become too trusting of your dog or push their limits. Be sure to pay attention to their body language to identify any signs indicating that things may go wrong. Doing this will help you understand your dog’s behaviour well.
According to expert dog trainers, here are some tendencies that may put a dog at risk for danger when they are off the leash:
- Car Chasers: can be hit by cars or cause an accident by running behind a vehicle.
- Squirrel Chasers: often chase other small animals such as cats and rabbits.
- Noise-Phobic: dogs are typically afraid of fireworks, thunder, a car backfiring, and any sudden, loud sounds, provoking them to run out of fright.
- Hyperactive or Reactive: dogs either get too excited or show aggression when other animals are near and can get into fights with them.
- Wanderlust: pups mostly want to explore and may run away, completely ignoring your instructions and actions.
How to Train Your Dog to Walk Off Leash?
Here are seven helpful ways to train your dog to walk off the lead and help them develop good off-leash behaviour:
- Checking Your Attitude
You must understand that dogs have a curious nature which makes it difficult for them to focus and follow your commands. Be patient and think of ways to get their attention and teach them to heed your instructions properly when off leash.
- Establish Good Behaviour
It is essential to ensure that your dog listens to your commands promptly and follows them. Teach your pup what the desired behaviour is. You could also add distractions to see if they still follow your instructions correctly. The following are three reasons they may not come to you even after repeated lessons:
- They don’t understand the command – You may have to go back and start over from the beginning to help your pup.
- They don’t care – It could be due to a lack of motivation in which case your dog might find other activities such as chasing a squirrel or playing with a toy to be more interesting.
- They are afraid of you – This could be an indication that you are too harsh on your dog. You must try to be gentler and loving towards them.
- Practice Often
Practice is the key here. Have daily training sessions to teach your dog the desired behaviour when walking without their leash. You can also make it fun by including the lessons in their regular playtime. The safest way to teach your dog is to practice at a dog park or other fenced place.
- Rewarding Your Dog
It is one of the most effective ways to train your dog to walk without their lead. Use your dog’s favourite treats to motivate them. Also, praise them in order to let them know that you are happy with their behaviour.
- Teaching Them the Common Commands
Sit, stand, stop, down, no, yes, come, drop it, and over here are a few of the basic commands that your dog must know and learn to obey. It will help you with training your dog to walk without your lead.
- Balancing the Frequency of Rewarding
Rewarding your dog often will help you gain and keep their attention focused. However, if you keep giving them treats frequently, they may lose interest which is why it is important to strike a balance here.
- Additional Assistance
If you have had a difficult time training your dog and seem to have gotten nowhere with making them learn good off leash behaviour, you could consider working with an experienced dog trainer such as Alpha Paws.
Other Things to Keep in Mind During Off-Leash Dog Training
Teaching Them to Stay Close
It is essential to teach your dog the importance of staying close to you. Using praise and treats can help you achieve this. If your pup stays close and you can trust them to obey recall commands, you can be worry-free when they are off the leash.
In addition to staying close to you when off the leash, your dog should also learn to pay attention to you despite any distractions. Teaching them to look at you anytime a distraction comes along is an excellent way to train them.
If your dog is crossing in front of you or lagging during your walks, look for the reasons and act accordingly. Don’t forget to reward them for keeping up with you.
Walks in the Neighbourhood
During your neighbourhood walks, use the same techniques you practiced previously with them so they can manage new distractions such as friendly strangers, squirrels, and other dogs. Be sure to use the appropriate commands to help them understand what they should do.
Teaching your dog to heel is helpful for short periods when you need them to pay attention to you, especially when walking past any distractions. Practice at home and reward them for listening to your commands correctly.
Walk More Frequently
Off-leash dog training is more effective when you practice regularly. Frequent walks with your dog will remind them about proper leash manners and help strengthen your bond with them.
We Have an Effective Off Leash Training Program for Dogs
Alpha Paws is a well-known name as far as dog training is concerned. Our experts are skilled at training a puppy to walk off leash and can help your pup obey commands when roaming freely and develop good walking skills without your lead. For more details about our dog training program, feel free to call us at 1-877-868-5248 (PAWS) to talk to our experts.