Dogs are curious explorers that love running with freedom. They can chase a squirrel, possibly meet a new friend, or steal a treat from a cute stranger. Besides being free and fun, running around provides dogs with physical and mental exercise that keeps them happy and healthy. The trick is to support our dog’s freedom while keeping them safe. So how do we train them to behave when we cut what we call a leash?
However, some dogs love to run free more than any other; all dogs should respond when off-leash. So even if the dog is more like your shadow than the one loving adventure of their own, there will always be occasions when the dog might be outdoors off-leash. Something can startle your dog or get their attention, so here are a few tips on training the dog to behave when off-leash.
How Do I reinforce The Training?
Including off-leash training into normal daily activities will reinforce the learning and make the command more routine for the dog when moving unfettered. In addition, it will help prepare the dog for more adventures. For example, call the dog to you as you do the laundry or make the bed for extra practice. Get a walk in the backyard then, summon him frequently for no specific reason. The dog will learn to heed the call as a part of the routine.
His response may get increased if he receives a reward for his immediate attention. The reward could be as simple as a friendly pat on his head while saying, “good dog!” Or you may offer a tasty treat or a beloved toy. Just be careful not to build a dependence on treats as his motivation for nice behavior.
No matter how much you encourage the dog to heed commands, simple communication is the key to strong off-leash experiences. These are some commands that every off-leash dog must acknowledge:
- Leave it. If the dog moves towards something they should avoid, like smelly garbage or a mud puddle, the command will save you both the bother of a shower.
- Come or Heel. The dog must readily return to the common starting point
- Down. Usually, a dog can appear to be aggressive to an individual. The “down” command will make him seem less like that and will keep everyone safe.
- Stay. If the danger is between you and the dog, your dog must stay put. For example, if your dog is going to cross a street and there are cars around. This command could be a lifesaver.
Avoid Food Lures
Positive training and the use of a prize marker, such as a clicker or the word, are essential tools for training off-leash. Prize markers let the dog know that he got it accurately and the prize is arriving, even when he’s 30, 40, or more feet away. When you appropriately reward a dog for his work, he will quickly learn to listen and answer off-leash.
Make the rewards equal the difficulty of an exercise. To put it another way, make the response worthwhile. Make the rewards equal the difficulty of an exercise. Yet, you mustn’t rely on a lure, like toys or a noticeable food supply, when accomplishing off-leash training. Your dog should listen without you showing the dog you have a reward.
What Are The Risks?
Even having the best training, there’s no way to assure the safety of your off-leash dog. Despite the best efforts, he may still wander in the way of danger. The responsibility is on you to determine where and when his off-leash experiences can take place. With persistent, consistent training, the dog may enjoy a level of freedom that will be both fun and safe. Freedom is good, but only when it is entirely safe.
There is nothing quite as exhilarating and beautiful as watching the dogs take off in an open field – the long, powerful strides, muscles shining as they race each other by the tall grass. Off-leash training will help you and the dog achieve it! The lovely wild dogs, uninhibited by fence or leash.