Teaching Your Dog To Be Off Leash

How to train your dog to come to you off leash and walk with you without a leash

See also basic dog training and walking a dog on a leash

walking dog without leashSome people enjoy the freedom of walking their dog off of a leash.

Our dog has always been very attentive to our commands, so he enjoys being let off of his leash in appropriate areas from time to time. 

As a rule, it isn't a good idea to allow your dog to walk off leash in crowded places or areas heavy with car traffic. 

Doing so can be dangerous and just isn't worth the stress.

You may think you know that your dog wouldn’t run into traffic, but you can never be 100% sure of what situations may occur.

Maybe your dog is afraid of cars, but he sees a dog across the street and runs toward it, even though there’s traffic going by. These are the kinds of risks that you take when you walk your dog off leash.

That doesn't mean that you can't teach your dog to walk without a leash and give him that privilege when an appropriate situation arises (like walking on the beach or in a large field.) 

But in order to be a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of the possible situations that can occur when your dog is off leash.

Test your dog before teaching your dog to be off leash

We recommend only allowing your dog off leash in areas that are open and free of life-threatening distractions. That being said, walking off leash is not for every dog. Many dogs will run away if let off of their leashes.

It is a good idea to “test” your dog in large enclosed areas to see how responsive your dog is to your commands and how well he can ignore distractions like other dogs, small animals and other people.

It’s also good to know how your dog responds to unusual additions to his environment like a kite or a person on a bicycle. If your dog ignores these distractions and focuses on you, there’s a better chance that you will have success teaching him to walk without a leash.


Step by Step - Teaching your dog to be off leash

walking dog off leashThere’s no clear method to teach your dog how to walk off leash. Some dogs will naturally stick close to you, while others will enjoy running free on their own.  

We recommend the following tips:

1.       When you let your dog off of his leash and he runs free, call him to Come and treat him.

2.       Do this several times to keep your dog in close proximity to you.

3.       Continue to treat your dog every few minutes so that he sees a benefit in staying near you.

Be two steps ahead of your dog when walking without a leash

Part of walking off leash with your dog is being aware and proactive of situations that might occur. We enjoy taking Lucky on hiking trips with us and we often allow him off leash on hiking trails. When we do this, we have to keep aware of other hikers and dogs that we may cross on the trail. If we hear or see hikers coming our way, we call Lucky and quickly leash him up in case the other hikers are afraid, allergic or just unfriendly towards dogs.

Walking your dog without a leash requires that you remain aware and anticipate situations so you can take precautions and keep unpleasant things from happening to you, your dog and any other people or dogs that you may come across.

Enjoying your pet off leash is wonderful, but you should never be a nuisance to other people and pets who are trying to enjoy their time together. Be sure to leash your pet when he may approach other people or other animals. Being considerate helps everyone who comes into contact with you and your dog.