There is a delight in watching a dog run around happy and free! Dogs love to run and stretch their muscles to full capacity, and it is as equally as exhilarating when you call your dog back, and they obey. However, a dog does not naturally understand commands and must be taught. Today Specialized K9 Services is going to answer a question that we were recently asked, “What is off-leash training?”
What is off-leash training?
Off-leash training is teaching your dog to respond and obey commands when they are not in your control via a leash.
Benefits of Off-Leash Training
We understand you may be hesitant to let your dog off its leash, but there are benefits to doing so. But always make sure that when you do let them off that you are doing so in a safe space.
The number one benefit of letting your dog off-leash is that they get better exercise. Dogs are naturally curious and love to run and play. Given the opportunity, they will exercise themselves. For example, if your dog is free and running back and forth to check in with you, which they should be doing if appropriately trained, they will get twice as much exercise as if they are just running alongside you.
When your dog is off-leash, they also gain confidence in themselves and in you. They learn to explore, interact naturally with other dogs, and when they make good choices, they receive praise from you.
On another note, there will be times that your dog will be off-leash, and the training that you instill in them will be very beneficial. Even if your dog is indoors most of the time there could be an instant when a door is left open, and your dog runs outside. If you have trained your canine to respond to commands this will not be an issue. But how do we begin to prepare our furry friends to listen to us?
How to begin off-leash training a dog?
Even though our dogs are loyal to us they still crave the stimulation of other experiences because they are social. The first step in teaching your dog to be free from their leash is to establish that you are their “home base” and that base is by your side.
Teaching them home base is by your side is to reward them and make it fun when they return to you. When your pet runs back to you shower them with your undivided attention and praise. Ultimately your dog wants to please you, and there is no better way to show them you are pleased than to reward them with praise.
Also, start your training with simple commands. You need to remember that your dog has been used to physical cues for a while. Naturally, when we walk our dogs, we tend to pull back on the leash to get them to slow down or stop. When you begin off-leash training, your dog must transition from physically feeling our cues to verbal ones.
Begin with the commands heel, stay, and come and then build up to more complex ones such as leave it. Remember to be patient when your pet is learning and practice in a safe area such as a fenced-in yard or use a long leash in the beginning.
Know the Risks
Nevertheless, keep in mind that there are risks when it comes to letting your dog off their leash no matter how careful you are. When your dog is running free you cannot fully guarantee their safety, but that does not mean you should not give it a try. With persistent training, you and your dog can both enjoy a safe level of freedom that is fun.
If you are interested in learning more about off-leash training or want help with teaching your pet contact us at Specialized K9 Services. We work with all kinds of ages and breeds, and our mission is to help you and your pet bond with one another!