Ask any dog and they'll tell you how great it feels to be unleashed! (Off lead that is!)
While it's incredibly rewarding to watch your dog enjoying himself so freely you also need to be aware that there is no way to guarantee their safety off lead. There will always be a chance that their instincts or desires will lead them into the path of danger. There may even be something else that may harm or frighten them; a sudden bang? An unexpected animal?
You can help keep risks to a minimum through training. We believe that a good, strong recall is paramount. Keep reading for some 'unleashed' tips.
In order for this to work, you must know your dog and your dog must also know you. This will work better if your dog likes and trusts you. If your dog doesn’t trust you than you need to spend time working on your relationship before letting your dog off lead in an outside space.
Link your dogs name with positive rewards. Keep their name valuable. While sat at home on your sofa in front of the telly or standing in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil, call your dogs name! Every time you call your dog, reward heavily. Repeat this often and vary your rewards (whether it is a game of tug, fetch or food rewards). The rewards should be high value, cheese, chicken, favourite toy etc. Coming to you should mean the BEST possible thing in the world. You build power in their call name by doing this, it’s association and it’s powerful. If responding to their name being called means that meatballs fall from the sky, well then, WOOP!
Slowly add distractions. Once you have a reliable recall, introduce a long line and go into a field and practice, then try a trail with low activity. Slowly build up to more distractions. If you have your dog off lead in an open/free area before they are ready, and they fail and run away, you are encouraging them to pattern an unsuccessful and potentially dangerous behavior. Don't set them up to fail. Stay in a contained area for as long as you and your dog need. When you move from a contained area to a trail, open space or park, have your dog on a long line, it’s insurance, and it’s cheap.
When you are ready to be off lead, your dog needs your undivided attention. Engage, stay interactive, reward for being in your space. If there are distractions that are over your dogs skill level, put the leash on. Stay successful.
Advanced training takes; time, consistency, and maturity. Don’t be in a hurry to take your dog off lead if you haven’t put the time in. Keep your dog successful, they’re your responsibility.
We're joining Ruckus the Eskie on their Thoughtless Thursday blog hop!