Walking your dog off leash gives your dog some of the most pleasurable moments of its day. Being off leash even for five or ten minutes allows your dog to satisfy many of its innate needs. In other words, it lets your dog “just be a dog.” Of course, you need to do it in a confined area such as a fenced yard or dog park, or in an open area where your dog cannot run into traffic or get into a dangerous situation with other animals or humans. Also, before you let your dog go, you need to make sure your dog has some basic training.
Benefits Of Training Your Dog To Walk Off Leash
Giving your dog basic obedience training will strengthen the bond between the two of you. This is especially true if you make the training fun by keeping it positive and reward-oriented. Basic training includes recall training, that is, teaching your dog to come to you when you call it. When your dog reliably comes to you when you call, you can begin to teach it to walk off leash.
A dog that is trained to walk off leash has many benefits, including:
Your Off Leash Dog Is Usually More Relaxed
When your dog is walking on the leash, your dog is aware that its movements are restricted. The restriction of the leash heightens your dog’s “fight or flight” instinct. Your dog knows that the leash prevents it from choosing the “flight” option. Thus, when your dog encounters a threatening situation such as another dog or a stranger, your dog will be more inclined to fight because the leash prevents retreat. In your dog’s mind, it has no option but to fight. In fact, many dogs are “leash sensitive,” meaning that their anxiety levels are so high when on the leash that they become fearful and sometimes more aggressive than when they are off leash.
An off leash dog knows it can avoid a scary situation and escape it if needed. As a result, the dog is usually more relaxed when not restricted by the leash.
Your Dog Can Get More Exercise Off Leash
Letting your dog go off leash will give your dog the chance to run and burn off its energy. Dogs are athletes. They need a lot of exercise to keep themselves mentally and physically healthy. This is especially true for high energy dogs. Even if your dog is less energetic, it will burn more energy off leash when it has a larger area to explore. Off leash, your dog will roam around, retrace its steps, and cover more ground than it would on the leash.
Walking Off Leash Lets Your Dog Explore A Little More
The opportunity for your dog to get some mental release by exploring the environment is as important to your dog’s well-being as the physical release it gets from exercise. To your dog, exploring its surroundings feeds its instinct to assess its environment for threats or food. Using its keen sense of smell, your dog informs itself of what other creatures have been in the area, whether another male or female dog is nearby, and so forth. Letting your dog explore off leash gives it more freedom to feed this instinctive need than it can get on the leash.
Dogs Usually Listen Better Once Trained Off Leash
The basic training necessary for safe off leash walking spills over into many facets of your dog’s behavior. Your dog will trust you and understand the commands you use in a variety of scenarios. This comes from your commitment and consistency in good training. When you and your dog are advanced enough in your training to walk off leash, you will find that your dog will be more responsive to your voice. You will also be prepared with treats and toys as needed to regain your dog’s attention when something inevitably distracts it.
Another reason your dog listens better is because you have given it ample opportunity to burn off energy by exercising and exploring its surroundings. After your dog has been able to “take the edge off,” it will be able to better focus on you and be ready to respond to your direction.
Dogs Tend To Want To Stay Close To Their Owner
Dogs by nature are pack animals. You are part of your dog’s pack, and if you’ve done your training properly, your dog views you as the leader of its pack. Your dog’s survival instinct encourages it to stay with the pack, close to the pack leader. In your dog’s thinking, separation from the pack invites danger, while keeping up with the pack and the pack leader means safety, security, and food.
You can use that knowledge to trust that your dog probably will not venture very far from you when off leash. Even if your dog chases a squirrel, it will likely return to you once the chase is over. If you work with a professional trainer to help you with off leash training, you will learn how to minimize the likelihood that your dog will chase after something and what to do if and when it happens.
Contact The Dog Walking Experts At Paw Pals For Help
Get help with your dog walking and training from the professionals at Paw Pals. They are experts in walking dogs and understand how to help owners achieve their off leash training goals. Contact them today for more information about their dog walking services.