There’s no denying that teaching your puppy how to walk with a leash is essential. As experts from My Sweet Puppy say, “It’s important for your pup to be obedient while leash walking, especially when you’re taking them around the neighborhood. An unruly dog lunging or pulling can cause a lot of problems with other dogs in the area. Not to mention, some dogs like to run and can get lost in their surroundings.”
After your puppy has mastered leash walking, it’s time for the next step – letting it off the lead. That way, your pup will, for example, be able to burn out the excess energy without you slowing it down. To help you and other dog owners who want to let their puppy off the lead, we created this 5-step guide. Follow it, and you’ll be able to go on lead-free walks with your furry friend in no time.
So, without any further ado, let’s just jump right into it.
Step 1: Start the Process In a Quiet, Enclosed Area
The first thing you want to do is getting your puppy used to not being on a leash. To do that, you should let it off the leash in a small, enclosed area – preferably your backyard, as it is already used to it. However, if you do not have a back garden, you can ask one of your friends or relatives to use theirs or go to a small, enclosed area in the park that is usually not visited.
When you are there, practice calling your dog’s name and getting it to come back to you. You have to keep in mind that it may be difficult at first, as many things, such as noises and smells, will probably distract it. Apart from getting your dog back to you, you can also practice getting it to sit once it returns to you so it will be attentive and still when with you. You can try using treats to get it to come to you.
Step 2: Take It on Walks with Loud Noises and Other Dogs
As we already mentioned – before your puppy gets used to coming to you after you call it, it will get distracted by many things. That’s why you should be taking it on plenty of walks so that it can get used to people, other dogs, and loud noises.
Once you are on the walk, call its name constantly, and try getting it to pay attention to you by using treats and commands (e.g., sit).
Step 3: Let It Off in an Enclosed Area with Other Dogs
Once your puppy is used to not being on a leash and being let off on its own, you can, again, let it off in a small, enclosed area, but this time with other dogs around. Many training facilities have secure areas where dogs can play with each other. However, if you’re not sure that it’s a good idea, you can always let your puppy run around your backyard with your friends’ dogs.
It doesn’t really matter which option you’ll choose – what matters is that your puppy gets used to socializing with other dogs while being let off the lead.
Step 4: Practice Recalling Your Puppy in an Enclosed Area with Other Dogs Around
While this might be the most challenging step, it needs to be taken. This way, you’ll teach your dog that it’s okay to play with other dogs, but as soon as you call it, it has to come back to you. Use treats whenever possible. After a while, your puppy will start listening to you.
If your puppy will be too busy playing with other dogs and won’t listen to your command, let it tire itself out first and then try again.
Step 5: Let It off on a Walk
Once your puppy has learned to react to your voice and listens to you when you give it simple commands, you can let it off the lead. If you’re still a bit skeptical, you can try letting it off on a quiet enclosed walk, such as a fenced-off pathway.
Remember that if you feel that you should put its lead back on, do it immediately – don’t wait until the last moment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Now you know all about letting your puppy off the lead – remember, practice is the key – practice with your puppy as much as you can, and soon you’ll be able to go on a walk with it without a lead on all the time.
With that being said, we have reached the end of our short guide. The only thing that we can say to you at this point is good luck!