Teaching dogs to be off leash can be pretty hard for a lot of people. I recently finished training Abbey (the pup featured in this video). Her parents told us how calling her to come to them while she was off leash turned from a simple command to a 30 minute wild chase around the backyard (Does this sound familiar?). But after just a few training lessons, Abbey was able to come on command, without any treats or having to warm up for a marathon run :)
One of the ways you can help train your dog to be off leash is by helping them forget the leash itself. Dogs are pretty smart animals! they know when you are holding the leash and when you are not. So we need to get them to focus on us instead of focusing on the leash. So how do we do this? Well, here it is how!
Step 1: Step 1: What You Will Need to Train
To get started on this dog training game, you will need a few things.
- 6' leash: this is a standard leash length. You can get this leash at any pet store, or online. Check out dog.com for some good deals and lot of color and size options. Price? about 3-5 bucks.
- 15 - 20 foot leash: Sometimes called "long line" or "check cord", this is a longer version of the regular leash. I I use a nylon or biothane material one. This leashes will be a little harder to find at a pet store, but are readily available at dog.com or Amazon. Price? about 6 bucks.
Dog Tip: Do NOT use any heavy (chain, thick rope, metal, etc) lines. The heavier the line is, the more noticeable the weight it will be for your dog. If he trains to be on a heavy line, the moment you take that long line off, they will know! and they will run...
Once you have the gear handy, is time for the next step....
Step 2: Step 2: Where to Train Your Dog
You want to start training your dog with the least amount of things they can get distracted by. If you have a puppy or a dog that has lot of energy and expect him to learn while your'e at a dog park, busy store or around other dogs, then you are setting yourself (and your dog) for failure!
Just think - when you first started learning ABC's, your teacher only focused on teaching you that. Teaching your dog to come to you with distractions would be like your teacher wanting you to learn ABC while listening to a speech, memorizing the time tables, all while at a Spanish or French language class. So let's be fair to your dog, and focus on 1 thing only at a time. Once they can do that 1 thing well, then we can add a little extra challenge.
Ideally, the best training place is where your dog is everyday - at home. I start in the living room, with the TV, Radio and all noises away. Starting here also helps in teaching him baby steps: the shorter distance will make it easier for him to come, but also easier for you to guide them to come if they are struggling in learning.
As your dog gets more confident and better at it, you can step to the backyard, then the front yard, then the park, then the dog park, and before you know it you will have a fully off leash trained dog that can listen everywhere!
Now that you have the gear, the perfect set up, is time for the training!
Step 3: Step 3: Off Leash Dog Obedience Trick!
This video was shot during my second session training Abbey, the pup who's story I shared at the intro. While I can write about the step by step by step, this video will show you EXACTLY how I was able to get Abbey to be off leash in just 2 lessons!
The training sessions should be short (10 min max!), fun, and also be real training sessions: you shouldn't be training your dog while posting on Facebook or Snap chatting with your friends. You expect your dog to focus on you, so focus on your dog! it's the fair thing to do :)
Step 4: Step 4: Need More Tips?
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