We all know how important regular walks are for our dogs. It's their main source of exercise, and a great way to calm them down when they simply won't stop (we've all had that feeling, right?!)
Our dogs love going for walks. They'd spend the whole day running about if they could! One of the best things you can do for them to ensure they are is walking your dog off the lead.
It's something that most dog owners aspire to, but it's something that you've got to get right. Before you let your dog off their lead, you have to be sure that they're safe, and aren't going to end up getting lost.
Here's our guide to walking your dog off the lead.
#1 Find the right place
The first step in training your dog to walk off lead is to find a suitable area to practice. This is vital, or you could be putting your dog at risk.
It's a good idea to check out a few local areas and get your bearings before you take your dog with you. You want an area with as few hazards as possible - so, somewhere open but fairly quiet is ideal.
Timing is also important. You don't want to be trying to control your dog in a busy park on a Saturday afternoon - it just won't work! The distractions will be too much for your dog to concentrate on you.
#2 Recall, recall, recall!
The key to a well trained dog off the lead, is perfect recall. If you can't guarantee your dog will come back to you when called then you are not ready to allow this level of freedom. You could be putting your dog at risk from potentially aggressive dogs, traffic or other dangerous situations. If you need help with teaching your dog recall, read our guide here.
#3 Training is everything
We've said it a hundred times and we'll say it again - training your dog this way takes time, and you have to be consistent.
Don't just encourage them when you're out. Bring the training into the home, and encourage them to walk to heel around the house.
Obviously, it's important that you're aware that they're behind you, and that you don't trip over and shout at them. You don't want to discourage them when they're doing so well!
#4 Slowly but surely
Training can be a long process, and it's important that you're both patient and realistic.
Build them up slowly and regularly, and make sure that you give constant rewards and encouragement. Training is a great way of bonding, and your dog will want to impress you. Make sure you give them time to flourish.
The hard work will be worth it in the end when you are successfully walking your dog off the lead. Your dog will thank you, trust us!
Work, family and social commitments mean that there often aren't enough hours in the day to give our pets the attention that they deserve. Click here to find out how Tailster can put you in contact with hundreds of pet carers in your local area, meaning that you can rest in the knowledge that your pets are being well looked after.