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 out if they could! And one thing our dogs love more than a normal walk is walking 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 letting your dog walk off their lead:

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!

Try An Extendable Lead

Teaching your dog to walk off lead is, of course, a form of training, and you don't want your dog to be running wild. So, why not try an extendable lead to begin with?

These are just generally great for dog walkers, but also come in handy for training your dog to walk to heel off lead.

The key here is to extend the lead slowly over time, with the hope that your dog will stay close by. Start with a short lead and, when they're happily walking by your side, gradually extend it. If they stay by your side, you're doing good!

Make sure you reward them when they do well, and they'll soon be trained.

Training Really 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!

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, so give them time to flourish.

The hard work will be worth it in the end!

Here at Tailster we have a network of approved dog walkers and sitters across the UK. If you're looking for someone to walk your dog when you're simply too busy, click here for more information on our full service.