Do you dream of taking your dog out on walks without a leash, but you don't know how to set up this training? Unleashing your dog on a walk requires a real letting go. It also requires a certain amount of confidence in your dog, but also in the relationship you are developing with him. Here are the steps to follow to walk your dog without a leash and with confidence!
Step 1 : A learning process to start early to walk your dog without a leash !
If you want to let go of your dog during your walks, it is recommended to start this exercise as soon as possible from the age of 8 weeks. Indeed, at this age a puppy will necessarily remain close to his master. On the other hand, if you start this learning process later, your dog may drift further away because he will have been frustrated for several months before.
Step 2: Your dog must be sufficiently exercised
Another important element is to give your dog enough exercise. All dogs, even those with a large garden, should be walked for at least 30 minutes a day. Some breeds obviously need more. In any case, if your dog is not walked enough, he will have too much energy and this will have a direct influence on his ability to concentrate and therefore to listen to you.
Step 3: Walking your dog on a leash while working on natural tracking
In order to work on the off-leash walk, you must teach your dog to follow you without you having to talk to him.
So, in order to work on this exercise here is how to proceed:
1- Go to a place with very little stimulation.
2- Let your dog go or put a 10 meters long lanyard attached to the harness.
3- As soon as your dog overtakes you: turn around without talking to him.
4- If your dog continues to move forward without paying attention to you, don't hesitate to hide in order to create a "small positive stress" and allow him to understand that if he doesn't pay attention to you, he risks losing you. The dog being a gregarious animal, his need to stay with his group to be safe will then manifest itself.
5- Repeat this exercise and change direction each time your dog is too far away from you and above all, never talk to him!
Step 4: Work on recall
In order to work on recall, it is necessary to proceed in stages. Start in a low-stimulation environment and increase the difficulty according to your dog's success in this exercise.
Finally, it is necessary to always be in an inviting posture, i.e. crouching or at least inclined. Remember also to have a high voice and especially to congratulate your dog when he has returned, even if he took his time.
One last piece of advice, don't call your dog back too often in order to keep his motivation and alertness intact.
Step 5: Control the environment and be alert to instincts
Finally, it is essential to control the environment during your walks and anticipate your dog if a stimulation occurs. Don't let your dog stray more than 15 - 20 meters away from you and especially if your dog has a strong hunting instinct, know that you will never be able to go against this behavior, you will only be able to attenuate it by proposing activities related to its instincts.
In conclusion, in order to walk your dog without a leash, it is necessary to start this learning process early, to proceed step by step and especially to remember that the less you talk to your dog during your walks, the more he will listen to you and follow you.