Surviving the Off-Leash Experience

Surviving the Off-Leash Experience

Taking your dog off leash for the first time in a new environment can be very stressful for both dog and handler.  However, once you overcome the initial stress and fear of what may happen, running around off-leash can be awesome!  Here are some tips for the crucial first 5 minutes of an off-leash romp.

  • Start heeling your dog from the very second that you get out of the car.  Mentally dialing in your dog before you take him/her off-leash will help get your dog focused.
  • Make sure that you have fairly taught your dog a solid recall and that it has been proofed in a controlled area with low distractions before you put your dog in any form of danger.
  • Consider having your dog drag a long line around so you can assist him/her if they need it. Remember, properly utilizing the leash is an important step in the transition from on-leash recall to off-leash recall.
  • Once you get to the dog park or hiking area, take your dog off-leash and do a short recall (about 6′).  Release them and do another recall at a bit of a longer distance (10″).  Repeat and add distance in each time.  This is important because you don’t want your first communication with your dog to be when he is 100′ away from you running towards the street.
  • All dogs have their limitations and some dogs do not belong off-leash.  Be sure to not put your dog, or any other dogs, in a situation that where they are going to fail.
  • If you are an Unleashed Unlimited dog training client, attend one of our upcoming Off-Leash Transitional Classes to help bridge the gap to off-leash work.
  • If you are not a current client, consider contacting Austin Dog Trainer to help you and your dog with the skills and confidence to enjoy some of the great trails and dog parks in Austin.


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