How Do I Train My Dog to Follow Me Without a Leash?

Dogs love to run around play and explore their environment with the limitation of a leash. However, letting your untrained dog roam free without a leash is not only disrespectful to your community; it’s also dangerous for him.

It is recommended that you always ensure your dog has a strap except in enclosed areas such as your home or the compound.

It is everyone’s dream to take a walk with their dog without them being tethered to a leash. Even the most stubborn dogs can be molded into obedient and good walking buddies with constant training.

Before you let your dog off-leash, you must ensure it is well trained to always listen to your voice and stay right by your side.

If your dog has never shown any signs of aggression and it has good health with minimum prey drive, you can trust it to stay off-leash in certain situations. However, below is the step by step training of what you need do before you go off-leash with your dog.

Getting a collar and a leash

Take a collar and secure it around your dog’s neck and fasten a leash to the collar. You should always start your training with a strap to keep your dog under control and enhance his self-confidence. It is advisable to use a flat clasp collar and a flat smooth 6-foot training leash.

Avoid choking collars and chains as they might be dangerous when incorrectly used. Training your dog to walk off-leash requires you to establish a strong training foundation with them on-leash.

Training on the obedience command

Teach your dog to focus on your face by giving them a ‘look at me’ command. This will help you keep your dog’s attention by teaching him to look at you and focus on your eyes.

You can start by calling his name then hold a treat near his nose and slowly bring it to your eyes. The moment the dog looks up and focuses on your eyes give him the treat.

Ensure that during this training, you find a treat that your dog responds to enthusiastically. Frequently repeat this command to the dog during training sessions until you notice that he maintains eye contact with you after every command.

The ‘sit’ command

This step requires you to stand with your dog and raise a treat over the dog’s head then give him the ‘sit’ command. Give him praises and reward him with the treat when he sits.

Make sure he is always focused on you. As training goes on, withhold treats to shape how he sits and how he holds his position. Ensure his hind legs are firmly placed on the ground, and his eyes are firmly focused on your face

Repeat the concentration exercise

Take your dog outside, give him the ‘walk’ command, let him walk close by your side, and hold a treat on your hand. Let him smell the treat but do not give it to him. Please slow down and stop then tell him to sit.

Praise and reward him when he sits and holds the position. Keep practicing and repeat the commands until your dog can maintain a perfect pace and position whenever he is walking with you.

Make sure he is following all the controls you are giving him and start letting him sit on his own without the command. Also, ensure that he is mentally sharp when he is walking with you, and he is concentrating on you. If he doesn’t, he cannot go off-leash.

Repeat commands without a leash

Remove your dog’s leash, give him the ‘look at me’ command once he looks at you give him the ‘Walk’ command in a neutral voice, and start walking forward. Always have a treat in your hand to lure him to follow you.

Stroll till he maintains a slow walk and stop and reward him for that. Give him a ‘sit’ command and reward him for sitting. Frequently visit a local dog park and practice the leash commands off-leash. Once you remove the leash, observe his behavior, and determine if he is ready to go off-leash.

Repeat until perfected

All the steps you did when the dog had a leash repeat them off-leash until he executes the commands.

Even when you get to the point where the dog is walking and obeying you off-leash always walk with a leash on you when you go you. Be aware of leash laws in your state or country and always strive to apply these laws.

Tips to consider when contemplating going off-leash

Getting your dog off-leash requires more than just your dog’s obedience. It requires you to

  1. If you go off-leash the most significant danger you will face if a dog fight between your dog and another dog, learn how to break up the fight without getting yourself injured in the process.
  2. Always ensure that you have updated the ID information on your dog in case your dog gets lost or runs off on you. ID tags and microchips will be your best chance of bringing your dog back home safely.
  3. Ensure you react calmly when your dog runs off during the training and call him back confidently as he will not respond to you if you are screaming and shouting at them.
  4. Do not run after your dog; it will encourage them to run further and faster. This might be dangerous, especially if it’s on the streets.
  5. Always keep on practicing in public and do not go too far from your home. Always ensure you have treats in your hands and let your dog associate the park with positive vibes.
  6. Make your dog comfortable with being around you, play with him offer him treats, and work on establishing is trust in you. This will come a long way into making you two a team. Your dog will not listen to you if they are scared or afraid of you.

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