Help! How to Train Your Dog to Walk Without a Leash (3 Easy Ways)

Who would not want to see their dogs running freely, enjoying and romping? But for that, you need to train your dog to walk without a leash!

Isn’t it the most delightful and purest thing to watch?

But before you can see that beautiful site you need to make a lot of efforts to train your dog to heel without a leash.

An off-leash dog needs extra attention and dog training because a dog who is not properly trained and left off-leash can even risk his life.

Which is why we are here for you.

In this article, I have shared 3 easy ways you can train your dog to walk without a leash and a safety guide that will help you to train him some commands which will come in very handy in crisis situations.

Let’s begin, shall we?

how to train your dog to walk without a leash

3 Ways to Train Your Dog to Walk Without a Leash – A Quick Start!

Before you start to train your dog to heel without a leash, let me tell that, you will have to be very cautious.

Because you might be thinking that once you train your dog, your job’s done, and you can relax. But let me tell you, that is not going to be the case.

You will always have to be wide awake because the environment and our surrounding is unsure. There can be another animal or pet that might scare your dog. Or a car may suddenly cross the road while your dog is roaming free.

But before you ask me that then why train our dog to walk without a leash, let me give you the reason. You need to train your dog to be off-leash because dogs are much happier when they can freely roam and run. Also, we might sometimes forget to close our gate and if we have not trained our dog to be off-leash at all, then that can be a little scary!

So, before wasting much of your time, let’s dive into the 3 ways to train your dog to walk without a leash.

Learn More: Do You Know, How to Make a Dog Leash Out of Climbing Rope? Get All Information Here.

1. The “Watch Me” Technique

The “Watch Me” technique will help the dog to focus on their pet parents. It is very important that an off-leash dog continuously or at regular intervals focuses on their pet parents. It is because shouting any command will make no sense unless he is focused on you.

So, before you head on to teach your dog to heel without off-leash, you will have to train him in this technique. In order to train your dog with this technique, you need to follow the below steps.

off leash dog training

1. Take a treat that your dog loves and will respond very enthusiastically to that treat. For most dogs, a small bite of microwaved hot dog works perfectly fine. But this is not correct for all dogs, so you must know your dog’s favorite.

2. Once, you have selected the treat for your dog, start by walking a loosely tied leash with your canine. Call your dog by his name and take the treat towards your dog’s nose. Let him smell the tasty treat for a second.

3. Now, say the “Watch Me” command and bring your canine’s favorite treat close to your eyes. As you do so, make sure your dog focuses on your face and if he does that, reward him with a treat.

4. To mark this dog behavior, you may say “Yes”, while you give him a treat.

5. Repeat this during each of your training sessions unless your dog maintains and gives perfect eye contact every time you give him the “Watch Me” command.

6. Start the dog training at a closer distance and increase the distance gradually. You need to make sure that your dog even obeys the command when he is far away from you. Because, once you train your dog to walk without a leash, he might not always be close to you. Just remember that you carry out this training while in motion.

2. The “Recall” Game

There are so many games that you can try and play, to train your dog to walk without a leash. For instance, “Find Me”, “Play Time”, “Dinner-Dinner”, “Dog in the middle”, and “Get it”.

The idea behind these games is to give your dog a positive recall to come to you when you say the command.

My favorite recall game from all these above ones is “Find Me” Game!

train your dog to walk without leash

This is the same game that we loved playing during our childhood. Now, we are going to use this game to train our dog to walk without leash.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Ask your dog to stay at one particular spot and then go to another room in your house and hide there. Now, call your canine and ask him to find you. You can use any command such as ‘Find Me’, ‘Spot Me’ or simply ‘Come’.

Do not hide very far, otherwise, your dog won’t be able to hear you and the trick will not work. Once, your dog finds you, show him that you are happy and reward him.

Continue doing so to really make your dog understand and get hold of the command. Once your canine learns the command you can use it whenever you are with him outside.

You can use the command to make sure that your dog comes immediately to you when you call him.

Note: You can also read about how to make a paracord dog leash using cobra stitch. Learn to make a paracord dog leash by yourself here.

3. The “Lure” Method

This is a very common technique pet parents uses to get any task done from their boys. Dog loves treat and pet parents bribe their dogs to make them obey their commands. To train your dog to walk off leash, you need to follow 6 easy steps.

lure your dog to train him off leash

So, let’s start with those steps, without wasting any time.

1. Start by taking a fully stacked treat bag. And before you begin, make sure that you give your dog some time to work off some of his energy, get his business done and snuffle around a little.

2. Start walking slowly and take a treat in your hand, continue walking and show the treat to your canine and call him towards you. Once, your dog starts following you, give him the treat, but do not stop walking. Continue the walk while giving your canine his treat.

3. Once your dog finishes the treat observe him and if he stops walking besides you and heads back, give him another treat. When you do so, he will know that he has to walk along with you in the same direction.

4. Now when your dog has started checking in for his favorite treat at regular intervals, try and increase the duration of treat rewards.

5. Now is the time to add commands to the entire process and stop giving your dog treats very often. Increase your demands and give him treat when he follows a specific command.

If you wish, you can start this training with a leash on your dog and then repeat the entire process and train your dog to walk without a leash.

Read More: How to Teach a Puppy to Walk on a Leash | How to Train an Older Dog to Walk on a Leash

The Safety Guide to Train Your Dog to Walk Without a Leash

No matter how efficient or advanced training you give to your dog to be off-leash, there are always some chances of risk. It is always advisable to be around your dog when he is off-leash. Leaving your dog alone can be quite dangerous as he might run towards other dogs or humans.

Before you leave your dog off leash, you need to train your dog for at least two behaviors that I have explained below. These two behaviors will add to your canine’s safety when he is off leash.

The “Down” Technique:

The “Down” technique is a must when your dog is off leash. Suppose you left the main gate open by mistake, and your dog just ran to your neighbor’s house. And when you see that he is wandering at the neighbors, you will go to bring him back. But before you go and bring him, he sees you and is all ready to run towards you.

However, you see that there is a car coming from the side of the road. What do you do? How do you save your dog’s life?

This is when the “Down” technique will come handy.

train your dog the down technique

But the one thing you need to make sure while teaching him this technique is that you will have to teach this technique in two ways. One with voice and the other with your hand action.

Now, you might want to ask, why teach a single technique in two ways? Right?

Okay, let me solve your mystery.

This is because, you can use the voice command when your dog is at a closer distance. But, if your dog is at a far distance, where he won’t be able to hear your voice, in that case you will have to use actions to command your dog.

For voice, you can simply use the word “Down” to ask your dog to sit down and stop running. Whereas, for action command, you will have to move your hand in an up-down motion, such that your dog can understand that you are asking him to sit down.

Not that difficult, it is like any other command or behavior that you teach your dog. With practice even this will come naturally to your dog.

In case of emergencies, as I explained above, you can use this technique and ask your dog to sit down wherever he is. Once, he sits down, and the road is clear, you go to him and bring him back safely.

However, one very important thing that you need to take care of while training your dog this technique is that you will have to get an immediate response for this command. The moment you give your dog this command, he should sit down within seconds.

So, while you are training your canine, shape immediate and quick responses. Reward him every time he gives your quick response to the command. Begin the dog training at a closer distance, then slowly increase the distance. Keep your pup highly motivated and reward him so that he follows your command every time.

The “Leave It” Technique:

Yes, I know your dog loves other dogs and enjoys meeting new people a lot.

train your dog

The situation might become difficult to handle when your dog is off leash. Thus, you should train your dog the “Leave It” technique. Your off leash dog needs to be trained the “Leave it” technique around people, dogs, food and other pets or animal.

The technique will be helpful, if you see your dog eating leftovers from the garbage bin or if he goes to another dog or pet while you are enjoying some fun time in the dog park. If your cute-little pup loves meeting every new person that passes by your house, you will need to take a lot of help from this technique.

If your dog loves rolling in the dog park or in smelly things, then you can use this “Leave It” technique so that you can save yourself and your dog from giving him a bath later on.

Training your dog the “Leave It” technique will need thorough attention and practice. So, be ready for it before you put your dog off leash in open grounds and spaces.

Read More: Ways to Hold a Dog Leash | Stop Dog from Pulling on a Leash | Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash Beside You

FAQs

How long does it take to train your dog to walk without a leash?

Training your sweet canine to go off leash is a slow process. As a pet parent, you should not rush the process or skip any steps while you are training your dog to walk without leash.

Some dogs are quick learners whereas some are slow learners. However, it does not mean that training a slow learner will be a difficult or back-breaking job.

If you have a dog who learns new things very speedily, then your sweet obedient canine will learn to walk without a leash in just 7 to 10 days of training. On the contrary, if you have a dog who takes more time to learn new things, you might have to train him for 16 to 20 days.

Training includes several steps, and it is most crucial to make sure that you have not skipped or forgot any of these steps.

How do I train my off leash dog not to run away?

If you have a dog who takes off as soon as he is off leash, you need to be exceptionally careful with him.

Never leave your dog off-leash in an open area, if you feel that he will start running anywhere instantly after you take off his leash.

Dogs have the tendency to develop habits through repeated actions and behaviors. Meaning, if you do not stop your dog from doing a certain activity, which in this case is running, that action will become intrinsic.

Start the training in an enclosed space or a small area say your living room. Then, move to larger and open spaces as you feel that your dog is learning not to run away when he is off leash.

How do I train my off leash dog to come when called?

Training your dog to come to their owner when called is not as difficult as you might think. You just have to follow a few tips to train your dog.

The first tip is to never rebuke your canine once they come to you after being called. Also, you need to be sure that you use a consistent signal or a whine. Give your four-legged friend treats every time he comes to you when called so that he maintains a powerful recall.

Once he starts coming to you, make sure that you do not immediately take for an activity that he does not like, say, bathing or cutting their nails. This will disturb the strong recall that your dog created when you gave him tasty treats.

When you keep these tips in mind, you will be able to train your off-leash dog to come to you when called.

How do I train my off leash dog to walk beside me?

There is a set of steps included to train your dog to walk beside you even if he is off-leash. However, the core technique of getting any task done from your dog remains the same. I am talking about luring him with rewards and treats.

You can lure your dog for doing almost any task around the globe by giving him his favorite treats.

If you want your off leash dog to walk besides you, you need to call your dog’s name, and then click your fingers or say ‘Yes’ as soon as he is besides you. After that, give him a reward. This way, he will be able to create a good recall whenever you click your fingers or say ‘yes’. After doing this for a few times, now instead of calling him besides you, try pointing to your side and let your dog come to you.

If he willingly comes beside you, reward him with his favorite treat.

Why does my off leash dog ignore me when I call him?

Dogs love their freedom, and when you put them off-leash, he will be distracted more than you think. This is the main reason why your dog might ignore you.

There are two main reasons for your dog ignoring you. The first one is that, your shouting and words are just a noise to your dog. Dogs communicate more with actions instead of words. So, try using some actions instead of shouting his name to call him.

The second one is that, dogs learn through repetitive behaviors. So, if he gets rewarded for certain action, he will repeat it and if he is punished for another action, he will not dog. So, reward your dog once he listens to your command and when he ignores you, you need to guide and command him to stop the behavior.

Final Words

So, yes! That’s all from my side for this article.

I hope, you found this article on how to train your dog to walk without a leash helpful! Make sure you start the training indoors first before you take your dog in an open-unguarded space.

Also, do not rush during the training. Take it slowly and let your dog have his time and space to understand and process all the information. Try to keep the entire training exhilarating and fun, so your dog makes an extra effort to understand all your commands!

Happy Off Leash training to you and your dog!

Also Read:

  1. Get a Stubborn Dog to Walk On a Leash
  2. What Do You Do If An Off-leash Dog Approaches You While You Are Walking a Dog?
  3. The Least Effective Method To Retrieve A Dog That Has Got Off-Leash
  4. How to Make a Dog Leash?

References:

  1. Training for Off-Leash Walking – Modern Dog Magazine
  2. Dog Obedience: Training Tips for Dog Club Members – Purdue University
  3. Should You Microchip Your Dog? – Cesars Way