Off-leash can be an amazing tool to let your dog run, sniff, play and experience the outdoors in their doggy ways. However, it is our experience that one of the fastest ways to lose any respect that your dog may have for you is to let them off-leash before they are ready. This is why we work on different Off-Leash Activities as well as Long Leash Activities in order to use Off-Leash to BUILD the respect we have with your dog, not LOSE it.
Off-leash Activities, What are they?
First and foremost, we want to maintain a relatively calm environment when working on Off-Leash Activities. In addition to teaching the dogs how to socialize with each other in a calm manner, it ensures that they don't get too ramped up such that they lose focus of the handler.
Instead of unclipping your dog's leash and letting them be free for the whole of the off-leash time, we actively work on:
- Practicing and building recall
- Building attentiveness through asking for eye contact when called
- Practicing and building Off-Leash Heeling skills. Off-Leash heeling is when the dog stays in a heeling position when off-leash
- Building Permissions so that your dog clearly knows when it is "Free Time" versus "Working Time".
Long Leash Activities, What are they?
If we don't believe that your dog is ready to be completely Off-Leash, or we want to work on something particular with your dog, we will use a Long Leash. A Long Leash is one that could be anywhere from 10ft to 50ft (or more). We generally use a 30ft length with our pack.
Using a Long Leash can help us:
- Reinforce Recall. We use the Long Leash to gently draw your dog back in when recalled if they do not come back on their own
- Building Attentiveness using direction changes. If your dog is focused on going one way, or focused on one thing, we can call them to follow us in a different direction and use the Long Leash to follow through on the action.
- Used to teach Off-Leash Heeling. We will use the Long Leash as "training wheels" of sorts to teach Off-Leash Heeling. The long leash enables us to reinforce the behaviour or re-position your dog if they get distracted.
The Long Leash is a vital tool in helping us work with each dog to build their Off-Leash skills no matter where they are starting out.