Romping around without a leash – this is a lot of fun for most dogs. However, you need to be careful, because even a small distraction can cause the dog to dash off and you lose sight of him. You can read here how your dog stays alert and which games you can use to upgrade the outdoor area without a leash.
As soon as the leash is off, most dogs run straight away. Because of this, many dogs pull and urge to be let go. You can avoid this by giving the dog some rest about half a minute before you unleash. The dog is only allowed to start when you hear your “ahead” signal.
Most dogs want to start right away. © stock.adobe.com/yolya_ilyasova
The whistle is very popular with many dog owners because it makes a clear sound that the dog can easily hear from a distance. The whistle is particularly popular for calling back when the dog is on the go without a leash.
With a little practice, you can use the whistle to convey other signals to your dog. A short whistle can mean “come”, a long one maybe “seat”, the double whistle “sit” or “stay”.
In order for the dog to correctly link the whistle, always whistle immediately after the word or hand signal. Practice each signal individually to avoid confusion.
The whistle is popular. © stock.adobe.com/highwaystarz
So that your dog does not run away at the first distraction and you can no longer call it up, you must always watch it and be attentive when it is walking without a leash.
You can tell early on from these body signals that your dog is interested in something and may be about to move away from you:
Now draw your dog’s attention to you so that he doesn’t run away. You can do this with things that your dog particularly likes, such as a sausage or his favorite toy.
This dog has discovered something. © stock.adobe.com/shymar27
The free run offers to test whether your dog has actually internalized the signals it has learned, or whether it links them to a situation (training) or a place (dog place, garden).
Draw your dog’s attention to you when he walks off the leash and shout “sit down” or “sit down”. If he reacts, he has internalized the signals.
If the dog reacts at a distance, the signal is right. © stock.adobe.com/Christian Müller
If the dog rages freely across the meadow, there are small games. For example, you can hide and have your dog look for it. Shout or whistle to tip your dog.
Games are not only fun, they can also strengthen the bond. In this way, young dogs learn that they must never lose sight of their humans. Even for adult dogs, games can enhance walking without a leash.
Games add value to the freewheel. © stock.adobe.com/disq
Many dogs have learned that if you go for a walk without a leash you will be called whenever game is in sight or when it goes home. The dog is of course less happy to come back to the call.
It can help if you keep calling your dog to you when you are out and about. Rejoice that he has come back and, upon your signal, let him roam free again.
Reward the dog when he comes back. © stock.adobe.com/Kzenon
If you want your dog to really let off steam when walking without a leash, you can practice the “rum” signal with him. With hand gestures and the signal “Rummmm” you lead the dog first around a tree, later around a bench and, if it does so quickly, around a barn or a small pond.
If you keep your dog free running, this has two advantages: Your dog has a lot of fun walking off a leash and you can always keep an eye on your four-legged friend.