Off Leash Freedom
Dogs Need Off Leash Freedom & Fences
This week's theme with clients has been young dogs with no fences at home and how we can give them off leash freedom. It creates some challenges for dogs to be able to get outside and burn off energy with running, playing, sniffing, etc.
While, I follow leash laws and want to ensure safety with the best collars, leashes and back-up tabs possible, I don't believe dogs were meant to spend all their time on a leash.
For most young dogs & athletic breeds, a daily walk is not sufficient. It's just not. They need to run, have bursts of the zoomies, explore and then do it all again.
Do you have a neighbor who will let you take the dog over for a play date? A field you can go run in? Find something
You can accomplish a lot with a long line and in the absence of any other opportunities to safely be off leash, a long line is your best option. And I mean like 50 feet! But know that the dog is likely to clothesline themselves a few times -- which can inhibit their willingness to play when they are on a leash.
It all has to be taught.
You can teach boundary training in the same way you would if you had installed an invisible fence. Put up the flags and do the work to teach the boundary.
You have to proof a reliable recall. You have to proof a solid respect of the boundary. And you have to be more fun to be with than what is outside the boundary.
Of course this can be reinforced with an ecollar, where you act at the fence. Or you can get one of those electronic containment systems that sets a perimeter for how far the dog can go -- this can be done in the absence of a costly invisible fence -- and you can take it with you to grandmas!
In all cases it takes training. A lot of it. And supervision. And engagement with you.
But unless you start giving these high energy puppies and breeds an outlet for what they are on this earth to do -- you will continue to struggle behavioral issues. No amount of training, or leash restriction the place of freedom. It just doesn't.
You need to do it. You need to give your dog some freedom to play and zoomie through the back yard without being on a leash and to know that your recall is enough to get him to not go beyond the boundary.