OFF-LEASH TRAINING for dogs.
The main purpose of obedience training is to get your dog to think. Diversity is the purposeful breaking up of patterns while actively looking for them. Make sure you use all of your abilities equally. Three times every week, switch practice venues. Find new surroundings when you become tired of them.
Provide orders with your back to your dog (use a mirror to see whether praise or reprimand is required); deliver commands while sitting in a chair; use just hand signals; give commands on the other side of a glass door. This is a chance for you to get inventive with your exercise.
During position-holding exercises, adjust your body posture (kneel down or bend over); modify your pace speed as you travel around your dog, and momentarily drop and take up the leash.
In your obedience practice routine, always incorporate both basic and advanced activities. Keep track of all exercises, including four-step heels and tempo adjustments, as well as application and desensitization exercises. All of them should be practiced, with a focus on essential position-holding and distraction-training tasks.
The foundation you establish throughout basic obedience training is the key to off-leash success. Consistency in reinforcing patterns and orders, distraction-training distance directives, and basic respect for your connection are those essentials.
The last piece of the jigsaw is the dog’s maturity when combined with the other factors.
Remember that maturity does not come quickly.
You should be physically near to your dog for most of your basic obedience command teaching and reinforcement (usually within six feet). Increase the distance from which your dog responds to your orders as you begin the off-leash procedure.
Practice your distance commands (front SITS and DOWNS) on a six-foot leash at that distance and perfect them. With the leash in your hand, no corrections, no distractions, your dog should be able to perform this discipline-building command set from all angles around her.
Gradually move away from the dog, reinforcing orders using the same vocal pattern NO the first time and re-commanding if required. Increase the distance by two feet at a time. If your dog is consistently failing, reduce the distance by two or four feet and practice on the instructions from all sides.
You must approach your dog with the same confidence you would in a normal session while conducting off-leash training activities; otherwise, he will detect the difference and play on your weak leadership depiction.
Off-Leash Training Indoors
Drop your leash at a distance of merely two feet using your distance-command exercise. Work through this exercise in the same manner as previously, staying close to your dog. If your dog disobeys an order and has to be corrected, reach in carefully, take the leash, and say “NO.” Because your dog will notice a difference now that the leash is no longer in your hand, returning to six feet and reinforcing the same manner will help her “connect the dots.”
Only increase the distance if your dog is doing well and does not need correction. If your dog does not finish the order after approximately ten feet, pronounce the word “NO” without the correction first, then repeat the command. If you’ve followed the rules so far, the word “NO” should suffice as the “correction.”
If your dog still doesn’t respond after one attempt at “NO” alone, reach in gently and offer a reinforcing correction. Continue to use this recipe until you are at least twenty feet away from your dog and he is dependable.
Off-leash training is a kind of “back-and-forth” training.
Before you can go ahead, you may need to travel backward to lesser distances. Prepare to do so, since your off-leash success will be determined by your foundation. Any inconsistencies in your behavior will be seen by your dog, so be cautious and patient!
Put your dog on a thirty-foot leash and do distance-command exercises outside. Begin at a distance of six feet and work your way up to twenty to thirty feet. Use your long leash in the same way you would a short one, correcting your dog as required and keeping at a safe distance.
When you’re far away, take caution not to make your dog hypersensitive to your approach. You don’t want your dog to believe she receives a reprimand every time you approach her. Add methods that reward her with food or tactile praise as you approach and reach for her to prevent this.
Test your dog’s ability to maintain positions at 20 and 30 feet. To keep your dog safe, keep the leash in your grasp. Experiment with different degrees of distraction in this activity.
When is it OK to let go of the leash? Each dog is unique. When it is safe for your dog to be off-leash, you will know without a doubt. You may be rushing things and need to go backward in order to go ahead if your dog makes multiple blunders when you remove the leash. Off-leash training requires patience, fairness, and consistency, as well as your dog’s maturity, respect, and the strength of your bond with him.
Move on to practice your motion commands (HEEL, motion SIT, motion DOWN, motion COME) with the leash dropped after you’ve mastered your front instructions. Before you take the leash off, do this for a few weeks, maybe even a month.
Off-leash training your dog is a gradual process. It’s not as easy as untying the leash. On-leash, you must first have your dog’s entire attention. True off-leash training eliminates the need for your dog to react to you using the corrective component of the NO. Because the corrective NO pattern has been finished, your dog will reply to the distraction with a stated NO.
The Tab is a short leather strap (about six inches long, similar to a leash) that connects to your dog’s collar in the same way a leash does. This training tab may be used in lieu of your leash. Introduce the training tab by securing it to the collar with the leash and doing a few obedience drills.
When you’re done using the leash, go to the training tab and repeat the same training activities as you would with the leash. Use this training item while you practice, and don’t take it away until you’re sure your dog is following the same instructions without the leash.
Allow your dog to play with or chew on the training tab. If he does, correct him with a NO. You may start when your dog is comfortable with the tab on his collar. Remove the leash but do not remove the tab. Only make corrections using the tab.
Owner confidence is crucial for off-leash training to be successful. Without the leash, an owner may feel a little adrift. Keep your voice patterns the same. Use the same obedience cues you’ve been practicing with the leash.
The purpose of remote device training is to ensure the accurate reaction to verbal orders without having to employ a leash reprimand. Substitution is used to accomplish this notion. You’ll be able to use a remote correction instead of a physical leash correction if you practice and reinforce obedience commands with the corrective NO. Remote-device training will only be a bad experience for your dog if you have not decided to include NO as part of the obedience pattern.