This article offers some tips on when to let a puppy off lead. You would think that it’s best to have your puppy off lead straight away, but of course it’s always a bit more complex than that.
Outside the House and Garden wait until after Vaccinations
Of course you can have your puppy off lead in your own garden straight away – provided that your garden is safe and enclosed and no other dogs go in it.
It is advised that you DO NOT take your puppy outside of your garden or let your pup off lead outside until he is completely vaccinated and his immune system has sufficiently developed.
Work on his Recall Training
You will need to work on recall training with your new puppy. It will be easy as he will have a strong tendency to follow you anyway. But always reward him with a tasty treat or piece of chicken when he comes back when called – he will quickly learn that this is what he is supposed to do.
Don’t let him Off-Lead outside until he has mastered it!
It is advised that you do NOT let your pup roam the neighbourhood until he has developed a strong recall [he will come back when called]. This especially applies when out on lead, as he could chance upon a local dog and get into fights. This is especially relevant when on lead in public areas.
Puppies need constant care and attention when they’re young so be prepared to keep him close to you.
When you first let your pup roam unrestrained in a public park or field, make sure you keep him close and at heel until you are confident that he won’t run off after other dogs, people or distractions. Make sure you watch for any signs of discomfort on his face or in his behavior – these can be signs of over-excitement and if not addressed may lead to a serious situation.
Consider where you let your puppy off lead
It’s worth noting that once your pup is off the lead it will be difficult for you to enforce proper control, as he could run off or get into fights with other dogs in the area. It is therefore advised that if you are not prepared to follow your puppy around then you should leave him on lead and opt for a secure run instead.
Be aware that you should only let your puppy off lead in an area where it is safe for him to roam and always remain vigilant, as pups are not known for their good judgement! You will need to keep a close eye on him at all times and be prepared to get hold of the lead if he looks like he’s going to stray off the path.
Once you let a puppy off the lead it is difficult to get him back on again. You need to be confident that he will come back when called, so make sure you practice this at home until your pup responds consistently before you venture out in public areas, such as the park.
Do get him used to the Lead Early!
If you are expecting your pup to remain on lead from time to time then it’s worth getting him accustomed to a harness because this will allow you more freedom of movement and makes walking easier.
How far off lead should your puppy be?
How far off lead should a puppy be? It really depends on the individual pup. A lot depends on how well he responds to recall commands and if he seems distracted or interested by other dogs/humans etc during his training sessions. Also look for signs that your pup is becoming bored in your home environment, as this can indicate that he needs more freedom.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Will my Patterdale ever go off Lead?