While the debate as to whether you should walk your dog on or off a leash continues, there are some clear advantages to walking your dog off one. Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, take a look at the benefits you can get from training your dog to walk with you without the leash.
1. Your dog is more relaxed
The biggest advantage to having your dog off leash is your dog is going to be more relaxed on a walk. A leash is restrictive and the dog will know that it is not capable of moving freely. This will mean that in encounters, the dog will feel at a disadvantage, making it less comfortable on a leash as it is more limited in movement. The vast majority of dog bites that happen occur on someone’s property, where a dog is either in the yard or house. The dogs in these occurrences are usually defending what they feel is their property. A dog out in nature, but limited by a leash will have the same reaction.
2. More exercise without the leash
A dog that is allowed to roam freely is more likely to burn out the excess energy that has been built up. This is especially important for a high energy dog or a dog that naturally loves to run. It will save you a lot of extra work to have your dog run freely on its own and the dog will gain more in health benefits as a result, ensuring a long and happy life.
3. Off-leash dogs listen more
Well, this is only true if you are a committed dog owner. In order for your dog to successfully walk off leash, the dog will need to be trained to answer to voice commands and to obey when you ask it to do something. This will carry over into other situations as well, with your dog knowing when to heel and come as you need.
It is important that dogs are adequately trained to be off leash before it is attempted. Once the dog has been trained, you will see a marked improvement in all areas of the dog’s life, not just when the dog is out and about.
4. They can warn of dangers in nature
Having a dog being able to run around will allow the dog to pick up on scents of wildlife that could be in the area. With their bark and their own scent, dogs can easily drive other animals away from you, ensuring a safer walk for you through the woods. If the dog does not scare away the other animals, it can at least warn you of any danger that is lurking around to help you better prepare yourself or warn you to get as far away as possible.
5. Dogs will not stray far on a walk anyway
Contrary to popular belief, dogs that are not restrained by a leash are not going to wander far from their human owners. Sometimes they may pick up a scent that drives them to wander briefly, but generally, they will stay by their people but walk at their own pace. This will mean dogs will typically double back to walk at the same slow speed as their owners since most dogs will run about at a faster speed.
It is perfectly fine if you choose to keep your dog on a leash out on walks, but do not automatically assume that off-leash dogs are presenting any danger towards you or your dog. It is all just a personal preference.
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