Off-Leash Reliability? Recall? Leash Off Game On!

Your dog focusing on you off-leash, recalling them away from other dogs or even them just choosing to stick close to you can seem so daunting.

All too often, our dogs learn that when the leash comes off… the game is on with everything in the world but us. We teach each of our dogs one vital concept before teaching them anything else - when the leash comes off, we are the best thing in the environment!

This concept became known as Leash Off, Game On. When the leash comes off, our dogs think the game with us is about to start! Now you don’t get this by teaching a “sit, a “down” in fact you don’t get it by teaching any behavior. As the name suggests, you achieve this by playing GAMES!

Now, we put our heads together and figured out what the ten biggest games to teach this concept were for us, filmed them and stuck them on a DVD that we just couldn’t not share with the world. This DVD is free, you just cover the postage and if you are wanting to grab one of those, you can find out more here:

In the meantime, this game is one we start with - from our brand new pups to our students’ dogs requiring an off-leash reliability top-up. It’s called the Leash Off, Party On Game!

Here’s How to Play!

  1. Start with your dog on leash at home or in the garden
  2. While ever your dog is on leash, act really boring
  3. At random points, reach down and unclip the leash
  4. As soon as the leash is unclipped, start the PARTY! This is whatever your dog loves to do with you! It might be chasing their favourite toy. It might be chasing their favourite treat or chew. It might be you acting crazy, doing star jumps, running around in circles, you name it! Whatever it is, now is the time do it!
  5. Finally, reach down and clip the leash back on. Feed a couple of pieces of food so it isn’t a terribly punishing event and go back to being boring.

Concept you are teaching: When the leash comes off, mom/dad come to life and the party is the best place to be!

  1. Play this in all different locations!

Top Tip! While you are teaching this concept and while it isn’t all that strong or safe to let your dog off leash, have your dog on two leash - one is your regular leash, one is a long-line - so that you are building the concept but never letting your dog fully off-leash.

This is just one of the ten puzzle pieces for off-leash reliability and the Leash Off, Game On teaching but wow it’s a powerful one! You can check the rest out here:

If you teach your dog one thing only this year - even in their lifetime - let it be that the best thing in the world is YOU! If you do that, a recall, focus, loose-leash walking, off-leash reliability, in fact, you name it are all side-effects of that one piece of learning.

Go have a party!


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Positively Expert: absoluteDogs

Tom is a veterinarian, clinical behaviourist and companion and sports dog trainer, providing a unique perspective on all things dog.


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