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Ask Bruce: Letting go of the lead

Andrea Hughes, who has recently adopted an eight-month-old mixed breed Romanian rescue dog, explains that although he’s settling in well, she hasn’t let him off the lead yet when out walking as she’s worried he’ll run off. Andrea asks; how do I know when the time is right?

Firstly, congratulations and well done on taking on a rescue dog. It’s always great to give a dog a second chance and it sounds like he’s found a wonderful, loving home.

As with all puppies, it’s best not to let them off the lead until you are familiar with one another, have an established relationship, and know your dog is friendly and social with other people and dogs.

A long training lead is a great place to start with off lead and recall training. This allows your dog to feel as though he’s off the lead while still being safely attached. To establish recall, use dog treats or toys and encourage him to come back to you. Once you’re comfortable this is working, let go of the training lead so it trails behind him and continue the recall exercises. If his recall isn’t 100% the long lead will make it easier to get hold of him. If he continues to shine, you can then let him off the lead.

Good luck!

This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of award-winning Surrey local community magazine Look Local

Read more dog training tips.