The image of a dog running free without a leash might be desirable for owners who wish for their pooches to practice constant obedience. But many areas in the U.S. forbid this activity, and might even penalize pet parents caught in the act.
The Napa Valley Register reported that the city of American Canyon, California, may be implementing a new law that prohibits dogs from being off-leash when with their owners. Its current rules reflect similar stipulations in Napa County, which only require pet parents to have dogs on-leash in city parks. While rural areas may be more appropriate for off-leash activities, it can be dangerous in heavily populated urban environments.
The county’s Animal Control Services department has received roughly 50 dog-related calls in 2014, including 20 for loose dogs in American Canyon alone. There’s one dog park in the city on the east side of Highway 29 near Vallejo, leading to discussions about alternatives for dog owners once the new law is in place. The lack of secondary options could prove troublesome, as pet parents want to have their four-legged friends around other canines.
A proposal for the law is expected to be discussed at the City Council meeting on Oct. 7, 2014. Violators of the rule will be cited and could face a $100 fine.
Training your off-leash dogs
Leashes are smart and safe options for controlling your canine, but letting him run free can be beneficial for both parties. However, there will always be some risks involved with off-leash training. The Whole Dog Journal explained that there’s the chance your pooch’s instincts could take over and lead him toward danger. Sometimes, a dog’s curiosity can get the better of him.
Because of this, it’s important to be thorough when training off-leash dogs. WDJ suggested that owners ditch the leash as early as possible if they want their pooches to succeed. Pet parents often develop physical cues during training, even without noticing it. When they try to make the switch to off-leash, the communication with the dog can fall apart. Starting early gives canines and owners the chance to establish improved cues for roaming freely on a walk in the woods.
As PerfectPaws explained, your dog’s ability to stroll around off-leash is dependent on his or her socialization skills. Owners have to trust that their canines won’t bolt after hearing a loud noise or act aggressively toward another pooch or person. Being unsocialized and skittish can spell disaster for off-leash dogs. The area you live in also has a role to play in allowing your pooch to move around without a long leash attached to his or her collar. Much of the training involves an owner’s willingness to take risks with his or her canine in public areas.
WDJ suggested that the best off-leash training requires a reliable recall, or responding to a “come” command. One of the best methods for this exercise is using treats as rewards for moving toward you. When your canine reaches you, respond with a “Yes,” and toss the treat a short distance away. This encourages your pooch to continually come to you when called. As he or she improves in a low-distraction environment like your living room, you can steadily move to louder and busier areas, such as a dog park, to solidify the off-leash training.
When looking to improve your canine’s obedience, signing up for a PetPlus membership can give you access to countless supplements and supplies that might facilitate training exercises. If you want your pooch to be an off-leash dog, PetPlus is the essential place to find everything you need.