Teaching your French Bulldog to walk off leash, a good idea?
It’s very nice to see your Frenchie play with other dogs or just to see him running around happily. But before he can do that, you must first dare to let him walk off leash. When can you start with this and how do you even start something like that?
When can my French Bulldog walk off leash?
As quickly as possible. With a puppy that has just come out of the litter, that is a good moment to start. They are not that fast, so you can easily catch them should something go wrong. Dogs are also the fastest learners when they are young and it is therefore very useful if your Frenchie puppy learns to keep an eye on you immediately.
If your Frenchie is a little older, you first want to gain his confidence so that he comes to you if something strange happens and doesn’t just run away. If you have had your French Bulldog with you at home for a while, then the band you 2 have is usually good and you can start practicing. If the dog is new to you, first let him get used to you and the environment you take him for a walk for a week or two. If you have serious doubts about whether or not your dog will run off, you can first teach him the basics with the tips below.
Tip 1: Pick a suitable location
Pay attention to where you let your Frenchie loose, especially the first time. In any case, it is wise not to just let him go along a regular street when you just started training off leash. For example, your dog may see a cat, another dog, or be frightened by something that might cause him to run onto the road unexpectedly. Pay attention in the summer when it has been hot for a while and you go walk along a river or pond because Frenchies can’t swim, make sure he doesn’t go into the water with his leash off. The first time it is useful to choose a large plain where you will not easily lose sight of him and you can both walk with peace of mind. An area that is fenced or very far from roads and other hazards also works very well.
Tip 2: Make the “Come” command fun
Ultimately, you want your Frenchie to watch you and stay close to you instead of the other way around. One of the ways to achieve this is to reward him if he comes to you by himself. Take a yummy reward with you, these can be his regular treats. If your dog comes to you on its own, you praise him and sometimes give him a reward. By doing this he will often come by himself, because there is a chance that he gets “rewarded”.
In addition, you can call him when he looks at you. If you do this on every walk, your dog will learn that not only the environment but also you (his boss) are fun and interesting. This makes it easier for him to choose to stay close to you.
Tip 3: Playing hide and seek with your dog
Besides that you want your French Bulldog to automatically walk with you, you also want him to keep an eye on you. This way you prevent him from losing you after having played with another dog for example. One of the ways to teach your dog is to play the so-called hide and seek. If he does not pay attention to you for a moment, you hide behind a tree, bush or another object. As soon as he starts looking around you come out and call him if he doesn’t see you immediately. Repeat this and sometimes hide a little longer, but never let your Frenchie search for longer than a few seconds. If he is watching you too closely to be able to hide you have reached your goal.
Another way is simply to continue if he does not automatically come along. Only do this in areas where you can keep an eye on your Frenchie so that he cannot panic and run the wrong way without you realizing it.
Tip 4: Take an emergency solution with you
Sometimes your dog will like another dog so much that he cannot be persuaded to continue the walk in any way. Most people will wait when they see that they suddenly have an extra dog coming along for the walk. If your dog does not respond well to the “come” command, it is useful to take something else with you so you can let him come to you, so that you do not have to run after him in such situations. For example, to let your French Bulldog come to you this kind of situation, you can take his favorite toy with you. In most cases, a squeaky toy or ball works very well.
TIP 5: Jackpot and casinos
Ever been to a Casino and played on the slots? I have 😇. I know in advance that I have lost my money but still, the reason why I keep playing is that I have a chance to win something. This ensures that my expectations on the jackpot remain high. If after a while you have rewarded your dog every time to come back to you when you call him, you will now only give that reward 1 in 4 times, and when you do, you give the WHOLE jackpot. After a while when your dog is off leash, he will come to you even faster to see if he might have won the jackpot.
TIP 6: Timing the ‘come’ command
If your Frenchie is sniffing intensively in the initial phase of the off leash training or he is seriously distracted and you are sure that he will not listen when you call him, do not do it unless you have a long line to guide him. If your Frenchie runs loose and you have nothing to add to the ‘come‘ command, your words have no value and the dog will soon realize that he does not have to listen. Whenever you say the word ‘come’ the dog knows that you are still around and will stay away a little longer. In that case, just walk the other way and he will follow.
Ok with these 6 tips you should be able to let your Frenchie walk off leash within a reasonable time frame.