Winnipeg is blessed to have a lot of really great off leash spaces for dogs. But the problem for most new pet parents is gaining the courage to start going to them! It’s true though, the idea of having your pup run off can be terrifying.

The best way to start training your dog to walk off leash is to use a really long leash and practice their recall with treats. This means running around in different directions, calling them to come and then giving them huge praise with treats every time they come.

running dog


They key here is to use lots of excitement and praise. Get low to the ground with arms open and really welcome
them to come running to you. Throw a small party when they come. Most puppies simply can’t resist this excitement. …And treats.

Starting off in your backyard and then slowly graduating to larger open areas, or when the dog park is empty. It’s important to be able to identify that your dog is learning their name, or that they respond to the word “treat”, or whichever phrase you are training them to respond to you.

After a while, when you think they’re ready, you can test them by letting the leash drag behind them as they walk in the park. There are a few times when I’ve had to step on the leash or yell to ask someone nearby to help. (Most other puppy parents are happy to help.)

Eventually. after you’ve built enough trust with each other, and you know your dog well enough, it’s time to remove the leash. It’s very important that you still keep the treats with you and continue to practice the recall and reward cycle. I would let my dog run ahead a little bit, start playing with another dog, and then I’d interrupt his state by practicing the recall & reward. 9 times out of 10, treats are more interesting than playing around or sniffing a random tree stump, so this is a good way to train them to listen to you.


The real secret to perfecting this training comes after you think your dog has mastered the off leash walk. Constant practice, and always staying alert to potential distractions that may catch your dog’s interest. Don’t be afraid to let them play and have fun in the park, but every once and awhile practice the recall and reward cycle.

Many of our clients and friends can be found at the great off leash parks in Winnipeg, so you shouldn’t be afraid to come out and give it a try. And if you think you might need a little extra help with this, or maybe you’re looking for some more advanced techniques for dog training in Winnipeg, Feel free to reach out and contact us.

More information on our training classes and instructors can be found on More information on our training classes and instructors can be found on our Training Academy page here

Stay Pawsh!

7 replies
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