One of Archer and Kylo’s favorite things to do is run in the woods together, however, having each other to play with means there is greater distraction when off leash.
Both have a very reliable recall when on their own, which is the first place to start. In any situation where you let your dog off leash, even in a fenced in area like a dog park, it is important that you have a reliable response to your recall cue.
Before bringing them to our off leash area together I took several trips with them one at a time, bringing high value treats like chicken, cheese, hot dogs, roast beef, amazing stuff! I starting them on a long line and once they were reliable recalling on the long line I would let them off leash for short periods of time, reinforcing when they checked in with me, or when they responded to my cue. I also practiced leave it to be sure I could interrupt a squirrel chase, if needed!
I stared bringing them together once I was sure I had set them up for success and was willing to bet they would come when called. If you’re not willing to bet $50, your dog isn’t ready!
I am also very aware of my surroundings and check out the area before letting them off leash. I do not have off leash time in an area where other people and dogs may appear, or in areas that are for on leash dogs only. Be respectful of the park rules, and of others who are sharing the park with you.