How Leash Walking Alone Hurts Your Dog's Mental Health


You probably walk your dog every day – maybe even multiple times per day – on a leash to get their exercise. But did you know that many breeds of dogs actually need some free off-leash play time in their schedule as well? And all dogs get greater mental stimulation if you vary their play time including incorporating free roaming.

According to Dr. Marisa Fitzpatrick DVM, “Within the right parameters, dogs can benefit greatly from off leash time. They can explore more freely and sniff around, and it’s great for mental stimulation and training. For some breeds, like hunting dogs, working dogs (Great Pyrenees, Border Collies, etc.), time to roam and explore is helpful to fulfill inherent breed behaviors and needs. These are not breeds to keep cooped up in the house all day!”

She notes "To enable safe off-leash time, your dog must have solid recall and not be reactive to other dogs or people. You also need a safe environment, away from any dangers such as water or wild animals."

Not sure how much exercise your dog needs?

Check out our exercise calculator for suggestions based on breed, age, and fitness level.

Written by: Jennifer Joyce, the President of SpotOn Fence and one of the people entrusted to serve French Bulldogs, Lucy & Henry. She grew up on a farm in Oregon with Golden Retriever, Butch, and black cat, Lucky. Their lifestyle of running free on the farm inspired her to join SpotOn to help more dogs run free off leash. She has over 10 years of pet industry experience for brands such as Kurgo & Embark Vet. She has written about many topics related to incorporating pets into your life, such as hiking, camping, urban exploring, travel safety and international travel.

Related Stories

How Much Exercise Does my Dog Need?How Much Exercise Does my Dog Need?

We know your dog is a member of your family, and like any family member, they need exercise to stay...

Read More
Dog Couch Potato. How much exercise do dogs need?

 Make sure your dog isn't a couch potato by ensuring they get enough exercise. Find out how much....

Read More
4 Items That Will Help to Ensure the Health and Safety of Your Dog4 Items That Will Help to Ensure the Health and Safety of Your Dog

Ensuring the health and safety of your dog is a prime consideration for any dog...

Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published