How to Train a Staffy to Walk Off the Lead [5 Steps]

I have heard from many people that claim there’s no better feeling than taking their Staffy for a nice walk together. However, there’s something even more enjoyable, and that’s taking your Staffy for a walk off-lead.

However, do you know how to train a Staffy to walk off the lead? If you don’t and you would like to this article will give you some excellent tips.

Can I let My Staffy Off The Lead?

It’s beneficial for your Staffy to let them off-lead occasionally. Looking at their exercise quality, a little time off lead will do your Staffy a world of good because they burn more energy romping around than they will be walking calmly at your side.

NOTE: This page may contain affiliate links, which means Staffy Dog may receive a small commission for anything purchase via these links, at no cost to you. This keeps our tails wagging.

There’s nothing to say you cannot let your Staffy off lead if you want.

However, allowing a Staffy off-lead poses more problems for you and the dog than it would for other breeds. 

  • As a Staffy owner, you’ll be aware of the sometimes adverse reaction you have to endure from misinformed members of the public. So, no matter how well you have your Staffy trained, pick where you’re going off-lead extra carefully.
  • You should only allow your Staffy off lead in areas where it’s safe to do so and not where you can see signs that prohibit walking dogs off lead (not a Staffy specific rule).
  • Staffies still retain their prey drive to some extent, so they might chase after small animals. 
  • It’s never advisable to let your Staffy go running up to other dogs. Most dog owners don’t appreciate this without adequately introducing the dogs, and some prefer their dogs not to mix with unknown dogs.
  • Walking any dog off lead, not just a Staffy, is something you need to train and prepare your dog for; it’s not something you should entertain on the spur of the moment. 
Toffee (Amstaff) and Runa (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) exploring freely

Here are five tips you can use to help train your Staffy to walk off lead: 

How Do You Train a Staffy to Walk Off the Lead?

If you have a Staffy puppy you want to train to be safe and obedient off lead, you need to wait until they are roughly 12 months old. Younger pups will be more in the thrall of what’s happening around them than listening to you.

1. Teach Basic Staffy Commands

It’s essential to teach your Staffy basic commands, not just for off-lead walking, but to ensure your Staffy will respond correctly at all times.

The basic commands are:

  • Come (Recall)
  • Heel 
  • Leave/Drop
  • Stay
  • Look

Practise makes perfect as far as these commands go. You must be 100% confident your Staffy will not only respond to each of these commands but does so instantly with no hesitation. My advice is don’t let your Staffy off the lead until they have these commands mastered.

2. Practice With A Long Line

I recommend a long line rather than an extendable lead; these are not long enough, and dogs are still aware they are on a lead because there’s pressure on the collar. You allow a long line out as far as you are comfortable, allowing it to hang loose; you pull it in when you need to bring the dog back to you.

3. Designate A Safe Area

As you get more confident in your Staffy’s ability to listen and obey, there will come the time you need to test the dog. Find a suitable area away from other people and dogs where he can go lead-free. Then run through the commands you have taught your Staffy.

4. What To Do If Your Staffy Makes A Run For It

Remain calm, don’t panic because it will not help the situation.

You should always be prepared for this happening and have some of your Staffy’s favorite treats on walks if you intend to go off-lead. If your Staffy is not responding but is still close enough to see treats in your hand, try to entice the dog back. 

If they have already moved too far away to know you have treats, make sure you have the treats in a container that makes plenty of noise when you shake them. Your Staffy might not see the treats, but they can recognise the noise they make.

It’s tempting but don’t chase after your Staffy. They are not the fastest runners on the planet, but they’ll outrun you any day of the week.

I know this is counterintuitive but turn and move away from your Staffy; however, make it seem like a game to grab their attention.

When the dog does return, do not scold your Staffy. Praise them and reward them with a treat.

5. Have Your Contact Details On Your Staffy

If your Staffy runs off and you cannot get the dog back, you must have your up-to-date contact details on the dog’s collar at all times.

Runa doesn’t have a fear of heights!

How to Train a Staffy Recall?

Perfect recall skills are crucial.

Getting your Staffy safely back to you is the most critical part of the training. Practise and practise until the “Come” command is simply second nature and is instant. Reward your Staffy each and every time they get the command correct, even if it takes a long time in the beginning. Your Staffy must understand it’s a good thing when they return to your side when they hear the command “come.”

Final Thoughts

If you practise often enough, every Staffy can learn to walk safely off the lead. It’s so much more fun for both you and your Staffy for off-lead walks and exercise.

Brad Davenport

Brad has spent his entire life surrounded by dogs and has owned all sorts of breeds, including Dachshunds, Great Danes, French Bulldogs and he currently has a little Hasanese called Biscuit. Brad is an experienced dog writer who is obsessed by canine health, care and psychology and has completed several courses on dog care and training.

Top 3 Products for Staffies

Indestructible dog toy
KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
See your dog at night
LEUCHTIE® Plus LED Light Collar for dogs. Ice Blue size 55cm I approx 100 hours battery life I runs on AAA batteries I waterproof and extremely bright
Healthy toy for big chewers
Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Monster Chicken Thigh, Cleans Teeth, Chicken Flavour, XXL, for Dogs Over 23 kg
KONG Jumbler Ball
LEUCHTIE Plus LED Collar
Nylabone Extreme Chew (Chicken Flavour)
Indestructible dog toy
KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
KONG Jumbler Ball
See your dog at night
LEUCHTIE® Plus LED Light Collar for dogs. Ice Blue size 55cm I approx 100 hours battery life I runs on AAA batteries I waterproof and extremely bright
LEUCHTIE Plus LED Collar
Healthy toy for big chewers
Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Monster Chicken Thigh, Cleans Teeth, Chicken Flavour, XXL, for Dogs Over 23 kg
Nylabone Extreme Chew (Chicken Flavour)

Recent Posts