Can Westies Go Off Leash?

By John Martin - November 16, 2023

Westie walking off leash

We all can agree that Westies or West Highland White Terrier dogs are adorable. There is a reason why they are seen in so many movies and TV shows.

But while they are so adorable, you might be wondering if they can be trusted to go off the leash? If they are trained properly, then yes. Let’s have a closer look.

Benefits of Taking Your Westie off the Leash

Westies love chasing around. However, with proper training, it is entirely possible to take them off-leash. Here are some of the benefits of doing so.

  • Your Westie can freely play around. While your pet may play around all day at your home, taking your Westie off-leash outdoors will give them complete freedom to run around.
  • Your Westie will become more confident when off the leash. They will get to explore around and be more curious.
  • Your Westies will burn off all their excess energy while playing around.

How to Walk Your Westie

Research suggests people with dogs walk roughly an extra half hour each week. This makes dog walking a healthy habit for both you and your dog.

However, taking your Westie off-leash can lead to some problems if you don’t supervise. It’s not just unsafe for your dog but for children and other small animals too.

Here are some secrets that will help you walk your Westie the right way.

Be the Leader

If your Westie sees you as its leader, it will do whatever you ask. It is important that your Westie understands that you are the leader of the pack.

Here are a few things you can do to establish this relationship.

  • Look your Westie in the eye, even as it growls.
  • Teach your dog to respect your space.
  • Feed your Westie at proper times, not whenever it asks for it.

These are just the basics. There are many more things you can do to make sure your Westie sees you as its leader.

Begin your relationship with your dog on the right foot and you’ll have no problem making it obey you when off the leash.

Use a Long Leash

Whenever you are outdoors, make sure you are using a long leash to allow your pet more space. This will help them ease into walking without a leash.

Remember that it’s easy for a small dog like Westie to get entangled in long leashes. They may get injured if you are not paying attention.

You can also use retractable leashes for your peace of mind.

Related: How Much Exercise Does a Westie Need?

Make the Leash Your Pet’s Friend

Make your Westie comfortable around a leash. Whenever your dog shows good behavior, use the leash as a reward that your dog can play with.

Make sure you are not overdoing it. Remember to use a leash that is comfortable to wear. If it’s too tight, your Westie won’t like it!

Consistent Practice

They say practice makes a man perfect but it can make a dog perfect too. Begin your practice of walking without a leash in a safe space.

A fenced park near your home is a good place to start. You can see how your dog behaves when there are so many things to get distracted with.

If you are a beginner and don’t have much experience with dogs, you can ask an experienced friend to help you. You can even hire a dog trainer for some help.

Be Prepared

You must always be prepared for the worst-case scenario while walking your dog without a leash.

You might want to scream at your dog when they spot something and chase it away. But that won’t be helpful.

What you should do if your dog runs away:

  • Your dog won’t come back to you if you are angry. Maintain your cool and lure them with love.
  • Use treats to grab their attention. You can rustle a bag of treats to trigger their interest.
  • Don’t run after them. You won’t outrun them. Chances are they will start thinking it’s a game of chase and start running even faster.
  • Pretend that you are turning away. They may come back to you when they think it’s time to go home.

Microchip and ID Tags

Keep the ID information always updated so your Westie may be returned to you if it gets lost. Make sure that you have many photos of your dog in case your dog goes missing.

The Final Woof

It is no secret that owning a dog is good for your health. However, taking care of a Westie is hard work.

These hypoallergenic dogs may be cute and be an important member of your family, but if you don’t properly train them, it will be difficult to walk them without a leash.

With training and supervision, you can take them off-leash soon enough.