Are Golden Retrievers Good Off-Leash? 11 Simple Training Steps

There are many off-leash activities that I wanted to try with my first golden retriever but I was too worried to go outside with them without a leash on them.

However, I know that my golden retriever is a pretty smart dog but I wanted to know if goldens are one of the breeds that are actually good off-leash so I looked it up, and here is everything that you need to know.

So, are golden retrievers good off-leash? Yes, golden retrievers are good off-leash, they are highly obedient and eager to please so if you train them to walk off-leash, they will never leave you to chase small animals, however, it’s always better to keep your golden on leash in crowded and open areas.

Keep reading to learn when you can train your golden retriever to walk off-leash and how to teach them. 

Are Golden Retrievers Good Off-Leash? 

golden holding leash in his mouth to show why are golden retrievers good off-leash

Golden retrievers are one of the dogs that you can actually trust to walk without a leash, they are obedient and like to please their owners so with some training, you can walk your pup off-leash with confidence.

Most dogs tend to chase after squirrels and other small animals in parks and goldens are no different, although they are less likely to do it than most other dog breeds.

However, when you let them know that running off isn’t acceptable they will try to stay focused on just walking with you till you give them permission. Thankfully, goldens are quite easy to train so this won’t be an issue.

When can you train your golden retriever to walk off-leash? 

You can start training your golden retriever to walk off-leash once they are six months old or right after you train them on the basic commands because they are really necessary for that training, so start with building a solid foundation of obedience training with your pup.

11 Steps to teach your golden retriever to walk off-leash

First of all, here is what you are going to need for this training.

  • A really Long leash 
  • A harness is recommended 
  • Their favorite treats
  • Their favorite toy (any toy they cannot ignore)

You can check my recommended leashes and collars here.

Here are pre-training tips

  • Put the long leash on your golden’s harness
  • It’s really important to train them in a controllable environment 
  • Play with your dog for a while before the training to keep them focused on you.

Here are the 11 steps to teach your golden retriever to walk off-leash

  1. First of all, tell your pup to come to you, and when they do reward them with a treat (repeat it a few times) and make sure to use an upbeat happy voice.
  2. During the training, whenever your dog approaches you without you telling them to, reward them.
  3. Time to use their favorite toy as a distraction, toss the toy away and tell them to come if they leave the toy and come to the toy if they didn’t. That’s okay most dogs don’t on the first try so pick up the toy and let’s try again.
  4. This time do not toss the toy and just place it in front of you and your dog if they approach the toy then take the toy before they reach it.
  5. Place the toy again and tell them to leave it alone and at the same time start giving them the treat to distract them and start to lure them away slowly while giving them the treat each time they approach you.
  6. Repeat the last step but faster this time, you are going to notice that once you place the toy on the ground they will not approach it like they did the first time.
  7. Start moving the toy more to create a bigger distraction and toss the toy in another direction and tell them to come if they do reward them with the treat and let them know that they did a great job if they didn’t, still, it’s really okay, just pick the toy up and try again.
  8. Repeat that step till your pup masters it.
  9. Start to work with the “stay” training just to make sure that if you are in a park and your dog decides to run then telling them to stay to stop them will pay off.
  10. While your dog is sitting, start to take one step backward while telling them to stay and reward them when they do stay still, take it step by step further till you can reach a distance without them following you.
  11. That’s pretty much it, when you master all of these steps with your dog on a leash, you can repeat all of them again off-leash.

When can you trust your dog off-leash? 

You can trust your dog off-leash when you give them proper training and you are pretty sure that your dog can’t get distracted while walking with you and are 100% focused on you, also, even if your dog is trained to walk off-leash, you shouldn’t leave them without it when you are crossing the street.

My favorite leash for golden retrievers 

I tried many leashes with my golden retrievers and they destroyed most of them pretty easily, however, I own multiple leashes but this one is absolutely my favorite.

Check out the Tug 360° tangle-free, heavy-duty retractable dog leash with an anti-slip handle on Amazon.

This leash is really long and you can use it for the training but generally, it’s perfect for walks, hiking, or even running with your pup.

It has an easy roll-on and roll-off and a quick lock and unlocks feature which is really practical, also, this leash can handle an aggressive dog that likes to chew, however, you should not let your pup chew on their leash.

This leash comes in many sizes so you can get the right size for your pup.

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family, you can also check our other article and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Related Questions 

What are the best dog breeds to walk off-leash?

Here are the best dog breeds to have a walk with you off-leash.

  • Labrador retriever 
  • Border collie
  • German shorthaired pointer 
  • Golden retriever 
  • Irish terrier 
  • Shetland sheepdog 
  • Doberman pinscher 
  • Poodle 
  • Australian shepherd 
  • Vizsla 
  • Dalmatian 
  • Belgian sheepdog 
  • German shepherd 
  • Brittany spaniel 
  • Catahoula Cur
  • Boxer 

How do you keep your dog from running away?

Here is how to keep your dog from running away.

  • Don’t chase when they run because they will think that you are playing with them and will keep running
  • Start using your recall words and reward them when they are back
  • Stop the action by telling them to lie down or just distract them.

You can learn more about it in my post on why some golden retrievers run away here.

Helpful Resources 

Training a Dog to walk off the leash


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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