Being dragged down by any dog is not a fun experience. It makes leash walking a chore and much like any other chores in our life, we’ll end up putting it at the bottom of our to do list.
Which is unfortunate, because walking has so many benefits for us and our dog.
Being able to enjoy Mother Nature together and get some vitamin D. Here are some quick tips to help your walks go a bit smoother.
- Proper equipment. Ditch the harness and ditch your bungee like leash. Walking your dog should include a well fitted collar or training collar and a leash that doesn’t give if the dog decides to pull. Personally for me, I enjoy a retractable and a prong collar for my walks.
- Start with basic leash handling. Training starts with you, so it’s only natural that you figure out how to hold a leash properly and learn how to work it. Leash should lightly sit in your hand (not wrapped) and you should hold on to a part that allows your dog some wiggle room, but not enough leash to get tangled. You must hold to this part of the leash and not let it slide through your hands.I typically suggest tying a knot to give you something to hold on to. If you use a retractable, get familiar with the mechanics of stopping it and going.
- Pop vs drag. A huge thing I see with pet owners is that they play tug-a-war with their dog via leash. If you pull on the leash it will only tell your dog to pull harder in the opposite direction. Instead of pulling, pop the leash (how you would flick a towel) in the opposite direction your dog is going. The pop will get your dog’s attention vs dragging and fighting.
- Now to train your dog. If your dog pulls, stop walking and let them hit the end of the leash. Start adding small pops towards you all the while encouraging your dog to come back to you. When they come reward. We are starting to introduce that if there is tension on the leash you will not go forward.
- When your dog is beside you reward frequently while they’re in the position you like. When you’re happy with them, give them a release word to go explore some. Finding the balance of being in the right position and freedom is key to teaching good leash manners. BUT you must have a consistent release word.
- Repeat. So leash walking should go like this. Ask dog to walk with you, reward when they are in correct position, if they start to pull you must stop and pop until leash is loose again, reward when with you, release for exploring during the walk.
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