One of the most common reasons pet owners take their dog to a trainer is for dogs pulling on their leash. While everyone wants to enjoy a nice walk with their pup, it’s no secret that a dog dragging you down the street is nothing short of awful.
Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve your dog walking goals.
Start Early And At Home
The earlier you start using a leash with your dog or puppy, the better. Allowing your dog to get used to wearing a leash is important and it’s also best to start at home where they don’t have as many distractions.
Some dogs that haven’t been on a leash yet, will often panic when they become restrained. Begin by associating the leash with delicious treats or fun toys and making the experience a positive one.
Time To Sniff
Try to combine leash-walking with some off-leash time so your dog has some time to enjoy sniffing and going at his own pace. He then knows that when he is on the lead it is time to behave. If your dog doesn’t reliably come on command, find some off-leash dog parks in your area to enjoy.
Steps To Success
- Ask your dog to sit next to your left leg, with his shoulder in line with you.
- Hold a treat in your hand to get your dogs attention.
- Step off with your left leg, while saying ‘heel’.
- As soon as he takes off ahead turn around and start walking in the opposite direction.
- As soon as your dog catches up and reaches the correct position next to your left leg say ‘heel’ and get his attention with a treat.
- Repeat the turn-around each time your dog surges ahead and correct him by saying ‘heel’.
- Initially reward him each time he is in the heel position and walking by your side, it also teaches him to look to you for direction. As he progresses, get him to walk for a longer period beside you before he gets the treat.
- Enjoy your walk and continue intermittently rewarding your dog for paying attention and walking with you. Once the behavior is established, rewards can be in the form of treats, play or just simply a ‘good boy’ when he is doing the right thing.