Leash Training Your Dog in 3 Simple Steps

dog walkingDog walks are the single most important part of your dog’s daily regime. If you are not walking your dog, you probably realize you have a dog with some behavioral problems. Easily, the number one reason most people do not walk their dog regularly is due to a dog’s poor leash manners.

If you find yourself saying “I want to take him on walks, but he pulls so bad”, don’t worry your not alone. But keep in mind, if your dog pulls on leash it’s not because he’s a bad dog. It’s because he was trained to walk that way.

Don’t worry. We can start improving your dog walks by leash training your dog in 3 easy steps.

dog collarBefore we start, make sure you have the right equipment. You should be using a flat collar with a martingale hoop and a 6 foot leash. If you use certain types of harnesses, retractable leashes or other trendy sort of dog walking equipment you are probably just making your dogs reaction on leash worse by encouraging pulling. (More on that in a future blog.)

Alright, lets get started:

  1. leash pullingStop: When your dog begins pulling you on leash, stop. Don’t allow your dog to pull you. By allowing him to take you where he wants, you are reinforcing his pulling. Instead just stop, don’t move.
  2. Encourage: Now that your dog has stopped moving forward, it’s time to redirect him back the way you just came. Lean over to get his attention, call his name and encourage him with a “come” or “lets go”. Wait for him to react to your call. Don’t yell or become frustrated. It’s going to take some time.
  3. Reward: Once your dog has turned his attention to you, begin walking in the opposite direction you were just being pulled. Watch for your dog to reach your side, by your hip and reward him with praise like “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Then present him with a reward.

Pro Tip: Make sure your dog’s reward or treat is not being held out in front of your dog. Keep it in a treat pouch until you’ve marked the good behavior with “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Holding out the treat too soon turns that reward into a bribe. 

When you’ve completed Steps 1, 2 and 3 continue walking and if your dog gets ahead of you or begins pulling, repeat the steps again. This process will take several times to complete so don’t expect your dog’s

If you find that your dog’s attention is being diverted by other dogs or cars on your walk, practice in your backyard or in your home. Then move outside.

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