Put a stop to pulling and train your dog to walk well on the leash.
Paws up, dog owners – who’s nursing a sore arm or a strained shoulder after walking your four-legged friend down the street?
It’s a sure bet that many pet owners out there are in this situation – some of our dogs seem to go bananas when it’s time for their daily stroll, and then spend the time afterwards either bouncing along like furry yo-yos at the end of the leash, or pulling their owners down the sidewalk like furry freight trains.
In fact, most of our canine companions get very excited long before we even ever get out the door!
Although most of us would say that we love spending time with our pooches, these walk-time shenanigans can turn a pleasant jaunt into an unwelcome workout.
Though larger dogs tend to be the biggest pulling culprits, many smaller dogs are strong as well, and may spend their time straining their collars too.
What most owners don’t realize is that putting a leash on in the house while their dog is in this state not only rewards bad behavior while they’re inside, but also pretty much guarantees that your pup is going to continue to be overexcited and pull while they’re walking on leash.
Teaching your dog the right behaviour before you even head out of the house is the first stage of training your pup to walk properly on a leash, so let’s look at how to set your dog up for success before your walk even begins!
First, get your supplies ready:
Your dog’s leash
Soft tasty treats (lots of them!), cut into pea size bites
Timer with an alarm
Start inside, in a low distraction situation for your dog.
Begin with your furry friend off their leash, with the leash in its normal storage place. Move towards the leash area as if you’re going for a walk, but watch your pup closely!
If they become excited, start to bark, or show any unwanted behaviors, then stop right away, ignore your dog, and wait for them to calm down. (Relaxation is really the name of the game here)
Once your happy hound has calmed themselves down, (meaning four paws on the floor, quiet, and with a relaxed body stance), reward them with a tasty tidbit and move your hand toward the leash.
If your dog becomes excited by this action, then stop, move back, and again wait for your pup to calm down. Reward good behaviour! It’s very important to avoid using harsh commands or punishment during this training, as that can confuse or frighten your pup..
Now begin picking up the leash. Stop, ignore any bad manners, and put the leash back in its place if your dog starts getting worked up at this point.
Praise your furry friend and reinforce with a treat immediately when you see them settle down, and repeat until you can hold the leash in your hand without your dog becoming keyed up.
Remember to move forward at your dog’ pace! If you find that he can’t simmer down once you’ve got the leash on, then take the leash off and move back a step with training, using smaller steps (for example, giving your pooch a reward when they stay calm if you just bend down at first).
Keep training sessions short and positive, a maximum of 4-5 minutes long. (Psst -that’s where the timer comes in!) This avoids frustration for both you and your furry friend during training.
It’s particularly important to also practice this with your pup at different times of day, even when you’re not going out for a walk! This will help to desensitize your dog to the leash and promote good doggie manners when it really is time to go outside.
If you’ve gotten to a place in your training where your pooch is relaxed when the leash is on, begin moving towards the door – and training doesn’t stop here! The goal is to have your dog walking nicely with the leash loose, of course.
Some dogs are particularly determined pullers, so while you’re still working on leash manners, it can often be helpful to fit your dog for a head halter or a front attaching, no-pull harness that allows you to redirect their attention back to you while you’re out on normal walks.
If your furry freight train starts to pull, quickly change direction, call your dog’s name, and reward them with praise and treats when they return to your side and give you their attention. With time and patience, you’ll be walking like a team in no time! If you would like more ongoing training for this or any other dog behavior issues Click Here!
* The information contained on this site – www.dogsonline.co is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, all content contained within this website is for information purposes only. If you are in any way concerned about the health or well being of your dog please consult with your vet as soon as possible.