Kara's Critter Care, LLC



How to train your dog to walk on a loose leash.

Posted on January 10, 2019 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (554)

It is a beautiful summer morning, the sun is shining, and you and your faithful dog are walking at your favorite park. With slack in the leash, it is a peaceful walk. Suddenly, a deer takes off running while another dog approaching is lunging and barking at your dog, but you still have slack in the leash. No this is not a dream, this can be your reality. Loose leash walking is possible with training and patience.

If you don’t want your dog to drag you around on leash, the rule of thumb is to never go in the direction your dog is pulling. There are many methods to accomplish this, I am going to share some that I like, and have worked for me.

First method, I call be a tree, is whenever there is tension on the leash, stop walking. Most likely, Fido is going to continue trying to pull for some time. Wait him out until he releases the tension himself trying to figure out why you’re not moving. At that moment, praise, treat, and walk on.

The next method is be sporadic. This helps keeps Fido guessing where or what you are going to do next which will help keep his attention on you. If he gets ahead of you, turn and go the other way, praise and treat every time he is next to you, right by your leg. Make circles both away from your dog and towards your dog, but keep your dog on the same side so if he started on your left, he stays on your left. I also like to run sometimes, walk slow others, run backwards, and stop. When you stop, ask Fido to sit. Always remember to treat and praise when there is a loose leash. Always give Fido a treat when he looks up at you, it is important to keep him checking in with you. You can even give a jackpot when he does this, this means give a few treats for the behavior.

Last but not least, have a treat on a plate or a bowl of food on one end of the yard/driveway/hallway while you and your dog start at the other end. This gives your dog motivation to go forward but he must learn self-control to get what he wants. Tell your dog walk, and start walking. Most likely your dog will rush forward to get his treat. Be a tree and wait him out. He must have a loose leash to get to his treat. As he starts getting good at this, make him start over at the start every time he starts to pull. I also like to say “OK” to release him to eat his treat once he gets there. You may even like to add stopping right in front of the bowl and asking him to sit before being released to get the treat. This helps add more control.

There are other helpful tools to teach your dog to make walking a more enjoyable experience. Heel is very important when in crowds, or on a tight trail while passing someone. It is very precise walking, the dog’s neck should be in line with your hip while the dog is looking up at you the entire time. It also includes an automatic sit every time you stop. Watch me is used to ask your dog to look up at you. This can get his attention on you and not the dog you are walking by. Leave it is another great one and is used when you want your dog to leave something alone like the squirrel or food dropped on your path.

Training your dog should always be fun and rewarding. You will get more from your dog if you keep it fun, so happy training and keep up the good work to get the dog of your dreams. With practice and patience, you will be enjoying your walks in no time.

By: Kara Zapko

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