Walking on a loose leash is a skill that requires teaching. Your puppy or dog does not automatically know what is required once the leash gets attached to the collar or harness.
- Realize that walking on a loose leash is a skill
- Practice attaching the leash and walking with the leash on in a non distracting environment first.
- Pick up the leash and reward your dog for staying close to you, paying attention to you while you are stationary. If you want to teach the dog to walk on a particular side of you, you could lure the dog to that side and reward that position as well.
- Next step would be to start moving a little bit and rewarding the dog for staying in the same relative position to your body.
- Tip: Backing up and having the dog follow you is a great way to start. The advantage is that your dog will be less likely to pull since you are creating a physical barrier to his forward movement.
- Once your dog follows you nicely you can begin to turn into the same direction as the dog. If your dog happens to sit when you stop, which is highly likely, reward him for that as well.
- Do not ask the dog to follow a verbal cue such as “heel”.
- If your dog experiments and rushes forward hitting the end of the leash, stop and wait for your dog to notice that no forward movement is happening. As soon as he turns his head you can mark that behavior with a clicker or a verbal approval marker and wait for the dog to get into the rewarded position.
- Once back in position forward movement serves as a reinforcing event that can also be marked with a click and treat.
- Once your dog can do this in a quiet environment practice in a slightly more distracting place.
Leash walking seems basic but it is not that easy for the dog or puppy. It is not wise to correct the dog, jerk on the leash or yell when the dog is pulling. Since the dog does not really know what you want yet your excitement can be interpreted as an encouragement to pull more or that you are engaging in some kind of game. This would inadvertently reinforce the dog to pull.
For fast results call us to get the loose leash walking process accomplished efficiently and enjoy the results instead! A straight line to success is always a better choice than allowing the dog to practice inappropriate behaviors.