Leash training tips for perfect pup walks
It’s so much fun to enjoy a pleasant stroll with your well-loved pup, soaking up some sun, bonding, and enjoying all those great things to sniff. For many of us, it all goes so well until a squirrel or another dog passes by! That’s where leash training can help –and it’s especially important for pet parents of large or powerful breeds that are just as capable of taking you for a walk! Here are a few tips to help make walks with your feisty Fido a bit more fun for both of you! Share your tips with us too. We’d love to hear.
Being patient, gentle, and consistent is the key to successful leash training with most dogs! When your dog starts to pull you, simply stop, stand still, and wait for him to ease up on the lead. As soon as he stops pulling and allows for some slack in the leash, move forward again. It’s easy to want to throw in the towel at first – your dog has been pulling you for the whole walk, and it feels like you’ve been stopping and starting forever…but don’t give up! Both you and your dog have the same goal: to enjoy a nice trip outdoors. He just needs time to figure out that the only way to achieve that goal is to “loosen up” a bit! In the end, leash training will really benefit both of you.
There’s a big wide world out there with many sights, scents, and sounds that are just more interesting to our dogs than we are. To combat this, sometimes you have to bust out the “big guns” to tip the odds in your favor: a tennis ball, your dog’s favorite squeaky toy, some super tasty treats, whatever it is that your dog finds super rewarding.
Take time during your walk to have a short play or treat season with your pooch. When he’s behaving and paying attention to you, take a moment to stop, praise, and reward some more! Remember, behaviors come from what we reinforce, so never pass up an opportunity to praise for good behavior while leash training.
Use your environment to your advantage!
Walking on a leash is not a natural concept to your dog, so what better way to reinforce behaviors than with things that do come naturally to him? If carrying a ball or a bag of treats with you on a walk is juggling too much, the great news is you don’t always need those things to offer a reward. Many dogs pull because they want to interact with something in their environment, and you can use this to your advantage. If your dog really wants to run up to and sniff that irresistible bush, let him! But have him walk calmly by your side first, and when he is waiting patiently and not pulling you, praise him and let him sniff! This way you both win – you get a dog who is behaving nicely and your dog gets to explore and enjoy his environment!
When all else fails, there are still options!
For those particularly persistent pullers who just don’t want to walk nicely, there are several great leash training products on the market that can help you regain control of your rambunctious pooch.
For serious pullers, the Freedom No-Pull Harness
is a special kind of harness that clips not only to the back, but also the front (chest) of your dog. When your leash is attached on the front ring, any forward motion will be gently redirected in the direction that the leash is being held. You can think of it like a horse bridal – wherever you move the leash, the dog’s body will follow! This is especially helpful for large, exuberant dogs.
If your dog doesn’t pull quite so hard, but you’d still like to give your arms a bit of a rest, there are also products like the Wacky Walk’r, which offer a durable, stretchable rubber lead that absorbs some of the tension from mild pullers, and even offers a bit of resistance to help discourage pulling!
Now it’s your turn. What are your tips for perfect pup walks?