Teaching Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

OK.  Your dog is not perfect. 

Dogs are not born knowing not to pull or lag behind during walks. They must be trained. Leashes curtail their normal tendencies to wander and explore.

Until your dog learns to walk properly on a leash, all walks should be considered short training sessions. It’s far better if the dog can be exercised prior to the training session. A tired dog is a good dog. Also, both the dog and you need to stay on task so, keep it short. 

You’ll need to walk at a quick pace and make sure you are always slightly ahead of your dog. If they are in front, they will believe they are the pack leader. Being the pack leader is actually more stressful for your dog because it makes them think they must respond to any impinging danger, i.e., the killer squirrel.  

If your dog pulls, stop immediately. You are a tree. Don’t move again until the pulling stops. If your dog pulls constantly,  you may have to resort to a collar correction to keep them in-line. Remember not to choke the dog. It’s a jerk, not a pull. Small dogs should be in a harness of some kind to prevent choking and dogs with small heads, like greyhounds, may need a limited slip-type collar. 

I strongly recommend the use of a flat-buckle collar for leash training. NO pinch, prong, or choke collars, please. Special “no-pull” harnesses are made for smaller dogs.

Some experts suggest using treats but I think treats can confuse dogs as to what they are being treated for and will increase their excitability during a walk.  If treats work for you, by all means, have at it! 

If a dog lags behind, do the tree thing again, and wait for any forward movement and then praise the dog profusely (and/or treat).

This all takes time and most dogs eventually “get it”. However, if you think you need more help, please consider a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for private or group sessions.   

Sit. Stay. Grow. is available to walk your dog as needed, privately. However, we prefer not to walk your dog with a pinch, prong, or choke collar.


Sources for this article include:

 

www.petmd.com

www.akc.org