Do you want to get your dog to walk without pulling? But how would this be possible? It’s hard to have a good time when our dog is pulling, sniffing that patch of grass to the right, then running to the left and chasing after every squirrel, while we’re hanging onto the end of the leash. Most dogs will pull unless we take the time to teach them otherwise. Teaching any dog to pay attention to us and keep slack in the leash is easy once we understand and apply some of the basic principles at play. Loose leash walking should not come as a demand but more of a game. Your dog loves to play and making him believe that loose leash walking is a game will make him more comfortable with the rules and demands and remember that most of the reinforcement will be coming from you and must be consistent.
Start in an area with few or no distractions. You won’t be able to hold your dog’s attention if there are
other pets, children, squirrels, etc., running around. Use a flat collar or harness while training your dog.
Never use a choke collar or prong collar. Use nice treats that your dog loves. Make your “loose leash” criteria very clear — reward for NO tension on the leash, and do not allow your dog to pull “a little bit” because it is too difficult for the dog to learn the difference between pulling a little and pulling a lot. A good sign that the leash is loose is that the leash clip is hanging straight down from your dog’s collar or harness.
To start, you should put your dog’s leash on and wait until he releases the tension on the leash. Hold the leash softly and place it on the floor. Show him that you have a snack and place it on the floor next to you. Let him come to you. What you are teaching your dog is that once the tension is released and he comes to you, he will be rewarded.
Timing is everything. You must stop and start one after the other. DO NOT allow your dog to pull you for several steps before you respond. You also must resume forward movement the second the dog loosens the leash.
DO NOT jerk or yank on the leash with either hand or arm;
Your dog cannot learn to walk on a loose leash if YOU keep the leash tight;
Whenever you change direction, be sure to give your dog plenty of warning by using a cue like “let’s go” or “this way”;
Why do dogs pull? Dogs love to play and be outside, when taken on walks they feel stimulated and get excited, so the desire to push ahead is very strong. Dogs tend to pull because they feel tied down and this stops their ability to act naturally.
Behaviors that we want to encourage:
Looking at us, so that they pay attention where we go;
Putting slack in the leash;
Walking by our side;
For dogs who have been walking on a leash and pulling, here are a few tips:
Get yourself ready and choose the least frustrating time and place;
Do not plan to go far, stay near your home;
Do not get mad at your dog;