Walking your Dog on a Leash

>> 8/19/09

We will be taking a look at walking your dog with a leash, one of the more important things that your dog that benefit from learning in dog training.

Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash is something that will take some practice. Your dogs pulling is a common problem and unless corrected at an early age, it is going to get harder to correct as your dog gets older.

Allowing your dog to pull without any correction will let your dog believe that it is ok to pull. As you continue your walk, your dog will think he's being rewarded for pulling! This is obviously not the message you want to send him.

If your dog pulls and you pull him back, he will only continue to pull harder. This will be fun for him! Therefore, you need to train him to walk properly on the leash.

Before you start walking, stand still and hold the leash with both hands and several treats. Keep your hands close to your body. Whenever your dog looks up at you, praise him and give him a treat. Or, if he is just sitting or standing still, praise him and give him a treat. You want him to know that this is good. He will soon notice that the act of paying attention to you is rewarded.

If your dog begins to lean forward or start to walk forward, lean your body backwards or take a few steps backwards, but don't pull back. Hold your hands against your body and stand still. There may be tension on the leash, but just wait. Once your dog slackens his pull, or when he looks up to you, give him verbal praise and extend your arm down by your side and give him a treat.

Continue to praise your dog until he moves forward toward the end of the leash. If he pulls to the point where there is tension, don't say anything. Once your dog releases the tension, then you can once again praise him.

When your dog resumes standing position next to you, you can begin to walk. Say your dog's name and the command "let's go" or "let's walk" and begin to walk forward. This command should be spoken right before the dog moves forward.

If your dog walks properly without pulling forward, continue to walk and reward him periodically with verbal praise and tasty treats.

If you see that your dog is about to pull forward, stop walking and stand still. Your dog will wonder why you stopped walking so he will look back at you. Once he does this verbally praise him, give him a great, and give him a treat as you start to walk forward. Repeat this whenever your dog is about to pull forward.

It will not take him long to realize that when his collar is tight, you won't follow him, rather the walking stops. Therefore, he will want to walk lightly.

In the early stages of this training exercise you will want to practice this in your home or backyard. This way, your dog will have a chance to get used to walking on the leash in a controlled environment. Then, once he is comfortable here, you can walk him on the sidewalk.

As mentioned in the last chapter, you want to set your dog up for success, not failure. So you want to give him every opportunity to be rewarded.

Because this training exercise will take a lot of practice at first, you may want to use pieces of kibble rather than treats. You can take him on a walk during one of his meal times and give him his meal this way. Once your dog can walk without needing a lot of correction and reward, you can start giving him treats instead.

Until next time, all the best to you and your dog. Make sure you check out the resource box below for more information. Good quality dog training resources can help to make the process of training your dog easier as well as more enjoyable.

Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios. Click here for more dog training help and advice.

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