Going on a walk is the best part of your dog’s day.
That’s why he pulls and pulls, keeping the leash taut as he sniffs every tree, shrub and blade of grass.
Leash pulling is annoying for you, and dangerous to your dog. Teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash will make your walks more enjoyable.
As a Walnut Creek dog walking service for West Contra Costa County, we know how important it is for dogs and owners to learn good loose leash walking skills. Here are our best tips for better walks.
What Your Dog Should Wear On Walks
If your dog is a leash-puller, he could be damaging his neck and spine with each lunge, especially if he wears a regular, flat collar.
A harness takes the pressure off your dog’s throat. Most harnesses have a d-ring on the back, where you attach the leash. Look for a harness with a front d-ring on the chest. The front leash attachment means your dog will face you when he pulls, making it harder for him to drag you down the street.
A head harness can also prevent leash pulling. Some dogs find it uncomfortable at first, but won’t mind wearing it with a slow introduction and a few treats.
No tool instantly teaches your dog to stop pulling. Your dog needs to be trained to focus on you during the walk. This is the key to having a dog that will walk calmly, even with distractions.
How To Train Loose Leash Walking
Many dogs begin pulling the moment they get the leash on. Only clip on the leash once your dog has settled down. Don’t allow your dog to rush out the door ahead of you – instead, have him sit and make eye contact with you first.
The moment your dog puts pressure on the leash, stop moving. If you walk forward as the dog pulls, the dog learns that pulling is rewarding – he shouldn’t reach his destination unless he is walking calmly next to you.
Call your dog, and encourage him to get into the proper “heel” position – by your side, not pulling in front of you. Once he returns to your side, and the leash becomes loose, praise your dog and continue walking.
5 Ways To Teach Your Dog Not To Pull
Turn around to get your dog’s attention.
When your dog pulls, turn around and start walking in the other direction. Don’t tug on the leash – instead, call him towards you. Your dog will learn that pulling only means you’ll walk in the opposite direction, so he’ll stay by your side to ensure he keeps moving forward.
Play Red Light, Green Light
Stop suddenly, and have your dog sit beside you. When he sits in the correct position, say, “Good dog!” and start jogging. Stop and go during your walk to keep your dog’s attention and to make it more fun for your dog.
Make your walk a run.
Dogs pull because they want to go faster. They often have tons of energy to unleash. Speeding up your walk helps your dog burn off more steam so he’ll behave better at home. Only run when your dog is by your side – stop if he starts running ahead.
Use tasty treats and rewards.
A pocket full of treats is sure to keep your dog at your side. If he pulls ahead, call him back to you. When he returns to your side, reward him. Continue praising and rewarding him every few steps, gradually going longer without rewards. Not all rewards have to be food. You can also reward your dog with toys, or even the freedom to sniff around.
Practice loose leash walking in many environments.
Once your dog learns to walk nicely on the leash, he may still do it when he’s excited. He might pull when you’re at the park, or when he sees a cat dart across the street. Start from the basics when you walk around new distractions.
More Walks Mean A Well-Behaved Pooch
Daily walks keep your dog healthy. They prevent osteoarthritis, heart disease and obesity – and tire your dog out. Tired dogs are happier and less destructive.
The Pet Nanny offers dog walking and pet sitting services in Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill and surrounding areas.
Contact us to learn more about our services! We look forward to meeting you and your pup.