Dogs love to go for walks, to experience all of the scents and sounds, the fresh air, and the exercise is wonderful! On the other hand, most dogs will need to be taught not to pull on their leashes and give their owners a tough time. Are you having trouble walking your pooch?
You’re going to want to make sure your pup knows the ‘sit’ and ‘recall’ commands for this method.
Simply begin walking, your dog attached to a 4-6 foot lead. In most cases, your pooch will begin to pull once the end of the lead is reached; if this happens, simply stop the walk! Don’t move, wait until your pup stops pulling, and call him back to you. As he returns to your side, have him sit, rewarding this with a treat.
Repeat this process every time your pup pulls; eventually, he/she will learn the walk stops when he pulls! He’ll realize pulling gets him nowhere. The reason you are giving him outweighs his desire to pull ahead.
After all, you’re pup will ultimately want the walk to continue!
Careful, however; your dog might catch on to you; you don’t want them believing they will be rewarded if they first pull the leash, then return to your side (in that order). Don’t think they are that smart? Think again; if you condition them this way (perhaps not with all breeds), they will.
You’ll need a waist pouch full of treats for this one, preferably small ‘training’ rewards.
You’re going to want to start out the exact same way as the first training method, but ‘pop’ a treat with every step you take (hand a treat to your dog)! This may sound a bit like overkill; don’t worry- you’re going to want to slowly decrease the frequency of treats over time. For example, a treat a step for the first couple walks, then perhaps one every three steps, then one every five steps (you get the idea).
Not only does this keep your dog’s attention squarely fixed on you, eliminating the possibility for distractions, this technique is so successful professional show dog trainers use it!
With these first two methods, distraction is our enemy. You need to find a way to eliminate distractions, or limit them, as much as possible. In some cases, as with city-walking, this might not be possible; so try to make the reward seem more interesting than the distraction! Add praise!
Note: Dogs naturally walk faster than humans, and aren’t accustomed to slowing down. Training will take time and patience, but you’ll reap the rewards in the end!