Loose Leash Walking: A How-To

"My dog pulls so hard on the leash all the time! We have tried everything and nothing really helps." Does this sound like you? You are not alone. Loose leash walking is one of the top skills dog owners desire so they can enjoy their walks with their dogs.

There is no collar, harness or tool that will magically get your dog to walk nicely - and pulling your dog back only exacerbates the problem! Positive reinforcement-based training is what you need in order to teach your dog that it is more pleasant for everyone when they walk beside you. 

 

Tip #1

Teach your dog loose leash walking by starting out in low distraction areas with a high volume treat. When your dog starts to pull away from you, get them to refocus back to you by offering them a treat and a word of encouragement. Your dog will eventually get the idea that when they are walking beside you, good things happen! As their pulling lessens, progressively move to a busier area, with a greater number of distractions and gradually move up to a longer period of time between treats.

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Tip #2

Your dog may forget what they have learned from time to time, but avoid pulling on the leash at all costs! This will undo all the great work you have done! it is okay if you and your dog need to revert back to more frequent treats and an area with less distractions. You may even need to find a treat that has a greater value to your dog. Keep practicing and don't give up! With patience and perseverance, your dog will soon get it and everyone will be enjoying their walk time.

 

Tip #3

Don't forget, dogs also enjoy exploring their environment and you can use this as a reward for walking nicely as well. Have a visual or audio cue that is clear to your dog on when it is time to walk and when it is okay to sniff around. When walking your dog, finding new and interesting smells stimulates their brain. This is great enrichment for them, and is so very important to add this to their walks so they can experience the world with their nose.

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