7. The Art of Walking Your Dog on a Leash - The ‘Leash Problem’ Starts…
Most leash-pulling activities begin as soon as the dog sees the leash and knows she’s about to go for a walk. Understandably, if the walk begins out of control, chances are that this is going to be the precedent set for the entire walk!
Hence before expecting your dog to calmly walk beside you on leash, train her to be calm when you are putting her collar and leash on. Ask her to ‘sit-stay’ while you are putting on her leash.
If she does not stay, delay the walk until she does. It is important not to give in or she will learn that it is permissible to be out of control.
Leash Training Warm-Up
Most dogs learn very soon that they must sit while the leash is being attached to the collar. Although they usually tremble with excitement, the thought of being taken out for a walk urges them to sit still while this is carried out.
It is after this phase that the ‘warm-up’ leash practice is usually required. Here is a phased manner of going about this predicament:
- If your dog bolts toward the door, dragging you behind, then the situation is out of control. Simply hold onto the leash, stand still and let your dog jump, dance and bounce around at the end of the leash. It may take a few minutes before she will realize that you are not going anywhere and will begin to calm down. When this happens, praise her for being good.
- After another minute or so of calm, good behavior, take your first step – but not towards the door. Instead, walk your dog around your house, backyard, garage or garden to give her a chance to practice her good behavior. Every time she pulls or strains on the leash simply stand still again and when she does calm down, talk to her and praise her calmly taking care not to get her all excited by praising her overtly. Try to keep her attention on yourself instead of the door that leads out.
- When you feel that your dog is in control and she is behaving well without pulling on the leash in your house or yard, it is time to proceed to the outdoors.
Walking on a Leash
It is very important that you determine where you are going and not your dog; teach your dog that you are the boss and not him. Hence you must never let your dog pull on the leash when you are walking him.
If you apply this method for ten minutes at a time and for three or four times per day then within four or five days you should easily be trained not to pull on the leash. Here is a way of going about this:
- You will require the check collar or gentle leader and leash on your dog for best results.
- Stand next to your dog so that you are both facing in the same direction and the dog is sitting on your left.
- Start walking forward slowly in a straight line, leading with your left leg.
- As soon as your dog takes off and starts pulling on the leash stand still and restrain him from pulling any further. Do not drag the dog towards you; all you need to do is halt his progress.
- Wait until the dog stops, praise him and then continue walking.
How to Refrain Yourself from Pulling!
It is quite natural that you will instinctively pull the dog back when he pulls away. In order to refrain from doing so, try tying the leash securely to your waist or strong belt and go hands-free.
The only thing in your hand will then be food reward or a favorite toy hidden in your pocket. These items will be used when the dog makes the right choice.
What if your dog just keeps on pulling irrespective of what you do? Stop for a couple of seconds and wait, if your dog continues to strain, turn abruptly and walk away from your dog.
Assuming that your dog is on your left, imagine you are facing 12 on the clock, you are going to turn and head for 4 o’clock. The diagonal direction will set him off balance and he will be forced to turn toward you.
When he does so, praise and deliver a treat next to the seam of your pant-leg; thereafter continue on your way.
Irrespective of the situation, you must never move forward when the leash is tight. Do not allow your dog to drag you where he wants to go consistently to see great results in no time.