10 Tips to Training your Dog to Walk Politely on Leash
First let’s start by asking the question why do Dogs pull? I can answer that question quite easily, Dogs pull for two reasons.
1. They want to!
2. We let them!!
Solution, DON”T LET THEM!!! Here are the 10 tips but understand this is not a quick fix, you taught them this bad habit, it may take just as much time to undue it. It takes diligence, consistency, patience and TIME. For the sake of this article, we are going to call our dog Rover.
1. Use a flat collar or a front clip harness and a 6 foot leash. Refrain from using adversive training collars such as choke chains or prong collars. We want this to be a positive learning experience.
2. Control at front door. Teach Rover to sit and wait while you open doors (house door, crate door, car doors, gates) so they are not bolting out without permission. If they are sitting and waiting while the door is open, you can walk through it. If they try to rush out bring them back in, close the door and try again.
3. Exercise Rover heavily before walking. Throw the ball around in the backyard or go to a leash free park. Play the search game. Hide treats in the house or in the back yard, say “ find it”.
4. Use a training pouch. Attach it to your belt so you have quick access and are not fumbling to get them out of your pocket. Fill with treats or your dogs kibble if you don’t want to use too many treats. I would suggest bringing both kibble and high reward treats.
5. Stop, wait, reward. Take a step forward if Rover bolts to the end of his leash STOP dead in your tracks do not move an inch! Rover is eventually going to look at you and say “why aren’t we going anywhere”?? As soon as Rover moves towards you and there is slack in the leash, say “good boy Rover!” Reward by taking 1 giant step forward. Make sure the person in charge teaching these lessons is physically and mentally up to the task.
6. Get their attention and run backwards. If they pull towards an object that is distracting them, move backwards away from the distraction ask them to sit in front of you and continue rewarding with treats while they stay in the sit position. If it is a tree they want to sniff, as long as the leash is loose, the reward is to go sniff the tree.
7. Change direction. If Rover still continues to pull ahead, turn around and walk the other way. Give them some kind of verbal queue so you don’t yank them and swing them around on their collar unexpectedly.
8. Continue with step #5. Make a pack with yourself that you refuse to move forward if Rover is pulling!
9. Continue to Teach and Practice #6. Inside off leash, then backyard, then driveway. Get their attention run backwards sit in front and reward.
Lastly and most importantly learn from the pros websites! Dr. Ian Dunbar and Dr. Sophia Yin. Remember practice makes permanent!!!
A special thank you to my mentor and friend Judy Emmert for helping me write this blog so that you may be successful and have a long and lasting relationship with your dog. Enjoy your walks!! If you would like to continue with training your dog visit Dealing With Dogs for classes.