With nicer weather coming, its a great time to get out there and enjoy some walks with your favorite pooch. Are your dog walks resembling a marathon – with you in 2nd place behind your dog? These tips are for you!
Change Your Direction
Abruptly changing the direction you’re heading in may be enough distraction to make your dog understand that he needs to follow you. Every time your dog begins to run or walk ahead of you, quickly turn around and begin walking the other way. When his attention is averted and he returns to walk next to you, follow up immediately with lots of praise. A small dog treat helps, too. Tempting as it is, don’t scold your dog for tugging on the leash. Just redirect his attention by abruptly changing direction.
To begin with, your walks may only be a few steps at a time. That’s OK! You may need to repeat this process several times. The idea is that you want your dog to be paying attention to you and your movements. Be generous with your praise and rewards and repeat this process several times. Your dog will slowly give up the tug of war game he’s been playing with your.
If you already own a dog training collar that has both positive and negative tone reinforcement, now would be a great time to use it.
Consistency is Important
Now that you’ve made up your mind to leash train your dog, always be consistent. Without consistent boundaries, your dog won’t understand what is expected of him. Treat your leash walking exercises as you would any other obedience training session.
Practicing your dog’s new skills in a familiar place, such as your driveway or backyard, is the best way to start to your training. After your dog has mastered his new leash walking skills, you can experiment with longer walks in unfamiliar places.
Keep Up the Good Work
As with all dog training, teaching your dog to walk properly on a leash is an ongoing process. Don’t expect instant understanding. Your dog may need more than one training session to fully understand what you’re trying to teach him. Even after your dog has learned what is expected, you’ll still want to reinforce the behavior by occasionally using the distraction technique given above.
Make sure you heap on the praise! Your dog loves receiving praise and rewards from you. Be generous with your praise and offer rewards when your dog is doing the right thing; he will be encouraged to continue paying attention to you.