Leash walking is one of the biggest challenges that dog owners face, regardless of your dogs size. If you want to be an owner who walks his dog and doesn’t get walked BY his dog follow these simple steps from trainer Tony Caruso to get started off on the right paw.
- The walk begins before you are out the door. Make your dog sit and wait by the door while you put on the leash. Your dog should be patient and obedient during this time. “Bad manners” (jumping, barking, biting the leash) shouldn’t be allowed. Wait until your dog is calm and obedient before you go out the front door.
- Praise your dog when he is being responsive to instruction and walking by your side-Positive reinforcement is a great way to bond with your dog and teach him to exhibit desired behaviors.
- If your dog is pulling on the leash, slow down and change direction-You are in control of the walk, not your dog. You determine the route and the speed, so if you are being pulled, slow down and change direction.
- Sit at all crossings-Make a habit of having your dog sit at all crossings. Intersections can be dangerous, whether residential or in a city. Preparing your dog to sit and wait for your command is an extra safety measure that you’ll be glad is in place.
- Avoid unnecessary tension on the leash-being able to walk with a “loose leash” is a sign that you have mastered the walk.
Remember that a walk is a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Remain calm, even during the pesky training phase when your dog doesn’t want to listen. An even temper and calm energy will train your dog faster than any words ever could. It’s not unusual for dogs to be “leash reactive”. Many dogs who are perfectly friendly react badly to other animals or people when they are on a leash. This can be caused by a variety of different things, trying to protect you, trying to establish dominance or your dog could have aggressive tendencies toward other dogs. It’s important to understand your dogs behavior in various situations in order to keep him safe, happy and healthy. If you’re struggling with leash reactivity contact us to schedule a private training session. One hour in home sessions are available for $90 or 1-on-1 sessions at our training center are $75.