Loose lead walking sounds easy right? It is one of the most common reasons people get in touch with us though! More and more people are struggling with loose lead walking!
So we wanted to share with you a few tips on how to start teaching your dog how to walk nicely on lead.
1. the more a dog is allowed to pull, the more they will pull. They think that pulling into the lead is how they get to walk! As much as we think they are choking themselves, your dog finds it rewarding! Why? Because it gains them access to the sniffing spots!
2. lead manners start when you are putting on their equipment! If you have to chase your dog to put their lead on then they are already not focusing on you.
3. be patient and use the collar and lead attaching as part of your walk time.
4. you need to start in a low distraction environment like your home or back yard. If your dog can’t focus on you in your home they won’t be able to focus on you in the environment.
5. you need to show your dog that standing next to you earns reward. Give them food reward each time they stand on your left hand side.
6. reward your dog one step at a time! The more they get rewarded being on your left hand side, the more they look for that spot. Think about it like your dog sitting. When you have food they often automatically sit. Why? because they have been heavily rewarded for the sit. This is what we want from them when on lead, a strong desire to stand by your side.
7. don’t move onto more steps or higher distraction until your dog loves being by your side while in your home!
8. practice changing directions in your yard or home and reward your dog when they follow you.
9. practice calm walking as you are heading out the door or gate. This is going to be a time of great excitement so get this right!
10. teach them to wait at the door or gate while it gets opened. This saves rushing and also keeps them focused on you.
11. no more forward movement when your dog pulls. With rewards for being next to you, teach them the value of their collar/harness being relaxed.
12. be patient! When using these steps it takes time to break the old habit! But use your full allocated walk time to practice, even if that means you don’t leave your driveway.
The hardest thing for people to wrap their head around is that their dog didn’t get out for a walk. That is correct, but they are still learning! We are teaching them to use their brain and concentrate on us, instead of everything else. Getting your dog to use their brain is as tiring for them as going for a walk.
The other thing people are concerned about is finding the time to do this training. But you don’t have to find EXTRA time, you use the time already put aside for walking your dog.
So if you have 30 minutes allocated for a walk and it takes 10 minutes for your dog to be calm enough to get their lead on, then the ‘walk’ time is now 20 minutes. If it then takes 5 minutes to walk without pulling to the door then the ‘walk’ time is now 15 minutes. If it then takes 15 minutes for you to get to the end of the driveway without pulling, time is up and you head back inside!
In this video we show you how we are starting to teach Rocky about lead manners.