26 Mar How to Teach Your Dog to Walk on a Loose Leash
Loose Leash Walking
If you have ever walked your dog in a park, or in your neighborhood and wished you could have the perfect walk with no pulling, don’t worry there is hope! First lets put things in simple terms so we can understand why our dog is pulling, and then we can correct the pulling on the leash.
Many people feel their dogs pull on the leash because they are dominant or the want to be the alpha of the household. Some owners feel they should be in front and the dog walk behind them. Let me go on record saying both ways are incorrect. Walking your dog is about building the bond between you, about building your relationship, not who is in front or behind on the walk.
So why is the dog trying to be in front? Simply put, it works! They think we are the slow pokes and need to keep up with them. They are feeling we are the ones pulling on the leash. Dog’s peripheral vision is 270 degrees ours is 180 degrees. So this means the dog can actually be in front of you slightly and still have you in its vision. He doesn’t need to be exactly by your side, unless you are working on the heel position. Imagine a 2’ to 3’ radius around you; this is where it is acceptable for the dog to walk. Many times the dog forges ahead because the stimulus is so much more exciting than staying with us. Owners need to find ways to make themselves more interesting. This is really very easy with great treats, fun toys, and even the occasional opportunity to roll in the grass can be a reward. By putting your walks on cue for your dog, they will learn which type of walk day it is. Sometimes you may be in a hurry and need to walk the dog quickly just for exercise. Other times you may let the dog explore and sniff the area. Let your dog know what walk they are going on, otherwise they will always think they control the walk. This is where the “let’s go” command comes in handy. You can use the word “heel” if it is to be a proper walk, but “let’s go” when you have time to engage in the walk with your dog. A consistent reinforcement history makes owners very interesting to dogs. Until you’ve established a strong reinforcement history, practice your loose leash walking skills in no, and then low distraction level environments.
You can train a loose leash walk very easily with the clicker. Start with getting your dogs attention. Pick a sound you can make or a click of your fingers to make your dog look up at you. Click and treat the dog. Do this about 5-8 times. This will help establish that something good is coming. With having your dog on a leash, begin to walk backwards with the dog walking towards you. Click and treat a few times to let the dog know that this is what you are looking for. You will then want to turn your body counter clockwise and begin walking forward. Now your dog should actually be on your left side already walking forward. On your first step as you turn, click and treat the dog. This will mark the fact of both of you walking in the same direction together. If the dog wants to forge ahead, simply step in front of them and walk backwards again. Remember to do this in an environment with no distractions in order to get your dog to understand and feel what it is like to be on a loose leash. Once you have established the loose leash walk, now it is time to take it on the road!
If you need help training your dog to walk loose on a leash call Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website at www.trainingcanines .com and the new Carolina’s Premier Dog Training Club Canine Training Association at www.caninetrainingassociation.com