Walking on a leash is not a natural action for a dog. They are not born knowing that they should not walk ahead or lag behind. They have to be taught nicely that pulling on the easy is bad doggie behaviour. Dogs are excitable and love exploring new things, so teaching them leash manners can be difficult. To teach your dog that pulling is bad, you have to be consistent in reprimanding him when he pulls. If you are inconsistent, the dog will keep pulling as they know that this sometimes gets results.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Until your dog is walking on a leash pull-free, consider all walks training sessions. Keep these sessions short and fun for you and your dog.
Pulling and Pushing – Alternate The Exercise
Find ways to exercise your dog other then walking. Fetch, vigorous games of Tug or just playing with his friends in the park will do. A large part of the reason dogs pull on the leash is due to excess energy. If you tire out your pup first, you will have less hassle regarding pulling.
Rewards and lots of them. Use highly desirable treats that thee dog does not get any other time. Soft treats work best as the dog can quickly eat it and the walk can quickly resume without you having to pull on the leah to get him to move and confusing him.
Walk at a quick pace. If you move at a jog or even a run, the dog will have less time to stop and smell the roses (or mark his territory).
Ignorance Can Be The Best Punishment
Sometimes, ignorance can be the best punishment. If you want your dog to control themselves on the leash, they have to control themselves off of the leash first. If your dog spots the leash and begins to run around, bark and whine, stand perfectly still. Do and say nothing until the dog has stopped barking. Once they have all four paws on the ground then you can slowly reach towards them with the leash. If your dog repeats their whining and excitement, simply repeat the process until they have calmed down and can take the leash in a relaxed state. This will seem tedious, but your perseverance will pay off.
Lure and Reward
This is a reward system for you pup to encourage them to walk along side you. Begin with your dog on the left hand side of your body, have a bag or pouch on odour hip that you can easily reach into. Have your left hand relaxed by your side, with some treats in it, and hold it close to your dogs face. Say ‘let’s walk’ and walk in the intended direction. Every few seconds praise the dog verbally and feed them a treat. (This will require being able to quickly refill your hand.)
If they pull ahead or change direction, stop immediately. Get your dogs attention by call their name. Ask the pup to sit down and praise them when they do. Begin the process again.
Do this for a week, and then begin getting the treats from the pouch at your waist and giving them to the dog every other few steps. If there is pulling, stop, call and get the dog to sit. Reward and repeat. As time goes on you can gradually increase the steps between treats until you can walk with your hand comfortably by your side occasionally treating your pup.
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