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As many people know, all, because your dog is on a leash, doesn’t magically make them well-behaved or easy to manage. Teaching a dog how to walk on a loose leash is important because it not only will reflect better on you as a good owner, but it will also allow your furry friend to be more trusted in public.
Leash training a dog will typically require three items:
1. A collar or harness, either around the neck or a no-pull design
2. A non-retractable leash between 4-6 feet
3. Treats that you know your pup will love
On a nice day outside, preferably in an area with fewer distractions and vehicles, start the leash training process thusly:
1. Fill your treat pouch with treats.
2. Electing which side of your body your dog will walk on. Keep the treats in the hand that’s on that side of your body.
3. Hold your leash hand opposite of the dog; the loop end will be in your right hand if your dog is on the left, for example.
4. Take a step and stop. Feed the dog some treats from your hand while keeping your hand in line with your leg or pants seam. This helps to get your dog into position. The leash should be loose.
5. Repeat the steps twice more.
6. After your dog begins looking up at you expectantly, increase the number of steps taken to two, then three, before stopping and feeding the dog. Make sure your feeding hand is always parallel with the seam of your pants.
7. If your dog pulls ahead of you, don’t walk further with them. Change direction and get the dog back at your side with calling and treats, but do not feed or touch them. This prevents them from learning to eat as a reward for pulling ahead.
8. In the new direction, take two or three steps and begin the process once more.
9. Eventually, you can take more and more steps between each treat. This will condition your dog to walk with you longer and longer for a reward.
10. When the dog walks on a loose leash continually, give the walk a name to call so that before you begin walking, your dog begins to associate the walking style’s name with the command to come to your side. Names like “with me,” “heel,” and “sidewalk” are good starting ideas.
11. Once your dog has finished walking with you (at your discretion), you can release them from you with a command such as “all done” or “walk over” so they can leave the heel position. If your dog keeps trying to sneak ahead, stop and turn around and begin the process over. Don’t let your dog think they’re the ones running the show on the walk.
These basic steps will have your companion walking with poise and prestige at your side in no time. However, if you need additional in-person guidance, our team of expert dog trainers in Houston will be more than happy to improve the relationship between you and your canine chum. Call or email us to learn more about local leash training services and help keep your canine well-mannered today!