How To Walk Your Dog On A Leash Like A Pro
Inexperienced dog owners presume that going for a walk with your dog is just like you see it in commercials and movies – everything goes smoothly, you are in complete control and your dog is perfectly obedient. When the reality of the leash pulling inferno steps in, and you realize that you’re in for a ride, it’s important to know which steps to take in order to calm both your pooch and yourself. Yes, there will be a bit of a struggle while you’re disciplining your pet to always walk side by side with you, but it is important to teach them, otherwise they pose a danger for themselves, their surroundings and you.
If you have a small dog pulling on its leash, then it will be easier for you physically to cope with this issue, but if you adopted a large breed puppy, then you need to get a head start on the leash discipline as soon as possible. You don’t want a young large dog pulling out your shoulder out if its socket, and yes, this can happen, though rarely. There are a few ways to approach this situation and get it under your control, so that both you and your dog can enjoy your walks safely.
The first and most important piece of advice – keep your attitude in check. Being calm and assertive is very important if you wish to have a well-behaved dog, and this goes for everything, not just leash walking. Dogs get overwhelmed with all the smells and noises the moment they step their paw outside and you are there to help them stay focused.
Just because they’re not responding to you trying to pull them back “to ranks” doesn’t mean they don’t respect or love you enough, they’re simply not paying as much attention to you as they ordinarily would. It will help you both not to fuss over the situation and try to remain calm. Your dog responds to your energy, so as soon as he or she feels that you are completely composed, they will respond with same measure.
If this method doesn’t completely settle them down, you can always try and hold the leash closer to the collar and closer to your dog’s neck. This will enable you to physically keep your dog close to you until you notice the urge for pulling going away. For this maneuver, be sure to get a front clip harness for your four legged friend to keep its neck and throat safe.
One of the most effective ways to shift your dog’s attention to yourself is rewarding them every time they are well behaved. Once your dog understands that staying by your side is much more rewarding than pulling in all possible directions, their focus will return to you and they will stride peacefully by your side. This is a good practice because it doesn’t require much practice and it’s perfectly suited for first-time owners. General suggestions are to always start with really good treats as rewards, like pieces of meat, because that will definitely keep your dog’s attention on you and they will stay very close to you, expecting a new delicious reward.
You can also play a game with your dog, which is sort of an upgrade to the reward system we just talked about, the “follow me” game. The rules are fairly simple here and the results you will get are unequivocal.
Once you start you daily walk with your pet, when he or she starts pulling the leash, stop and take a few steps back while strongly holding the leash. Your backward movement will spur your dog to do the same. The moment that your dog is by your side say “yes” and reward them immediately with a treat they really love, and then continue your walk. You will need to do this regularly in the beginning, until your dog understands even the smallest of movements and starts following you immediately. Do it ten or twelve times while walking, and results will be quick to show.
The trick here is to pay close attention to whenever your dog is on its best leash behavior, even when you’re not playing the “follow me” game. The more you use the game, the easier it will be for your dog to understand what exactly is that you want him or her to do and the faster they’ll progress, as they want more tasty treats. Once the leash-pulling diminishes, use the reward system more rarely and you’ll be all set to walk your dog like a pro.