Enjoying a nice walk with your dog can be relaxing…until your dog spots a squirrel, another dog or starts pulling for one reason or another. It is important for your dog to learn how to walk on a leash properly. You can teach your dog at any age, in case puppy training is forgotten.
There are different types of leashes available and some people like to use harnesses for their dogs, but a harness may actually allow your dog to pull harder, since it does not put pressure on her neck.
One training tool that trainers recommend is a head halter (or “haltie”), that goes around your dog’s face/snout and hooks into the leash. Your dog will probably hate it and try to take it off during the walk, but she will get used to it. Don’t worry, she will still be able to enjoy treats while wearing it!
Remember, your dog should be taking cues from you during a walk, so be sure to give her the right ones.
When your dog has been walking nicely, by your side, praise her, give her a treat for a job well done. As she keeps doing this, praise her excessively, she has to know she is doing this right. Let there be a positive association.
Let your dog know that pulling is a no-no. If she pulls, you stop. Become a tree. As soon as your dog starts pulling during your walk, stop walking. Wait for your dog to come back to your side before proceeding. You can call for her to come to you, and when she does, praise her. Don’t start walking again until she is walking well. Your dog needs to learn that in order to move forward, she can’t pull on the leash.
If your dog has a tendency to want to chase other dogs or squirrels, be proactive. As soon as you spot the other dog or animal, create distance. Cross the street if you can do so safely, or redirect your dog’s attention by asking her to do a trick and then rewarding her with a tasty treat.
And one final tip, be a polite and safe dog owner. Don’t assume that all other dogs are friendly and are sociable. Always ask other dog owners if their dogs are friendly before approaching with your own dog.