Going for a walk with your canine best friend can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise together. The leash is an important tool during walkies. Even a furbaby with excellent recall and heeling skills can have moments of unpredictable behavior, and a leash helps to keep him safe from some of the most common hazards you may encounter when out and about. These could include busy roads, getting lost and other animals, particularly other dogs who could be off the leash.
While some dogs will walk quite happily on the leash, others are much less content to be restrained in this way and will regularly pull against it in a bid to get you to walk them where they want to explore. This can be a nuisance for owners who want to enjoy a peaceful walk and can make it difficult if not impossible for others – such as elderly, frail or children – to be able to safely walk their pet.
Nevertheless, there are ways in which you can encourage your canine companion to walk nicely on the leash. Here are our top tips to stop your dog from pulling on the leash.
It is difficult to expect a dog to tolerate a leash as soon as you first put one on him, so one of the best things to do is to get him used to wear one before you even step foot outside the door. Get your pooch to stand or sit quietly and then attach the leash to his collar. Reward him with praise and a little treat for maintaining calm and tolerant behavior. This will help prevent him from becoming too excited every time the leash comes out!
If your canine pal gets overexcited at the sight of the leash, he may start to jump around or vocalize loudly. If this is the case, put the leash away and consider letting him run around in the yard for a while to burn off some of that excess energy. Then start the process again.
Setting the pace can be instrumental in preventing your dog from pulling at the leash. A slower pace is much calmer and relaxed, a vibe that your pet will be able to pick up on and hopefully harmonize with. Try and ensure that the leash remains slack, and take some little treats out with you so that you can reward your furbaby for walking nicely beside you.
Dogs learn through habit, so by setting the rules for your walks from the outset, your pet will quickly learn that failing to follow them will not get him what he wants. Each time he starts to pull on the leash, causing it to become tight, immediately stop walking. Quietly but firmly recall your canine to your side. Make him wait for 10-15 second before you recommence the walk. If he pulls again, repeat the process. However, if he begins to walk nicely, reward him with a treat. Your furry friend will quickly identify which behaviors are more desirable to you.
When it comes to training your dog not to pull on a leash, there are two main strategies to follow – reward the good behavior, and prevent rewarding your dog for undesirable actions. With time and patience, you and your dog will be able to enjoy a relaxing, loose-leash walk together every time. Contact Country Veterinary Clinic for further advice.