Leash training your dog can be very important for both the health and safety of you, your dog, and everyone else. Sometimes people treat their dogs like contemporaries, and they walk the sidewalks, streets, and trails without much consideration for a leash. And in certain circumstances that’s fine: dog parks, some recreational trails, places outside the city, are great areas for a dog to freely run and play. But a well-trained obedient dog is a safe and happy dog. Dog’s like to know their place in your world (sometimes, in a home where there is no clear separation between the people and the dog, the dog may even decide it’s in charge). And a dog on a leash is a dog that won’t get run over by a car. It’s a dog that can’t chase and misbehave away from its owner’s side. But the flip-side of controlled leash walking is the constant pulling; the dog who walks the owner. How do we change that? Here are a few helpful tips to getting your dog more comfortable and efficient on the leash.
First you need establish that the dog has parameters in addition to its leash. The leash itself is not a be-all-end-all, and usually a dog who is unaccustomed to being walked on a leash will pull at the leash, or test the limits. Teach the dog to heel at your side. It’s an easy process when they are puppies, not only because puppies learn quickly and they don’t have bad habits already ingrained, but also because puppies are small and easy to work with. Now, if you have an older dog, the job will take more determination, only because it’s likely the dog has certain ideas for how it’s allowed to behave in certain scenarios. Leash the dog and walk. Whenever the dog strays too far from your predetermined area of heeling (usually the proper heeling position is with the dog’s head parallel to your knee, but there can be variances) pop the leash lightly and say Heel—or whatever command works for you. If the dog ignores the correction, use attrition. Simply make him or her return to your side before you continue. The dog will learn that it’s not going to go on a walk until it listens. And keep at it. Like anything, it takes time. Build up the skill, daily. It might take a few days, a week, maybe even a month, but eventually your dog will learn to heel at your side, properly.