Ten Tips to Help Teach Your Dog Leash Manners

1-Until your dog learns to walk without pulling, all walks are training sessions. Keep training sessions frequent, short, and fun for the dog.

2-Teaching a dog to walk without pulling requires plenty of rewards. Use highly desirable treats that the dog does not have access to at other times. Soft treats are best so the dog can eat them quickly. Most dogs love sliced wieners, small cubes of cheese, cut-up pieces of cooked chicken, small chunks of jerky treat and freeze-dried liver.

3-Walk at a good, quick pace. If the dog is trotting or running, he has less opportunity to catch a whiff of something enticing, and he is less inclined to stop and eliminate every few steps. You are far more interesting to the dog when you move quickly.

4-All dogs need to sniff and eliminate on walks. Some dogs take forever choosing the exact best spot on which to urinate or defecate! Allow your dog a certain amount of time, then say, “Okay hurry up,” and give a light tug on the collar. Give him another 30 seconds and repeat, “Okay, let’s walk,” in a firmer tone of voice. Pull the dog away from the spot and resume walking. This way you are giving your dog a warning—and if he really wants to urinate in that spot, he knows he has 30 seconds in which to do it!

5-While you are teaching your dog not to pull on the leash, you should use a 4- or 6-foot leash. Use a width and a material that are comfortable for your hand. Chain leashes are awkward to use and should be avoided unless you have a dog who easily chews through leashes.

6-Fearful and insecure dogs benefit from low-key exposure to the world. Rather than going for a walk, try sitting on bench and just hang out with the dog. Talk to him and periodically give him treats when you see any signs that he’s relaxing in the situation.

7-Your dog may respond well if you ask him to engage in other behaviors when he stops forward movement. Ask the dog to sit, down, make eye contact, shake a paw, or execute any convenient behavior that he knows and enjoys performing. Sometimes this helps the dog forget why he was nervous, and so he begins walking again. Of course, you must always praise and reward him for performing these behaviors.

8-Some examples of good collars to use while walking your dog include: a regular buckle collar, a martingale collar (also called a limited slip collar), a head halter/head collar, and a no-pull harness.

9-There are dogs who are reluctant to walk on leash—and instead of pulling, they freeze or turn and pull back toward home. One approach is to lure the dog along by holding tasty treats in front of his face. If the dog is not too afraid, he should follow the treats and gradually will become more comfortable walking with you.

10-Sometimes it can help to start out by walking the dog in less frightening environments. Instead of walking on a busy road, opt for a quiet residential street or a path through the park. When the dog develops a level of comfort in the low-key places, gradually progress to busier areas.

Source: aspca.org

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