Leash Training

Walking your dog on a leash doesn’t have to be a struggle. It shouldn’t be something that only a physically strong person can do. When your dog is properly leash trained it is a relaxing and bonding activity for you and your dog.

The Walk is a primal activity for a dog and means a great deal in your dogs mind. By walking your dog properly you further solidify your position as pack leader. Dogs in the wild are lead by Alpha’s and the Beta’s follow. Its about respect and trust. We have all seen what a powerful breed of dog can do to humans that it does not respect or trust. It is your responsibility to ensure that your dog is a well mannered member of your household and society. The Walk is just one aspect of training but it sure is a huge one!

The Goal –

A proper leash walk is fluid and controlled. It is having your dog travel with you right by your side on a relaxed leash. Your dog is focused on the task at hand which is keeping in step with you. Not with his head on the ground or pulling you in any way. Whether your dog is 5lbs or 100lbs it should always be under the control of the human and following, NOT leading.

Tools –

Using the proper tools will make the difference between a pleasant walk vs a frustrating walk.

Our tool of choice for a walk is a ‘Slip Lead’ (collar and leash in one, that tightens around the neck when dog is pulling) This tool promotes proper leash manners and gives you ultimate control of your dog. While walking in crowded areas it gives you complete control of your dogs head and thus its whole body. This is extremely important in scenarios where an off leash dog approaches your leashed dog.

There are several tools that can be used to accomplish the same goal. When used properly these tools can help you accomplish the goal of a well mannered, peaceful walk where you are in the pack leader position.

Slip Lead Dog Leash

Dog Chain Slip Collar

Martingale Dog Collar with Chain

Execution –

 The walk ritual should begin before the leash or collar is slipped over your dogs head. Your dog should be in a calm submissive state, looking at you for direction before putting their leash or collar on. When placing the collar/lead on your dog make sure that it is positioned at the top of the neck, right behind the ears. If the collar or lead is placed too low your corrections will not be as effective.

(treats can be used to reinforce the desired calm, submissive, and attentive behavior. Only give a treat when your puppy is calmly giving eye contact. Use calm praise ONLY as animated praise will raise your dogs energy level and sabotage the goal)

Once your dog is outfitted for the walk approach the door calmly. Before exiting wait for your dog to settle by your side, once again giving you eye contact, looking for your direction. As soon as you have your dogs attention move to exit the door. This moment or action is VERY important! You want to exit with YOU leading the way NOT your dog leading you out the door. If your dog moves to exit first give a verbal correction accompanied by a quick tug at the leash. Repeat this exercise until your dog stays in the follower position and accepts your lead out of the door.

Now outside you are ready to travel with your dog. View this as an exercise for your dog and not play time. A 30 minute structured walk is more tiring for your dog than 1 hour of free playtime.

Keep the lead high on your dogs neck. Periodically stop and readjust if needed. Each time your dog gets distracted and tries to leave the desired position (right on your hip) give the lead a quick and sharp pull to the side. Make sure that after each correction your hand and arm go back to a relaxed position at your side. If your arm is always feeding tension to your dog with the lead being tight, your corrections will be confusing. You want your dog to understand that in the follower position is a loose lead and it feels comfortable for them. Whereas in the wrong position your dog feels tension and it is uncomfortable. If necessary stop and wait until your dog settles by your side and gives eye contact. Then begin the walk once more.

(Some dogs seem to be born stubborn pullers and challenge every step. It can be extremely frustrating and even discouragingDon’t give up! Make sure you are using your tools properly and be consistent. You will have your breakthrough and all of your hard work will pay off!)

Try to repeat this exercise 3 days in a row when first training. ALWAYS end each session on a good note. Each walk will get better and better. At first don’t get discouraged if you don’t cover a lot of ground. As you and your dog progress your walks will get longer and easier.

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