Dear Critter Corner: We are having a hard time teaching our pup to walk on a loose leash. He gets walks daily and we have been working on loose leash training, but he still pulls a good portion of the walk which is no fun. What are some tips you can give us?
Teaching our pups to walk on a loose lead is one of the harder tasks that we teach our pups. They naturally have a faster pace than us, so they are going to walk faster. We tend to give in or are inconsistent with the training and so the dog learns that they can pull some of the time. Here are some tips that can help to get you on the road to a loose leash walk.
Look at equipment. There are many choices that can help make the process easier, along with the training. The two I recommend are a front attach harness or a head halter, both of these will aid in the training process.
Be competitive with your environment. Our dogs love to sniff and see who was there prior to them. This means that you need to be more interesting than the environment to hold your dog’s attention. Usually having something your dog loves, like that really stinky treat does the trick.
Commit to the training. When you take your dog out for their walk, commit to the training not the distance you get. I like to start off the walk with getting my dog’s attention by treating for every step.
Once I have their attention, I increase the steps between treats. Look at loose leash walking as a game of red-light green-light, if the leash is loose, keep going, once tight all forward movement should stop. If my dog is pulling or there is tension on the leash, I like to use a reset cue. If I feel tension, I say ‘Uh-Oh’ and ask them to come back to my side and offer a sit. I will then take off again, most dogs get the idea after a few resets and will slow down to your pace.
If you are still having problems or would like some extra help, you can schedule a 1:1 Consultation with one of our behaviorists.
Tasha Suda is the Lead Dog Trainer for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Behavior Department. For more information, please visit www.phs-spca.org, call 650-340-7022 or email [email protected]