Enjoying a walk with your dog entails some psychology on your part: how well do you know your dog, and what is his motivation? Is he food driven? Does he enjoy sniffing around? Does he want to chase? Or maybe all of the above! In any case, teaching a dog to walk without pulling does NOT come naturally. Practicing patience on your part will pay off when you repeat the exercises in the earlier post. As long as you do not give in to inappropriate behaviors, your dog will learn that he ONLY goes where he wants to go, or gets a treat, or is allowed to run off-leash IF he isn’t pulling on the leash. This obedience training will cause him to ask for permission by doing exactly what you want him to do. Here are Tara Schatz’s practical tips for teaching your dog not to pull:
Be interesting and unpredictable – The goal is to keep your dog connected to you at all times. If he doesn’t know what to expect, he will pay closer attention. You can make your training exercises more interesting by speeding and slowing your pace, walking in circles, or changing direction often. Reward your dog generously for sticking with you.
End every walk on a positive note – While learning a new skill, your dog’s attention span will be short. Five-minute walks may be all you the two of you can handle. It’s better to end things successfully, even if you didn’t get very far.
Understand what it takes to make your dog successful – Your dog may be able to walk beautifully around the yard, but will pull like crazy walking in the park. If your dog simply can’t do what you ask, try reducing the distractions or the amount of time you are working together. Remember that even solid skills will be tested in new and exciting environments.
Exercise your dog before leash walking – While this may not be possible in every situation, you will find that your dog is easier to work with if they have expelled some energy before a training walk.
Avoid on-leash dog greetings – Allowing your dogs to greet other on-leash dogs can often cause a heap of trouble. Dogs on leash are not able to use their natural body language to communicate, and straining to be close to another dog creates tension that can lead to unpredictable behavior.
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