Dear Critter Corner: We have a hard time teaching our puppy to walk on a loose leash. He goes for walks daily and we worked on the loose leash training, but he still pulls a good portion of the walk which isn’t fun. What tips can you give us?
Teaching our pups to walk on a loose leash is one of the more difficult tasks we train our pups to do. They naturally have a faster pace than we do, so they will go faster. We tend to give in or disagree with the training and this is how the dog learns that he can sometimes pull. Here are some tips that can help you get started for a slack-leash walk.
Take a look at the equipment. There are many ways that along with exercising can make the process easier. The two I recommend is a front tie-down harness or head halter, both of which help with exercise.
Be competitive with those around you. Our dogs love to sniff and see who was there before them. That means you have to be more interesting than the surroundings to get your dog’s attention. Usually your dog has something your dog loves, just like this really smelly treat gets the job done.
Get involved in training. When walking your dog, pay attention to the training, not the distance you get. I like to start the walk by getting my dog’s attention by treating every step.
Once I have her attention, I step up the steps between the treats. Think of walking with a slack leash like a red-light-green-light game. If the leash is loose, continue, once it is tightened all forward movement should stop. When my dog pulls or the leash is tight, I like to use a reset cue. When I feel tension, I say “Oh-Oh” and ask her to come back to my side and offer a seat. 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 need additional 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]