Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

© Dog Training Suite

Apr 29, 2008

Pulling on a leash is a common behavior problem that can be stopped with patience and consistent training.

Walking with your dog is one of the simple pleasures in life. Walking is also good for you, and it is essential to the health of your dog. Dogs that are cooped up inside or left alone in the backyard all day, tend to become anxious, destructive, hyper active or overweight. In fact, most behavior problems are a result of lack of exercise. Unfortunately, many dogs are not getting this essential exercise because their human companions cannot control them on a leash. Being pulled around the neighborhood when you’re attached to a leash is stressful for you and can cause serious injury to your dog’s neck. If you’re wondering, “who is walking whom” here are a few tips to make your walks more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Walk with Confidence

Your dog needs to know that you are in charge. Dogs are pack animals, and each dog in the pack has his place. You must carry yourself as if you’re the alpha dog (dominant dog, leader). Dogs are very perceptive and intuitive creatures; they can sense when you are afraid or nervous. As you walk, hold your head high and walk like you are charge.

Stop and Command

Your dog is pulling because he wants to get somewhere, and fast. If you teach him that pulling on his leash will not get him to his desired destination, he will more than likely stop the behavior. If you allow him to continue to pull, you are reinforcing a negative behavior. Next time your dog pulls, stop and say “no pull.” It is very important to be consistent. You must repeat the stop and command each time he pulls. As you walk, tell your dog “with me” to instruct him to stick by your side. When he does walk next to you without pulling, give him a soft treat (a treat that crumbles will distract him) and tell him “good boy.”

Turn and Command

This technique is very similar to the stop and command. When your dog pulls on his leash, tell him “no pull” and turn around and walk in the opposite direction. This will teach your dog that pulling will not get him where he wants to go. In fact, it will take him further from his desired location.

If you’ve tried the techniques and are not having success, you might want to try a collar designed to correct pulling.

* Gentle Leader – This collar fits around the nose of your dog. Although people often mistake the gentle leader for a muzzle, it is not. Your dog can eat and drink while wearing the leader. This is a very humane collar if fitted and worn properly, but some dogs have a difficult time adjusting to a collar worn around the head.

* Harness – A harness is worn around the midsection of the dog, therefore taking pressure off of his neck. If you need to give your dog a quick tug to keep him from pulling, it is much safer to have force directed to his midsection.

* Choke Collar – A choke collar constricts as your dogs pulls. These collars are quite controversial. They will stop your dog from pulling, but they might injure him in the process. Check with your veterinarian or trainer before purchasing this type of collar.

* Pinch Collar – As the name implies, this collar pinches as your dog pulls. If your dog is wearing this collar, give him a sharp tug when he pulls. Although it is also controversial, trainers often use it as opposed to the choke collar.

The Easy Dog Walk is the most effective technique to get your dog to stop pulling. We've developed this method over ten years of learning what works and what does not.

To Your Success,

Chad Thompson
Canine Behavior Expert



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