Dogs that take their owners to a walk and pull them around have a problem. The owner hates the walk, and hence he/she shortens it. The dog, who simply wanted to explore the world loses and the owner is upset. Teaching the dog to walk nicely on a leash is one of the foundations of a good quality of life for both owner and dog.
- Prepare in advance a clicker and some highly reinforcing treats.
- Hold the leash and the clicker in one hand and hold the treats in the other hand.
It is recommended to use a treat pouch – it makes things so much easier. (to find where you can get treat pouches – click here)
- Start walking with your dog in a quiet environment – you can even start at home.
- Every time the leash is tight – stop dead. Wait a few seconds. If the dog turns around to look at you – click and let him/her come to you to get the treat and start walking again (it is important to deliver the treat near you and not walk to the dog to deliver it).
If, the dog is stuck at the end of the leash without turning back to you – turn around and start walking in the other direction. The dog will follow you and you can treat when he is by your side again.
- As long as the leash is loose keep walking and click and treat every time the dog is by your side and especially when the dog is looking at you.
In the beginning, you will have to click and treat very generously, but gradually you will be able to increase the loose leash walking duration between treats.
- Again, if the dog loses his/her concentration and starts pulling again, stop dead and repeat step 4.
- Use environmental reinforcers to teach this behavior. Your dog wants so many things while he/she is outside. If the dog wants to sniff a tree or mark it, let him/her do it as long as they walk nicely towards that tree. If they start pulling, turn around and start over. Keep doing the exercise until the dog walks next to you all the way to the tree, and then let him/her sniff/mark the tree.
- This behavior can take a while to teach. You need to be patient and you will gradually see improvement.