Is there such a thing as loose leash walking or is it some mystical illusion never to be seen by ordinary folk?
It is real and it is an attainable goal!
Training your dog to walk on a loose leash is one of the more challenging behaviors to teach him. It’s not a natural instinct for most dogs to walk consistently near their owners for long periods of time through many distractions. Instead, our dogs are often in a hurry to get somewhere, become busy following their noses, and are impulsive and want to chase a critter or visit a friend. On the other hand, we on the other end of the leash find it very difficult to be consistent in practicing loose leash walking with our dogs every single time the leash is put on the dog until it is taken off at the end of the walk. The leash often becomes a steering device to pull the dog in the direction we want to go or to slow the dog down to our pace. If your dog has a long history of pulling on leash, it will take time and patience to retrain him to walk on a loose leash.
Some Helpful Tips
Use a no-pull harness to help with training: No pull devices such as front clip harnesses (Easy Walk and Sensation) can be used to assist you and your dog while you work on loose leash walking. The way the front clip harnesses work is by gently redirecting the dog back toward you if he pulls. It’s like power steering for your dog! They are a great tool to give you a bit of leverage and relief while training a strong dedicated puller. These devices are not the “solution” but equipment to be used while you do your loose leash training.
At home warm up: You may notice that your dog pulls more at the beginning of your walk than at the end. One way to help reduce the early pulling is give your dog some aerobic exercise at home before your walk. A 10-15 minute game of fetch will help take the edge off.
Consistency is key: Every time you put the leash on your dog you have a training moment. Being consistent, working on loose leash walking exercises, and not allowing your dog to move forward while pulling on the leash will be key to having a dog who walks nicely on leash.
If loose leash walking has been a struggle for you and your dog, our intermediate level classes will teach you all the exercises to have your dog strolling along nicely with you in no time. Join one of our upcoming Intermediate Manners or Puppy Manners Part 2 classes to learn the fundamentals and practice them with expert guidance.