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Loose Leash Walking with Your Dog - Training Techniques and Tips
Posted on : 02/23/2017 02:57:12 AM

Quite a few dog parents expect their dogs to inherently know that they're supposed to walk along with them on the road. This isn't a dog's natural behavior. You'll never see a group of dogs walking in the same line or in a particular formation. They're always moving at a different pace and in a loose group formation. There's no leader among dogs, and they join and leave the group as per their wish.

Dogs aren't naturally skilled in walking along with their parents; however, they can be trained to ensure you don't have to pull the leash or run behind them. Here are a few useful techniques that are of great help.

1. Stop-and-Stand-Still Technique

Why are dogs able to pull the leash and drag you along? It is because they do that, we inadvertently reinforce it by moving ourselves and allowing the pet to go where he wants to go. This scenario can be changed with the stop-and-stand-still technique. When the dog pulls the leash, stand still and firm like a tree. Don't move until the pull of the leash relaxes and the dog stops pulling and focuses on you. Start walking at a comfortable pace and repeat the same technique whenever the dog pulls the leash.

2. The Reverse-Direction Method

This method is faster than the Stop-and-Stand-Still technique. Whenever the dog pulls the leash while walking along with you, stop and turn in the opposite direction cueing the dog with the 'let's go back' order. Remember to not jerk the leash when turning in the opposite direction. The idea is to train the dog and not punish him. Keep moving in the reverse direction until the pull of the leash is relaxed and then turn back to walk comfortably. Repeat this every time your pet pulls the leash.

3. In-house Loose Leash Walking Practice

If your dog has gotten into the habit of pulling the leash continuously when outdoors, it is better to train the dog indoors initially. Distractions at home are fewer, which makes it easier to train the pet, in turn, helping the dog focus on you.

If you have a fenced area outside your house, it can be the perfect place to practice, but if you don't have access to it, you can walk in the hallway with your dog and practice leash control.

Remember to train the dog indoors to feel confident of taking him out. Several dog parents have to deal with legal cases of children bitten by dogs just because they took their untrained dogs to public places. Training a dog indoors is always a safer option.

4. The Focused-Walking Technique

The focused-walking technique involves the owner to keep the focus of the pet towards him, thereby discouraging the distractions caused by the outside environment. Keep talking to your pooch and maintaining his focus on yourself.

Remember, dogs aren't great multitaskers. If they're focused on you, they're unlikely to notice other stimuli. This technique also helps you in bonding with your pet. Dogs love it when their parents give them attention.

What NOT to Do during the Training
  • Whenever your dog is on leash, consider it as a training session, but don't yank for not obeying. Negative reinforcement is a highly misunderstood concept and definitely does not include punishing dogs in order to train them.
  • Don't assume that different breeds require different leash training. Positive reinforcement works equally well with every dog.

  • Don't think that food training is bribery. Training your dog by rewarding him with food will only help you in faster training. A motivating reward will encourage the pet to obey your instructions.

  • Do not believe in the 'Alpha-dog theory'. Intimidating or overpowering your dog into submission is an erroneous approach and must never be followed. Remember, dominance-based training entails extremely disrespectful behavior towards your dog.

Regardless of the method you choose to leash train your dog, don't forget to reward him for his efforts. Be generous. Recompensing the dog with treats every time your command is obeyed is a great way of training your beloved pet. Even if you don't have a treat with you, applaud the dog for the effort and show your love. To make sure your dog walks with you, the dog must feel that all good things are near you than in the surrounding world.
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