Going on a walk with your canine companion should be a relaxing experience for you both. However, if you have a dog that's constantly pulling on their leash, then you're likely finding your daily strolls more stress-inducing then stress-relieving.
Many pet parents struggle to figure out how to stop a dog pulling on a leash, but the good news is, teaching your dog to walk nicely is easier than you think.
All it takes is being aware of some common loose leash walking mistakes, so that you can avoid them, and understanding how you can best work with your dog to produce the behaviors you want to see.
With that in mind, certified trainer Carolyn, who is also the founder of Good Dog Training has come to the rescue with a handy Instagram post where she's sharing her top five tips to teach your dog to walk nicely. You can check it out below, or read on for a summary...
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1. Reward two things: "Reward your dog for paying attention to you and reward your dog for staying close to you," Carolyn advises.
2. Start easy: "Start in an easy spot, like your living room, backyard, or driveway. Go back and forth in a familiar, low-distraction spot before moving on to a harder location."
3. Help your dog: "Be engaging! Talk to them, look at them, feed them treats," says Carolyn. "Make it fun for them to pay attention to you and walk close to you. You're competing with a lot of distractions."
4. Know how to handle leash pulling: "If your dog pulls, immediately stop walking. Wait for these two things: your dog to look at you and your dog to make the leash loose again. Once they do these, say 'Yes!' and immediately walk again."
5. Don't reward pulling: "If you allow your dog to keep walking when they pull, you're rewarding pulling," Carolyn explains. "Be consistent in stopping EVERY time to get great results. Pulling should never work for your dog. If it sometimes works, they'll keep trying."
Carolyn says it's important to always have lots of treats with you when you go walking with your dog, to tire them out before the walk, and to make sure you bring a fun energy to the walk. Doing these things will make your dog value you more than whatever else is going on around them.
If you require help or support with any aspect of your dog's behavior, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for advice and guidance.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.