Three things that will improve your dog’s loose leash walking behavior, according to an expert trainer

Dog reaches to touch owner's hand
(Image credit: Getty)

If teaching your dog to walk well on a loose leash is proving more than a little challenging, rest assured, you're in the right place! Many pet parents report that their daily walks with their dog are more stress-inducing than stress-relieving, but thankfully, it doesn't have to be that way.

According to Piper Novick, founder and owner of Happy Dogs Training, loose leash walking may seem like a dream, but by applying a few simple tips (and dishing out plenty of the best dog treats), it can soon become a reality.

In a video shared to Instagram, Novick shares three things you can do create the happy and relaxed walks with your dog that you've always wanted. You can view the clip in full below or read on for a summary of each tip.

1) Use a high rate of reinforcement: "In the beginning, you should be using a really high rate of reinforcement when your dog walks with you, rewarding very often. This will encourage your dog to stay in the desired position."

2) Reward with a closed hand: "Give rewards with the hand closest to your dog and keep the loose leash crossing your body."

3) Stop moving if your dog pulls: "Stop walking forward if your dog pulls ahead and wait for them to come back before going again."

Novick says that it's important to be consistent with these steps and to practice regularly, slowly building in duration as you progress. Do this and she says that "you and your furry friend will be walking like a pro in no time!"

Training your dog to walk well on their loose leash will take time and patience. If you find you've spent several months consistently applying the above tips and you're not seeing any positive progress, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for advice and guidance.

Looking for more great training tips? Check out our guide to how to calm a reactive dog for some simple steps you can take to help your pup feel more relaxed and confident when you're out and about.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.