Mastering the art of loose leash walking is often a top priority for dog owners. After all, those seamless strolls with your four legged friend by your side, leash gently slack, are something to look forward to after a long day.
However, anyone who's attempted to teach this skill knows that it's often easier said than done. You might have tried everything from various training techniques to the best dog treats and still not nailed down how to stop a dog pulling on a leash. But not all dogs catch on at the same pace, and what works for one pup might not work for another.
Fear not, Melissa Goodman, a certified dog trainer who trained at the Victoria Stilwell Academy For Dog Training & Behavior took to the Mission Pawsitive Instagram page to share three invaluable tips for achieving loose leash walking success.
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So, how can you achieve the art of loose leash walking? According to Melissa Goodman's advice on Instagram, it all begins with a few fundamental principles.
1) Focus on Your Dog as Much as You Want Them to Focus on You
Loose leash walking is a team effort. While it's natural to want your dog to pay attention to you, remember that it works both ways. To encourage your dog to focus on you, you should also devote your attention to them and avoid distractions like texting as you walk. By staying engaged with your dog during walks, you create an environment of cooperation and connection.
2) Reward the Small Things
Dogs are constantly offering desirable behaviors, often in the form of small actions that are easy to miss. It could be as simple as a moment of walking beside you without pulling or glancing up at you during the walk. These are the moments that deserve recognition and reward. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in shaping your dog's behavior.
3) Let Your Dog Sniff
Dogs experience the world primarily through their noses. Sniffing is a vital and enriching activity for them. While it's tempting to maintain a brisk pace during your walks, don't forget to allow your dog to explore the scents around them. Sniffing provides mental stimulation and fulfillment.
By working together, paying attention to the small wins, and letting your dog indulge in their sniffing adventures, you can pave the way for a more enjoyable and harmonious walking experience for both you and your precious mutt.
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With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.