Being a responsible dog owner means taking care to invest in your animal’s wellbeing with regular visits to the vet, exercise, training, and solid nutrition.Continue...
Taking your dog out on a walk has many healthy benefits while exposing them to new smells, places and even people. If you think about the added exercise you both will get it’s a win win for everyone! There are however some things to avoid that will make the experience even better. I’ve added a short list of leash walking tips that you can practice and become a better dog walking team.
The Eyes Have It
If your pet is not paying any attention to you once that leash is clipped on, the chance of him/her doing it while walking with distractions at every corner are slim. A training tip that you can should be practicing every day is great eye contact between you and your dog. I set myself up a few times a day with some tasty treats and then call my dog’s name and when he looks up into my eyes, I will say “yes” and reward. Make sure you are only calling their name once and that you reward every time. Soon your dog will begin to check in with you even when you are not asking for it. Having a dog that knows to look up at you on a walk can help in many ways. the most important one being if you need to avoid any trouble while walking. It could be another person walking by or a barking dog trying to interfere. Practicing great eye contact is a staple towards many good behaviors but leash walking is at the top.
Leaving your house for a short walk with your pup sounds simple, unless you do not have the right tools for the job. I like to use a 4 or 6 foot leash which gives your dog plenty of room to sniff and still allows for easy control. I never leave home without having some really good treats in my pocket. If you feel like it’s too much to take along food and hold onto a leash then I will suggest a small training pouch that you can easily clip onto a belt or pocket.
If you are walking along and not aware of your surroundings this is a quick way to an injury. When I’m out on a walk I am always looking around to see what surprises could pop out or come running around the corner. If your dog sees another person or squirrel or even another dog and decides to take off right after them and you are not prepared it could be painful. There is nothing worse than a shoulder injury or being dragged to the ground. If you are able to spot any distraction and want to avoid being yanked around you will need to get your dogs attention. Call your dog close to your body and get their eye contact while paying them for doing it. If they are focusing on you then reward them until the other distraction has moved along. Prepare for the best, expect the worst!
I’ve yet to meet a dog that did not pull on a leash at some stage of training. Dogs understand how much fun it is to be outside. Freedom from the family room window and a ticket to explore the yard! It is an impulse control that with consistent training should improve. The goal here is to keep moving along with your dog near your side while out walking. There is no miracle tip or cure but it comes down to putting in the practice time together. If you’re feeling a strong pull coming from the other end of the leash simply stop moving. Pulling will soon mean the walk has come to a halt. This may frustrate your dog into moving back towards your body. Talk to them, reward them for being next to you and try again. Another signal you can give is when the pulling begins, call your dog back to you and turn to walk in the other direction a few steps. Start to move right or left and mix up the direction you’re going. As your dog begins to move along with the direction changes be sure to reward and praise. It is easier to begin leash training in an area without much distraction. As your dog learns to pay attention and not yank you in every direction you can begin to slowly add things that make the training harder. If your dog is not exposed to different distractions it will most likely be too hard to handle for them while on the road.
Start your leash training today and get out and see the world!