Dog walking should be a fun and relaxing activity for you and your pet. The best way to teach your dog to enjoy walking with his leash is through positive reinforcement. Pulling on your dog’s leash or choking him will not only hurt your dog but will also make him afraid of you. Here are some essential dog walking tips that will help you and your dog have a great time. Remember to be consistent and patient. With practice, you’ll both get there in no time!
Make Your Dog Sit before Attaching the Leash
Start off on the right foot. Before attaching the leash to your dog’s collar, ask him to sit. Do not give in even if he is jumping around excitedly. Wait patiently until he has calmed down so that you can attach the leash. This helps your dog develop self-control and he’ll come to understand that he’ll get what he wants only when he is calm.
Carry Dog Treats
Pack some dog treats for the walk and give them to your furry friend when he behaves well. If your dog stops and looks at you, you can give him a treat. If he walks next to you for a few steps, you can give him a treat. This teaches your dog that by staying close to you during a walk, he’ll be rewarded!
Don’t Pull on the Leash
Your dog won’t learn anything when you jerk or pull on his leash. Dogs have an “apposition reflex”, which means that they are wired to struggle or go against any force. One way to counteract this reflex is to use head halters or chest-clip harnesses. These are designed to provide pressure on the parts of your dog’s body that will cause them to slow down. Make sure that they are not fastened too tight, though! On the other hand, we don’t recommend using other dog walking equipment such as choke chains, slip collars or pinch collars. All of these will hurt your dog in the long run.
If your dog is the one pulling on the leash, just stop in your tracks. Wait for him to understand that he should stop pulling on the leash if he wants to continue walking. You will need to do this consistently and also, be sure to give your furry companion some time to figure out what’s going on.
Pay attention to your dog and your surroundings. If you see another dog or person coming down the street, understand that your dog might become excited or even afraid. If you know that your dog won’t be able to behave when this happens, it might be safer for everyone if you gently lead him in a different direction.
Train on the Go
As you walk, you can ask your dog to respond to basic commands to keep his mind active. You can get him to sit, stand, look at you, or any other commands that you’ve been teaching him. Repeat the commands in a different order so that your dog won’t be able to predict what will happen next.
Another training activity you can try is asking your dog to sit every time you come to a stop. This is especially helpful when you need to pick up your pet’s waste. If you are consistent in doing this, your dog will soon understand how to do this on his own. You can reward him the first few times, then give him his treats randomly once he gets the hang of it.
Remember that your dog is still learning and all he wants is to please you and make you happy. Be patient with him as he learns and becomes attuned to you.