1. Start Indoors - starting training indoors gives your dog the opportunity to practice walking on a leash with minimal distractions. There are no other people (outside of your family), dogs, noises, cars, or smells to compete for your dog’s attention. Teach your dog that just because you open the door, it doesn’t mean that you’re going for a walk or that they are allowed to whine or throw a tantrum. This is behavior that we want to discourage, wait till they are calm and then walk outside and back inside. Do this a few times and then go for a short walk around your block.
2. Structured Walks - How does a structured walk differ from a regular dog walk? During a structured walk, your dog’s job is to walk with a loose heel. No sniffing, no greetings, no potty. The point of a structured dog walk is to provide leadership for your dog and teach them to follow you. While the walk may seem restrictive, dogs love structure and thrive withboundaries. Those of you who have kids may have experienced this or are currently experiencing this same need for structure.
3. Walk in Figure 8s - This teaches your dog to focus on you and coordinate their movements with ours. The human leads the way, not the dog during these structured walks. Anytime you feel your dog putting pressure on the leash switch the direction you are going. Mix it up so they do not think that you'll take a right turn each time. Think of it like a dance or a box drill.
4. Reward Check-Ins - Each time your dog checks-in with you (check-in = turns to give you eye contact) on walks, offer a treat, or a toy and verbal praise. Dogs that are paying close attention to their handlers are less likely to pull out in front of them. Talk to your dog to encourage check-ins. Provide as many opportunities as you can for your dog to look up at you and be sure to give him a treat and praise for his check-in.
5. Be Consistent - When you are working on getting your dog to be on a loose leash set your goals for your walk and be consistent with them. If your goal is to work on the heel then go for a short walk and focus on turns. If your goal is to work on the loose leash heel, then work on diswading your dog from sniffing every scent and ignoring other people or dogs.
If you are struggling with your walks and would like to enjoy them, contact one of our trainers today to set up your assessment www.blackpawcanine.com