Taking dogs for walks gives them a chance to explore the area and do their business. While these walks should be a good experience for you and your dog, they can become stressful if your dog needs some help learning to walk on a leash. Otherwise, your walks can become a battle of wills as your dog tries to pull you where they want to go. Instead of keeping walks short to avoid these struggles, keep the following tips in mind for helping your dog learn to walk on a leash.
Use a High-Quality Leash
A poorly made leash can make walks uncomfortable and even dangerous if it breaks and your dog runs loose. Choose a durable, high-quality leash for your dog that provides a secure and comfortable way to walk them. Look for leashes with heavy-duty stitching and a strong metal swivel snap for harnesses or collars. Using a high-quality leash can give you peace of mind, especially if you have a bigger dog who tends to pull.
Consider Using a Harness
If you use a leash and collar with a dog who pulls, this can put too much strain on their neck. This could lead to injuries and also make walks unpleasant for your dog. Consider using a harness that you can attach the leash to instead of a collar. Some harnesses are designed to encourage dogs to pull less when walking on a leash. With a harness on, you won’t have to worry about too much strain on your dog’s neck during walks. If you use a no-pull harness, you might also have an easier time walking your dog.
Bring Tasty and Nutritious Treats or Snacks for Training
Even with a harness, training your dog to walk on a leash is helpful. Training helps dogs learn what is expected of them when they’re on a leash, which can lead to more enjoyable walks for you and your dog. The key to training is making it a rewarding experience for your dog. A great way to do this is by giving your dog tasty treats as rewards. Keep healthy and delicious treats handy on your walks, so you can easily give one to your dog each time they do what is expected of them, such as stopping instead of pulling. Over time, your dog will associate the right behavior with earning a treat.
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Stop and Change Direction to Reduce Pulling
When your dog pulls on the leash, pulling on it yourself can turn into a game of tug-of-war. Instead of pulling on the leash, stop right where you are and change direction. Your dog will learn that pulling doesn’t help them get to where they want to go. When you do this consistently during walks, you’re helping your dog learn not to pull on the leash.
Work on Loose Leash Training
Holding the leash tight can make dogs more likely to pull during walks. Walking your dog with a loose leash that roughly forms a J shape gives them a chance to explore their surroundings more, which can lead to less frustration and pulling on their part.
Let Your Dog Sniff Around
Keep in mind that walks provide dogs with an opportunity to take in all kinds of information, such as other dogs that have been in the area. Your dog might also leave scent markings behind to show that they were around. Giving your dog time to sniff and explore can make walks an exciting and enjoyable experience, so try to avoid rushing them.