We’ve all seen those wonderfully, well-behaved dogs that walk next to their owners like they were born to it. But behind every easy-breezy, care free walk is an owner who has put in some time into training their dog properly. Having proper leash manners minimizes the risk that you will be pulled over in a moment of overzealous leash yanking and will make the time more about walking and less about tug-of-war. Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash allows you to take her more places and for longer walks, because it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for the both of you. All it takes is some short training sessions and consistency. With the following guide and 5-10 minutes of training each day, you will be walking up a storm in no time!
- Make sure you have somewhere to train where your dog is not distracted, it might be a good idea to fins a place inside your house or yard to start.
- Keep training sessions short, so that neither of you get overwhelmed. Training for 5-10 minutes a day is perfect.
- Treat your pup with some snacks he really likes and that you can easily carry with you. Train him when he is a little hungry.
- Place your dog sitting next to your left leg, with his shoulder in line with you.
- Make sure you have a snack visible in your hand to get your dogs attention.
- Step off with your left foot, while saying "heel".
- As soon as he takes off, turn around and start walking in the opposite direction.
- Once your dog catches up to you and reaches the correct position next to your left leg say "heel" and give him a treat.
- Repeat the above steps and every time your dog pulls on the leash correct him by saying "heel".
- Initially reward him each time he is in the heel position and walking by your side, it also teaches him to look to you for direction. As he progresses, get him to walk for a longer period beside you before he gets the treat. Try to combine leash-walking with some off-leash time so your dog has some time to enjoy sniffing and going at his own pace. He then knows that when he is on the lead it is time to behave. If your dog doesn’t reliably come on command, find some off-leash dog parks in your area to enjoy.
- Enjoy your walk and continue intermittently rewarding your dog for paying attention and walking with you. Once consistent behavior is established rewards can be in the form of treats, play or just simply loving scratch behind the ears when he is doing the right thing.