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Charlie is your energetic Rottweiler who makes sure no day is boring. He sprints around the house at break-neck speeds and leaps up as soon as he hears someone open the front door. Because he's so lively, you know he needs a decent amount of exercise. But your Rottweiler isn’t used to leaving the house without a leash. So you’re worried that whenever you head out he's going to pull you across a road or into a bush. The problem is, if you don’t train Charlie on a leash, he will never be able to properly enjoy walking through parks and fields.
Fortunately, Rottweilers are pretty smart dogs, so they should be comfortable and content on a leash in no time at all. Getting over this initial hurdle will also mean you will be able to relax and enjoy walks too. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry when you see another dog approaching in the distance?
The main command you will need to use when your dog pulls is ‘heel’. This simple word will hopefully restore order to the walk and give you back control. To help them understand that word, you will need to use a tasty incentive. Unsurprisingly, Rottweilers are like most dogs in that they will do anything for food. Apart from the ‘heel’ command, you will also need to get your Rottweiler familiar and comfortable wearing a leash at home, so they don’t go into overdrive as soon as you clip the leash.
Don’t worry if it takes several weeks to get the hang of walking on a leash, it isn’t instinctual for many dogs. If you’re lucky they may pick it up in just a week or so and then training will be short and sweet. It’s important you train your Rottweiler to walk on a leash early on, as any bad habits will harder to break the older they are.
For this training, the most important item will be a leash. It can be short or long, depending on how much freedom you would like to give the dog. Because Rottweilers are strong, you may also want to use a body harness. Not only will this minimize the strain on their neck, but it will give you greater control.
Make sure you have some yummy treats or a toy to motivate them. It’s also important you stay calm and patient when you train. Anger may only frustrate your Rottie and make training harder. So stay upbeat and positive throughout for the best results!
The Lure Method
The first thing you want to do is get your Rottweiler comfortable with a leash. So staying calm and relatively quiet, clip the leash on at home. Then leave it on for 20 minutes or so. Do this a few times throughout the day. This will help keep your dog calm when you do take them out for a walk.
Now secure your Rottweiler to a leash and head out for a walk. But as you go, hold a treat at their head height firmly in your hand. You’re going to use this to keep them close to your side and concentrating.
Stop & reward
After you have walked around 10 yards, stop and give them the treat. Also give them some praise and show them how pleased you are. This will slowly get them into a habit of staying close by.
Now hold out another treat and begin walking again. However, this time walk 15 yards before stopping to give them a treat. Continue to build up the distance each time you walk. After a while they will be in the habit of calmly walking by your side on a leash.
Change the reward
If your dog is getting distracted and losing interest in the lure, you may want to change it. Try a different item of food. Something smelly or meat often works well. You can even use a toy.
The Verbal Cue Method
Put your Rottweiler on a leash and go for a walk as you normally would. But make sure you have a pocketful of treats with you. Also don’t give them too much freedom on the leash.
As soon as the dog edges in front and pulls on the leash, give a firm ‘heel’ command. Don’t shout as you don’t want to scare them. But make sure they will have heard you and can tell you are displeased.
As you give the command, stand still. Don’ worry if your dog keeps pulling for a little while. Eventually they will catch on and return to your side. You may also want to hold up a treat to encourage them if they are particularly stubborn.
When they do return to your side, give them the treat and some praise. Don’t overdo the praise, keep it short and sweet as you want to get back on with walking. Also use a small treat, otherwise, they may pile on the pounds as they get the hang of it.
Now you can start walking again. But next time your Rottweiler pulls, stop and give the command again. Continue to do this every time and they will soon get in the habit of not pulling altogether. At this point you won’t need the treats either.
The Sharp Turn Method
Stay calm as you secure your Rottweiler to their leash. If they can see you’re excited, this will get them worked up and make them harder to control. So stay quiet and head for the door.
As soon as the dog pulls, you need to react. So turn around sharply and start walking in the other direction. The sharp shock will quickly bring them back into line.
Now you just need to react in this way whenever they pull. It can be frustrating to start with if you’re just walking backwards and forwards. But a little bit of patience now will be worth it when you have a well-trained Rottweiler that can walk on a leash later down the line.
To speed up the process, you can give them some praise when they turn around and catch up with you. This will encourage them to always stay by your side and walk calmly. Soon enough they will associate staying near you with affection from their owner.
Using a body harness is a good idea for this method, as it reduces the pull on their neck when you turn. You can find them from most local pet stores and they are relatively inexpensive.
By Olivia Draper
Published: 04/17/2018, edited: 01/08/2021