Responsible dog owners never let their dogs off the leash when they’re out of the house unless they’re safely confined within a fenced-in yard. Keeping your dog on a leash is important for many reasons.
Why dog leash training is Important
Dog leash training, and keeping your dog on a leash every time he’s outside, can prevent potential injuries. If your dog is pulling on his leash or walking or running freely, he could knock a young child or elderly person down. And, even the friendliest dog could bite someone or get into a fight with another dog if provoked. You could be sued if your dog’s behavior results in an injury. Dog leash training allows you to keep your dog under control.
Keeping your dog on a leash also allows you to prevent him from eating something unhealthy, like a rotting carcass. Owners who allow their dogs to roam freely are also risking the wrath of their neighbors. Your neighbors won’t be happy if your dog is allowed to roam freely and roots through their trash or digs or eliminates in their yards.
A dog that is allowed to roam freely could also be picked up and taken to the local dog pound. You’ll be required to pay a pick-up fee and you might be fined for not keeping him on a leash, because it’s required by law almost everywhere. There is also the possibility that your dog might run away and never be found.
So, keeping your dog on a leash is extremely important. All responsible dog owners do it, not just to obey the law, but to keep their pets safe, prevent possible injuries and keep their relationships with their neighbors pleasant. And dog leash training is important even if you do already keep your dog on a leash – after all, you probably don’t want to be dragged down the street whenever you go on a walk.
Why Your Dog Pulls on the Leash
Many dogs pull on their leashes – that’s how the “who’s walking who” joke got started. Many dogs pull because they have an abundance of energy and almost endless curiosity. Primarily, however, many dogs pull simply because we let them. The only way to stop it is to stop letting your dog get away with it and stop rewarding him for doing it. Instead of letting your dog “win” by forging ahead and dragging you wherever he wants to go, take charge and stop walking the instant he starts pulling.
Things to Do Before You Even Snap on the Leash
Many dogs get excited as soon as they see their leash, because it usually means they’re about to go on a walk. You can help set the tone for a calm, pleasant walk by teaching your dog to remain calm while you’re attaching the leash to his collar. Require your dog to sit and stay quietly in place while you’re putting on the leash. If your dog starts acting up, simply delay the walk until he’s been sitting calmly for a minute or two. Most dogs learn to sit quietly very quickly, but if you give in and start the walk even though your dog is bouncing around, you’ll be sending the wrong message – that misbehaving doesn’t have any negative consequences
(the delay of the walk).
Tips to Prevent Pulling
To teach your dog better leash manners, try practicing this helpful exercise inside your house – somewhere quiet,
where there are no distractions:
Put the leash on your dog and stand still while holding the leash close to your body. Your dog might start bouncing around in excitement, but if you stand still he’ll eventually calm down. Once he does, give him a treat, praise him and say “let’s go,” taking a single step forward as you do. After that step, stand still once again. If your dog pulls or resumes his bouncing, wait for him to calm down.
Repeat the entire sequence several times, making your dog stay calm a few seconds longer each time before you give him a treat and take another step forward.
You can build up to “two step walks” once your dog has learned to remain calm and not pull during the above “one step walks.” Gradually build up to more and more steps until you’re able to take a normal walk without your dog pulling on the leash.
Despite this dog leash training exercise, your dog might pull on the leash if he becomes excited or distracted while you’re out on a walk. If he does, try these simple techniques to correct him:
During your dog leash training, hold the leash close to your side, giving your dog only a few inches of slack so you can correct him quickly if he starts pulling.
When your dog pulls in any direction, immediately walk in the opposite direction. If he forges ahead, smoothly turn around and start walking back toward where you came from. If he goes off to the right, you turn left, and so on.
Alternatively, you can stop and stand stock still if your dog starts pulling. Then, take a few steps backward while calling your dog. When he comes toward you, praise him and give him a treat, then resume your walk. If it happens again, repeat the process.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
During your dog leash training, it’s important to avoid the following common mistakes:
Letting the walk continue even though your dog is pulling or forging ahead. All this does is reward your dog for his misbehavior. Instead, stop walking immediately and wait for him to calm down before resuming the walk.
Pulling back when your dog pulls on the leash. Most dogs react by pulling even harder.
Using a retractable leash. It will just teach your dog that pulling will allow him to get farther away from you.
The most important things in dog leash training are patience, persistence and a firm commitment to not let your dog get anywhere when he’s pulling on the leash. Forging ahead or running off to the side are unacceptable behaviors. Either stop walking immediately and wait until he calms down, or change direction so your dog doesn’t get to go where he wants. You’re the leader during your walks, not your dog.
I know how it can be tough and time consuming to train a dog and eradicate the bad behaviors. With patience and consistency you will be able to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” but you need to do it the right way.
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