How to teach your dog to walk on a loose lead?
One of the most frustrating things about having a dog is the constant pulling on the lead. But we have a simple guide that if followed with patience can teach your dogs the manners and ultimately drop this bad habit
Now this can be a lot to take in for your dog, so we advise that you carry out this training indoors away from any external distractions
You will need to get your dog a dog collar and a lead. Many choose a harness although these are better suited to larger or stronger dogs, but whatever your preference is. We like to recommend a flat collar as those that tighten when pulled can cause discomfort to your dog.
In regard to the lead, we recommend a lead of around 4 feet in length. We will teach you how best to use retractable leads and slip leads later.
Holding your dog on the lead in your left hand and a treat in the right hand, lure your dog across your body until they are then standing on your right side facing the same direction as you. Your lead should now be loosely held and crossing over your body, still in your left hand. Then give your dog the treat you are holding in your right hand. The aim of the game is to get your dog to remain at your right-hand side. If they return to the left simply repeat the process.
Your dog is now in the starting position, this time let your dog simply sniff the treat so they are aware that there is a treat available. Once they have sniffed the hand holding the treat raise this hand to your shoulder and instruct them with your chosen cue to walk with you. Popular cue words are “with me” , “heel” and “let’s go”.
If your dog has stepped forward with you quickly give the incentive of the treat to reward their behavior and tell them they are good
Simply repeat step two but move further each time before rewarding with the treat. If your dog pulls away or refuses to move, then lure them back to the starting position. Always avoid the temptation to pull on the lead. If needed you can use the persuasion of a treat to get them back to position, but never give the treat
Once you feel that these three steps have been mastered by your dog simply increase the distance that you step each time and be sure to reward your dog each time they complete a further distance. This will soon become known to your dog that the loose lead is what you expect.
If you are now feeling comfortable enough you can apply what you have learned into an external environment. But remember to be patient as the external distractions may take your dog a little while to process both commands simultaneously
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