Loose-leash walking allows you to walk your dog without muscle-tearing tugging that can leave your shoulders feeling strained and your nerves feeling shot.
When put into effect, the skill lets your pup trot by your side while still ensuring your furry friend doesn’t bolt for a nearby cat and successfully make its great escape.
To benefit from loose-leash walking, you’ll need to train your dog for this specific skill. This training ensures that your dog can stroll around the neighborhood in a relaxed fashion without putting pressure on its leash.
When executed correctly, you’ll achieve a pleasant walking experience for both you as owner and the canine alike.
This training is often provided by specialized experts. That said, if you aren’t interested in recruiting dog-training professionals’ expertise, you can also start practicing this walking style with the help of a DIY training guide, like this one from Snowy Pines White Labradors.
To streamline the process, here’s the 411 on all the insider secrets you’ll need to master loose leash walking with your dog.
The secret lies in patience, good behavior, and understanding
To unlock the advantages of loose leash walking, you must endure a long road of essential steps. From establishing trust with your furry friend to encouraging positive behavior, you won’t want to overlook a single tip or trick.
Unfortunately, you can’t wave a magic wand and have your pup master loose-leash walking. For optimal results, you’ll need to commit the time and energy necessary, demonstrate patience with your dog, work with its specific behavior, and understand its overall reaction to your training approach.
By keeping tabs on these critical aspects and showing consistency in your training strategy, you can help your dog learn how to walk on a loose leash in no time.
The right supplies make a world of difference
The secret to successful loose-leash walking, you need to have the right equipment at ready access. By purchasing the right equipment, you can ensure that your dog trusts you during a leisurely walk and will not find a reason to pull on its leash at the first sign of a potential hazard.
These items include the following supplies:
Apart from posing a risk of injury to your dog, a retractable leash also makes it difficult for you to motivate your dog to participate in loose-leash walking. To perfect your dog’s walk with a loose leash, make sure you’re using a non-retractable leash with a standard six-foot length.
Collar or harness
To put the leash on your dog, you must purchase the right accessories for your pet. A typical collar works wonders in this aspect, as does a chest harness. Depending upon your dog’s temperament, obedience level, and unique preferences, you can choose either of these pieces of equipment.
To train your dog through positive reinforcement, have a few treats handy with you at all times. This ensures that you can encourage good behavior in your dog and make the training process more enjoyable for both of you.
Start your daily walks with the supplies ready
Once you’ve acquired the necessary equipment, you can proceed to step two. Because long-leash walking takes time to take effect, you must exhibit the associated behavior every single day. By following the same series of steps in your day-to-day, you can show your dog the consistency in your approach, which increases their motivation to follow your lead.
Let your dog acclimate to the leash
Make sure to familiarize your dog with the leash by allowing it to sniff and play with it at their leisure. Once your dog personally confirms that the leash poses no harm, your pup will be willing to trust it more readily when you attach it to its collar before an evening stroll.
Practice in a safe space
Give your dog plenty of time to practice in a safe space, such as your backyard. In this safe zone, all you’ll need to do is take a few laps on a familiar path with the leash on. Once your dog can see that walking by your side without tugging at its leash is easy, it will follow that practice in other settings outside these safe spaces, too.
Don’t be negative
There is a high chance that your dog may try to stay ahead of you during practice. When that happens, make sure not to pull on the leash and avoid scolding your dog. Raising your voice or yanking on the leash can set off alarm bells in your dog’s mind, causing them to retreat.
If you emotionally rattle your pet, you will disrupt your training sessions, so steer clear of these negative reinforcement strategies at all costs.
Use treats when necessary
Instead of training your dog with negative reinforcement tactics, encourage your dog to walk by your side by rewarding them with treats when they display the desired behavior. Whenever your dog tries to pull away, take a few steps backward and call it by name.
If your pup responds to this correction, you can then reward their obedience with treats. You can also give treats after each successful round of loose-leash walking, which allows your dog to understand that not walking ahead of their owner is met with positive results.
Patience, patience, and more patience
Patience is a highly critical aspect of training your dog. This sentiment reigns particularly true for loose leash walking. As you repeat the same activities and behavior consistently, your dog accepts these actions as normal behavior.
By following these tips, you can get the hang of loose leash walking in no time. By enforcing loose-leash walking standards, you can make the most out of your leisurely walks with your furry friend.
No longer are the days where you have to walk at an uncomfortably fast pace to keep up with your curious canine. Show your dog who’s in charge by incorporating loose-leash walking into their exercise routine.