When it comes to dog walking and teaching your dog how to behave on a lead, the first thing we would like to talk about is patience. As with any other type of training, it all comes down to how you train your pup. The calmer and rewarding you are, the better chance your dog will pick up the right behaviours more quickly.
First things first: learn how to walk your dog on a lead
According to dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, walking in front of your dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader. If your dog walks ahead of you, this means they think they are the pack leader, which can lead to unwanted behaviour such as defending the pack aggressively. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk. They need to follow your lead!
How to walk your dog like an alpha
One of the most effective ways to start teaching a dog to walk properly on a leash is to reward the dog for paying attention to you and letting you be the leader when out for a walk. Make the walk a pleasant experience by using special treats to keep the right distance. Chicken or roast beef always go down well.
“Happiness is going for a dog walk.” - Anonymous
By doing this, your dog will naturally pull less on the lead and walk nicely, slightly behind you. For better control, Millan suggests using a shorter lead.
Lead before and after the walk
Before you leave for your walk, make sure your dog sits by the door and waits patiently as you grab the lead. This is also applicable upon returning from your walk. When you get home, have your dog wait while you put the lead away. Once inside your home -- in order to fully make this experience a rewarding one for them -- make sure to provide a small meal or treat after the walk. This further reinforces the concept that your dog "worked" for the food. Keep doing this until it becomes routine. Soon your dog will be walking like a well-behaved and well-trained four-legged citizen.
Again, keep patience before pace
Walking on a lead is a skill that takes time and practice for both dog owner and dog. It will most likely not happen overnight so make sure to celebrate small improvements and successes -- this includes rewarding yourself too! If your dog, however, continues to pull hard in their attempt to be the pack leader, consider working with a certified trainer. A trainer can help you adjust your dog’s behaviour so everyone involved with the walk stays happy and safe.
If you have any questions in regards to finding a dog walking trainer or want to discuss your lead options, please pop in store or give us a call: 09 448 2227.