Many pet owners assume that their dogs will naturally learn walking on a leash. Just like most pets, you need to teach your dog desirable tips and tricks, including leash walking. It is important to teach it while it is still young. Let it be familiar with his collar, leash and harness from the first few days it sets foot in his new home.
The first thing you need to do is to introduce your dog to his harness collar and leash. Install these items during play time. This way, the dog will find fun wearing them. He may actually look forward to the practice. Put these items on the neck for short periods each typical day. In future, he will know that collar wearing time is walking time.
Teaching Your Dog Cues
Next, make suitable walking cues for your dog. A good example is saying the word ‘yes’ repeatedly. Some people prefer cluck their tongues or making other sounds. Whatever cue you choose, stick to it. As the dog becomes familiar with your cue, he will respond to it better.
Choose a quiet area to avoid distractions. If the dog is on his collar and leash, make the sound. When the dog looks you because he has heard the sound, reward him with a suitable treat. After several repetitions, you will notice that he not only looks at you, but also walks in your direction.
After a couple of times of his walking to you, back up several steps before giving him the treat or reward. Be patient of he shows no reaction to your cues. In addition, avoid rewarding him before he actually responds.
Know that the attention span of puppies is very short. Therefore, end the cue training practice when he is still responding well. Otherwise, he will get exhausted or distracted fast and possibly dislike the session.
Practice Dog Walking with a Leash
This step should follow the above-described steps. Start with walking him indoors. Practice making several steps with your dog in a room with no distractions. You need to get him used to walking with the leash first and then walking with the leash and minding distractions such as cars, people, other dogs and pets.
When he makes several steps, offer him suitable treats and praise him for learning fast. Just like in the previous step, teach him how to come to you. This lesson is important because he learns where to go at certain times of the day. If a different family member will handle the dog in future, let him or her also understand these steps.
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After several sessions of walking indoors, it is time to graduate your puppy to the real world. This is where he encounters most challenges. He will come across distractions in the form of new sights, sounds and smells.
Fix your eyes firmly on his eyes. This way, you can tell if and when he is distracted. If he wants to lunge on anything, make the familiar cue sound so that he can focus on you. Like always, reward him for learning a new trick.
Challenges When Leash Training
You do not expect your puppy to be 100 per cent obedient, he will tug on the leash with his teeth, pull it and pull other undesirable stunts. If he pulls the leash, pretend that you are a tree. Stand firmly and make no movements. Do not jerk or pull the leash. After a couple of seconds of pulling, he will give up and move to you.
If he wants to run after other objects or pets, make the cue sound before he creates distance and then reward him when he responds. When he barks, it is probably because he is not yet familiar with the sights and sounds. Let him exercise more regularly. Within several weeks, you can expect positive results.
Importance of Dog Walking on a Leash
When you teach your dog leash walking, you establish mutual communication. For example, you will notice the dog pulling tighter or moving more aggressively than is normal. This may be his signal of some danger lurking in the surroundings.
The opposite is also true. Although you may not notice it, your dog will know when you are tensed. You are likely to shake hands or pull the leash with a firmer grip than is normal. Your dog takes this as a cue that you are in trouble. He may start barking aggressively and scare away the potential threat.
The other importance of leash training is avoidance of injury or harm to your dog, other pets and neighbor’s property. By extension, this helps you to stay away from trouble with authorities. The law generally encourages dog owners to exercise reasonable precautions in handling dogs.
If you don’t have the time or patience, a professional dog walker can be a godsend. Dog walkers not only ensure regular exercise, they help instill good manners and skills in your dog.
Practice these tricks and tips to contain your pet. Otherwise, you will entirely be liable if he bites or attacks other animals and people. Loose dogs can be euthanized even if they cause injury or harm after being provoked. More importantly, learn the regulations in your local jurisdiction.
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