Become a dog walking expert! Isabelle Borremans, specialist in canine behavior, has 5 easy and quick tricks to help you walk your dog. There are many other school of thoughts on the matter but here is what we have for you.
#1 Holding the lead
The best way to hold your lead is to make sure it is located at the center of your body that is in front of your abdomen by folding your arm. With this position, it will be much more difficult for your dog to pull. All you need is a single hand to hold your dog on a lead. Thus leaving you the opportunity to reinforce your dog’s good behaviors with treats using your other hand. Just keep in mind that the lead must make a “U” to avoid any possible tensions between your dog and yourself.
#2 Focusing : your best ally
Encourage your dog to look at you when you are in motion. This will increase his concentration towards you. Simply emit a small sound to attract his attention and reward his behavior when he looks at you. Quickly, you will be able to use a word like “look” to request the behavior.
#3 The ‘’smell’’ demand
Often, the many smells in the environment encourage your dog to pull in different directions. Teach the request “smell” so you can encourage sniff around at the right moment. If your dog expects you to ask him to go sniff, he will develop the reflex to wait for your request rather than to do it by himself.
#4 If your dog pulls: Stop!
Whenever your dog pulls and you walk forward, you unintentionally reinforce this bad behavior. So you have to stop! Call your dog back to you and start again. If your dog is walking without pulling right from the start, reward him for it. Give your dog a chance and start easy. Do not forget to practice in simple environments without distraction at first. Increase your requirements as he gets better.
#5 Be realistic
Adapt the walk to your dog. If you have a very strong dog, the use of two leads is a great way to stay in control. One lead attached to your dog’s flat collar and another to his body harness. Also, using a lead tied to your waist will help avoid bad surprises such as dropping the lead. Do not forget that a dog has four legs while you only have two. Your dog does not pull, he simply walks faster than you.
We strongly suggest consulting a specialist in canine behavior if your dog is experiencing challenges with leash training. These tips are not adapted for cats and must only be used while training dogs. In our opinion, positive reinforcement is a must.
Learn more about leash training by reading Isabelle Borremans’ blog here!