Walking your dog is a necessary aspect of owning any breed. The fact is that dogs young and old need activity and outdoor time to stretch, use the bathroom and get exercise in. Depending on the type of breed and age of your dog this could even include more than one walk a day.
The goal should be to take your dog along on a walk anywhere – the woods, around your neighborhood, or a busy city street and you are both confident and moving along at a nice page. Walks and outdoor time are not productive or fun when your dog is stopping to sniff every spot along with the way or worse is tugging and pulling you along controlling the walk and direction where you will go.
The goal should be loose-leash walking – so you can actually enjoy outdoor adventures together anywhere.
If you’re struggling to work way up to this style of walking, be sure to check out these expert tips for putting an end to leash pulling.
Use the Right Leash, Harness and Collar
It’s so important no matter what leg of the journey you’re on in your pet ownership experience to understand the right accessories and tools to make your time with your dog outside of the home stress-free. From loose-enough fitting collars to harnesses designed to help control larger dogs while walking – it’s so important to do your research. A key element in having control while walking your dog is the type of leash you’re using. If your dog is fairly large is more powerful than you – or if they are a problem leash puller, you should not be using retractable leashes. You need something you can grip firmly on to and that doesn’t have any extra pull. Stick with standard cloth or rope leash instead and maintain a firm grip while you walk.
Be Assertive, Stop Walking
A large part of the walking experience is also confidence. When you are assertive your dog responds to this. They understand more than you think. If you walk in front of your dog (never behind) and stop walking and stand still like a tree when they are not following you – they will eventually get it that you are the boss and they should be walking to follow you versus you being tugged along wherever they feel like going.
Add More Play & Positive Reinforcement
A great way to calm leash pulling is to incorporate more activity for your dog. If you have a hyper breed or one that requires lots of daily activity you may even want to give them some playtime like tossing the ball before you go for your walk to tire them out a bit. If they’ve exerted enough energy they may be less likely to yank you along excitedly as they move about. If you’re using treats to help you train your dog to stop leash pulling or they just happen to have a good day out for a walk be sure to reinforce this positive behavior with lots of cuddles and positive affirmations as well.