Do you wish you had better control over your dog while on your regular walks together? If you can give your pooch the proper amount of quality time for training, you’ll see the correct behavior before you know it. If you are really interested to know how to train a dog to walk on a leash beside you, you’ve come to the right page.
Whether you’re taking your dog out for short walks, long training sessions, or anything in between, you can use effective methods of positive reinforcement to teach your dog to give you maximum control.
But in terms of learning how to train a dog to walk on a leash beside you, the simplicity of the answer may surprise you: training walks. Read more below.
Training Your Dog To Walk On A Leash Should Be Fun For Your Pup… And For You
Young pups are hungry for your attention and most of them really want to please you. And you want them to want to please you. So, if you have the right gear and use the right training methods, teaching your pup good behavior on training walks should be fun and productive.
Your dog can not only read verbal cues, but they can also read your hand signals and body language. And you should learn how to read their body language. The training process should be a time meant to train both you and your pup. It’s a time for good communication and bonding.
Start by simply introducing your little pup to their collar or standard harness and leash. While inside your home, just allow them to get used to wearing them. Again, the correct area for this introduction is at home. To get your pup really comfortable, choose to introduce the gear while playing and giving them their favorite treats. According to the American Kennel Club, your pooch should love their leash and collar time because it means fun and treats!1 Remember, treats and fun — these are the things dogs love.
When you begin training your puppy, you want them to know that if they perform well, food is on the way. A simple verbal cue and hand signal can communicate to your pup that if they complete a simple task like walking on your left side or getting into a heel position, you’ll reward them with a treat. The word “yes” and a hand signal with your left hand can mean “food” to your dog. Just be consistent. Always use the same hand, the same word, and the same type of reward (ie: food).
Again, train in the correct area: a safe, low-noise, distraction-free zone. It helps to use a loose leash when training. If you bring your dog to the same spot for training sessions every time, they’ll recognize the reference point and know it’s time for some fun, bonding, and food.
To help your dog achieve excellent leash manners, you should have the right leash. A standard-length leash should do the trick. This leash will be 6 feet long. You may opt to walk your dog using a standard harness, as well, instead of a full harness or front-attachment harness. Your basic standard harness has a single loop around your pet’s ribs. Then there’s a loop around the neck and a D-ring that should line up on your pet’s back so you can clip your dog’s leash to it.
It’s best to work with your dog through any behavioral challenges with consistency and positive sessions. You may think a choke collar or extra-short leash will help give you extra control, but these shortcuts aren’t necessarily what’s best for your pup.
If you feel you might need a little extra help, go ahead and talk with a trainer.
Positive Reinforcement Will Go A Long Way To Teach Your Dog About Good Leash Manners
The right kind of training can help ensure your dog learns to use good leash manners. The best way to train your dog is with the use of their favorite treats and lots of healthy positive reinforcement. With these techniques, your dog will follow your pace and walk on your preferred side, in time.
A standard harness could help keep your dog from pulling at their leash. But know, a loose leash will allow your dog to feel free. This will likely cause them to pull less and exhibit better leash manners.
When you take your dog for a walk, they want to smell the neighborhood, mark their spots, and check-in with their neighbors. Giving them the room to do this will set the tone for better manners. If your dog is excitable, constantly wants to walk in the opposite direction, or having real trouble walking well, it is still okay to keep a shorter lead on the leash.
Now, you might be slightly worried about ruining your dog’s appetite by feeding them treats throughout training sessions and training walks. Simply grab a few pieces of dehydrated dog food from their bowl. This way, you won’t overfeed your dog, but you will be giving them the tasty treat they deserve for exhibiting good behavior.2
Better Control Over Walks: Basic First Steps To Stop Your Dog From Pulling
It may be tempting to use a quick fix if your dog is a puller. But shortcuts like nose harnesses or choke collars might upset your dog and in some cases cause injury. Again, the best option to keep your dog from pulling is consistent training with positive reinforcement. Use their favorite treats. You want the walk to be a time of fun. A good dog walk feels like free time for a dog. They love to smell, explore, and enjoy a loose leash. Remember, they are animals. For your pooch to be cooped up in the house all day can be tough for them.
If you’re having trouble with pulling, getting your dog to walk on your preferred side, or other difficult to alter behaviors, it’s a good idea to take a class with your pup. If you’re able to find an affordable trainer, you can also usually correct the issue of pulling in a few private sessions with a reputable dog trainer.
How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash Beside You: The Takeaway
In the end, you do want your dog to feel as if their walks are a treat. If you use positive reinforcement, loose-leash walking techniques, and consistent verbal cues and hand signals, your dog should be walking well for you in no time.
Don’t forget, walk time is bonding time. If you commit to a daily walk, you’re ensuring your pet’s health and happiness. A happy pet is a grateful, engaged pet. And that means you’ll also have a well-behaved pet on your hands.
If you do have trouble with your pet’s walking manners, consult a local reputable trainer. They’ll help you with some techniques and tricks that should make walking fun for your furry best friend — and for you.
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