It is essential for all dogs to exercise and get fresh air every day. Daily walks can help maintain optimal weight for your dog, improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, strengthen muscles and bones, and decrease stress. Plus, it’s a great way for you and your dog to bond and socialize.
Although walk time can be the most exciting part of the day for your dog, knowing proper walking technique is important. Many dog owners simply put on the leash and walk out the door, which makes the dog pull on it and the walk is an unpleasant moment.
Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash requires patience and time, but it is worth it to ensure that you and your dog can walk safely and relaxed.
Why is it important to walk on a loose leash?
The first thing to mention is that straps are vital. You should never walk without a leash in a public and open area, especially if your dog tends to run away. That’s why it’s so important learn the proper walking technique to enjoy time outdoors together by walking side by side. Although going on a leash is not instinctive for dogs, they learn quickly and can determine how to react based on the signals that their owners give them.
The right riding gear
Harness: Instead of a traditional dog collar, a tight-fitting harness takes pressure off the sensitive area of the dog’s neck by distributing the pressure more evenly around the body.
Correa: The next thing you need is a strap that can extend up to 2 meters or more in length. This will allow your dog enough freedom to explore and at the same time put you in control.
Candies: They will be useful so that you can reward and reinforce correct behavior.
How to train your dog to walk on a loose leash
1. Start off leash
It is recommended to start training at home or in the garden. Your dog will be relaxed in this environment and it will be much easier for him to learn new behaviors in a place where he is not easily distracted. The goal is to teach you with rewards. You can start by moving to another part of the house or garden and calling your dog to come to your side. You may need a few treats at first to attract him. Repeat this process several times without the leash and then you can introduce it once your dog follows you naturally.
2. Short walks
Once you’ve been successful at home, it’s time to get outside. Start with short walks in your area and on routes where you will not meet many other people or dogs. In this way, you can train your dog to walk by your side without having to pull the leash in an emergency. The goal is to teach your dog that when he walks by your side with a loose leash he can move forward, but that as soon as he pulls on the leash the walk will stop.
3. Stop walking
Stop walking as soon as the leash begins to tighten; stay still, be quiet, and do not move forward until your dog has returned to your side and there is slack in the leash. There’s no need to pull on the leash in response, just stand and wait or walk a couple of steps in the opposite direction for your dog to come back to your side. Remember to reward your dog when he does it correctly.
4. Stay alert
Try to anticipate any distractions that may cause your dog to pull on the leash, such as a person or another dog. Be proactive and increase the space between your dog and the distraction, or get his attention with a treat before he has a chance to be distracted. Be prepared with a firm grip on the leash to maintain control in case your dog suddenly lunges, especially during the first few walks.
Consistency is the key. Loose-leash training takes time, but it’s a great opportunity for you and your dog to bond and spend time together. For your dog to learn this technique, it is advisable to practice it daily and ideally at the same time each day. You must be consistent with the previous steps and, little by little, your dog will recognize that he is rewarded for walking by your side and it will become something natural for him. Not only will this make all future walks much more enjoyable, but proper walking technique will keep your dog as safe as possible in public places; that he does not pull on the leash and injure himself and that he is aware that he must stay close to you.
Loose leash ride features
- There is no tension on the strap and it rests in a “J” shape (see the photo in this post).
- Your dog walks at your pace and by your side.
- There are no jerks.
- Most distractions like noise, other dogs, and people are ignored.