Before you brought home a dog, you must have dreamed of long, pleasant walks with your pooch. But, that happy bubble burst very soon when you take him/her out on a leash for the first time. Your angelic pooch turned into a major-league puller!
What should you do now? Let your pooch follow his nose or make him follow you? Here are some tips that will help you to train your pet dog to walk like a ‘good boi/ gal’ on a leash.
What to do when your dog pulls?
In many cases, dog walking, which is supposed to be a fun activity, becomes a nightmare for some dog parents with their pooch constantly pulling on the leash. Hence, to teach your pooch how to walk like a good boy on leash, you have to take the charge and act like a pack leader. This is also a fantastic starting point for teaching your dog to be calm and polite when meeting new dogs or people.
Why does my dog pull on the leash?
Your dog pulls on the leash because he’s learned that’s how he gets to move forward. Let us explain this in detail. When your dog pulls and you take one step forward in the direction of the pull, you are giving your dog a clear signal that pulling works.
How to stop this habit?
- To stop them from pulling, you need to do the opposite. You have to teach them that if they pull, you’ll stop walking and walking next to you like a ‘good boi/gal’ means they get to move forward. Reward your dog with tasty treats whenever he/she obeys you. Remember, this is not a quick process; it will require time and patience.
- Also, always walk in front of your dog. This will allow you to be seen as the pack leader. Your pooch should always be beside or behind you during the walk.
- Always, keep the leash short to have more control over your excited pooch.
What to do when your dog constantly stops in between to sniff and relieve himself?
Why my dog always has to stop in between?
Dogs’ sense of smell is very powerful. It helps them to investigate and understand the world around them.
No matter how well-trained your dog, they will always try to stop during the walks to smell the roses.
How to stop this behavior?
You cannot totally control this natural behavior but you can teach him/her to stop only when you allow him/her to do so.
Here are some tricks that you can try:
- Like mentioned above, keep the leash short to have more control over your little ball of energy. Always walk in front of your dog and make sure his head is up during the walk. Stay focused and calm during the training sessions. When your dog starts following you, reward your pooch allowing him/her brief breaks to explore the area around.
- Never punish or reward your dog when he stops during the walks to sniff. Punishment will make him scared of you and reward will only encourage the unwanted behavior.
- Never pull on the leash when your dog stops because your dog will only pull harder in the other direction to maintain the balance (This is how Mother Nature has wired their brains).
- Instead of pulling your dog, distract him/her by making a sound, squeaking a toy, whistling or anything to capture its attention. This will distract them from the thought that they don’t want to move anymore.
What to do when your dog lunges at other dogs and people?
What is leash reactivity?
When your dog gets excited on seeing other dogs and people, he/she tries to bark or lunge at them despite being on a leash, this kind of behavior is known as ‘leash reactivity’.
How to fix this behavior?
If you have a dog pulling towards, barking or lunging at other dogs and people on walks, you know how embarrassing it can be. It can lead to some really nasty dog fights as well. Here’s what you can do about it.
- First, identify the triggers that cause him to bark or lunge at others and then avoid them altogether for some time. Start walking your dog when there are no other dogs or people around.
- Then gradually, figure out what your dog’s threshold is with other dogs. Does he/she gets triggered just by seeing a dog on the other side of the park or the other dog needs to be close to your dog to trigger him? or any such reason.
- You can then ask a friend with a well-behaved dog for help. Ask him to walk his/her dog within sight of yours. Each time the dog is in sight, give your dog lots of praise and treats. Gradually, your dog will start associating the presence of other dogs with treats and will stop lunging/barking at them.
You really can have a dog who will walk like a dream on a leash without pulling and lunging at other dogs, but that will require your time, patience and consistency. The tips shared in this article will help you and your dog walk the right path to an enjoyable walk. So, have fun!!