You probably know the struggle of walking a dog that keeps on pulling on the leash. It can get really frustrating or problematic when your dog won’t just follow your lead. The problem could be simple as a dog that is trying to go somewhere else or it could be a severe issue of dog’s aggression.
If you want to know how to train a dog to walk on a leash, you must first understand why your dog pulls in the first place. Some people believe that dogs do that because they want to show domination over their human partners and that they want to assume the roles of pack leaders but this is not true. The truth is that walking to a dog is simply the most exciting part of its day and the highlight of all activities.
Dogs’ ultimate goal in life to run around freely and be able to explore their surroundings without any kind of constraint that would hinder them or keep them. Also the other problem is that a dog is usually a lot faster than you are.
This means that as it walks in its normal pace you will be struggling to keep him in control. Teaching your dog to walk according to your pace is a skill that you have to teach him. You need to know how to train a dog to walk on a leash without causing discomfort or irritation to either of you.
How to train a dog to walk on a leash
Understand your dog’s needs:
Walking is a basic need that your dog can’t live without. It is a basic instinct and denying him this right can lead to serious problems. Once you understand this, you will be better at training your dog to walk without pulling on the leash.
The purpose of walking for dogs is different from that for people. People walk around to get to different destinations, while dogs walk around to explore and sniff on different objects. This is why you need to make sure that your dog is allowed to walk at least twice a day for about 30 minutes.
This will decrease the level of the extra excitement he feels once he is out that pushes him to pull on the leash. You also need to walk in a fast pace. Your dog needs to train his muscles, run, explore and sniff around according to his pace not yours. Don’t expect your dog to walk comfortably on the leash if you don’t take him out that often because he will be super excited and you will not be able to put him under control.
Use the right equipment:
Learning how to train a dog to walk on a leash can be a little difficult because you are scared of being pulled over by your muscular dog. You can use some safe tools or equipment that won’t hurt your dog and that will help you control him without causing any harm to the dog’s sensitive areas.
A chest-led harness is perfect for this process. It doesn’t hurt the dog’s sensitive neck and when your dog pulls, it will let his body turn rather than go forward.
Like with most other skills, the best way to learn how to train a dog to walk on a leash is to practice positive reinforcement. When your dog starts pulling, stop immediately until the leash is loose to make him understand that pulling on the leash is not getting him anywhere. Your dog will keep on pulling if he always reaches his destination at the end. Show your dog that there are bad consequences to pulling in order to stop this behavior.
You can proceed when the leash is relaxed and your dog has turned his focus to you. This will teach your dog that you are in control and he will learn to listen to you in the first place.
On the other hand, when your dog is following you calmly, use your tone and your body language to encourage this behavior by giving a reward and showing your dog that good behavior pays off.
When and how to punish your dog:
Identify your dog’s goal and where he wants to go then take a few steps. If your dog starts pulling on the leash, stop and go back a few steps. This is a good way to know how to train a dog to walk on a leash. Say something like “Oops” or “No” and move away from the goal. It will take time and patience, but eventually your dog will learn the trick and that pulling doesn’t pay off.
You should not be walking your dog; you should be rather walking with him. Understanding your dog’s needs will eliminate your dog’s pulling on the leash and will allow you both to walk comfortably.