If your dog tugs, zig zags, and stops randomly as you walk her, it may be time to retrain and modify the behavior. Walking your dog is one of the many ways you create a good bond and establish a sense of balance and order. If you’re unsure how to get your dog to remember how to walk nicely on a leash, here’s 5 tips to help.
1: Walk in front of your dog. This allows you to be the leader and control the direction and turns you both take as you are out and about. If your dog controls you, then your dog is the leader on the walk. To help control the position, keep the leash short and hold your arm at your side or a little behind you to prevent your dog from speeding in front. This will take some practice. If your dog insists on charging in front, stop, ask her to sit, wait for her to make eye contact with you and relax, then start again. Your dog should be beside you or behind you on the walk.
2: Use a short leash or wrap the leash around your hand and wrist to prevent your dog from being able to walk ahead of you or criss cross to explore and sniff everything. This allows you to have more control and you can communicate your rules and limitations better. Move the collar up the neck of your dog too as this allows for better control. If the collar is lower and by the shoulders, your dog may not respond well to a tug on the leash or change in direction, higher up directs and guides more effectively.
3: Give yourself enough time to walk your dog and train. A rushed morning with a 5 minute walk is not enough time to instill training methods. An ideal walk should be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It’s good for you, good for your dog, and can modify behavior in the house. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
4: Reward your dog on the walk and afterwards to reinforce good behavior. Allow our dog to sniff around, check things out, and relieve herself once she’s mastered walking with you and not leading you. After the walk, praise her, give her a treat or her breakfast. The reward for a walk and for being well-behaved can be a meal. Dogs behave better when they understand the idea of rewards based on actions.
5: Keep leading after the walk, ask your dog to sit and stay before walking back into the house. At every street corner or opening of a door, ask your dog to sit and be patient. Have your dog sit while you take her leash off. Reinforcing commands helps your dog know the routine and as she begins to remember the rules and what you want her to do, she’ll do them automatically and you’ll automatically praise her. It will reduce feeling stressed and rushed. Just take the time. It will pay off.