Going out and exploring the world can be extremely exciting and over stimulating for your dog. They know when you grab the leash and it’s time and their tail may start to wag so hard that their whole body jiggles. It can be really cute and bring a smile to your face. However, sometimes this happiness can quickly turn into aggravation and irritation if your dog insists on pulling you, trying to run, and stopping every two feet to sniff EVERYTHING.
If you have a dog that has not learned to walk nicely on a leash, here’s 5 tips to help you and your dog become great walking partners:
1: Start now! Whether your dog is only 2 months old or 5 years old, start walking with a leash as soon as you can. If your dog is not old enough to be out on the street due to needing vaccines, start in your yard or in the house. Puppies like to play follow the leader so it can be easier to get them to follow you around. Adult dogs will also want to stick next to you because they are in a new home. Use this to your advantage. Let them know it’s safe to go where you go, praise your dog and slow down at turns, speed up walking straight, and teach your pup to follow your lead.
2: Practicing indoors can be less stressful than outside. Lobbies and hallways are great places. You don’t have the worries of cars zooming by that could startle your pup. There aren’t as many people walking by you two. And your dog can learn to pay attention to you. Build a good foundation of having your dog listen to your commands of “walk,” “stop,” “wait,” and “let’s go” and you’ll have an easier time when it’s time to venture to the great city streets!
3: Your dog might like to dance and this means you may have to have a routine in place to make walking fun, a small game, and to instill leadership. Start walking, stop, ask your pup to sit, reward, and start walking again. This can take time, may mean slower walks at first, and shorter walks. Praise your dog often when everything is working well. A simple “good!” or “yes!” can work on walks. After a few repetitions of the same commands in the same order, it can feel like a dance. A dance down the street!
4: Don’t be stingy with the treats. This might mean cutting back on the portions you are dishing out at meal times so your dog doesn’t get chubby. Think of this way, you are competing against the smells of the trees, grass, fast food restaurants, other dogs, and everything else that is outside. If your dog needs yummy treats to ignore those things and pay attention to you, so be it! Make it easy for your dog to want to pay attention to you.
5: Be patient and provide other forms of exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. The walk will be exciting but won’t be the MOST exciting thing to do if your dog has other activities that are also just as fun. A dog who gets adequate exercise is far more better behaved, well balanced, and easier to train than one who is bored and under stimulated.