Do you have a dog that pulls you along like a steam train pulling freight? Do you secretly dread walking your dog because they pull the leash so tight that it makes your arms and shoulders ache? If so, walks are probably miserable for you, and, undoubtedly, for your dog too. We believe that when a dog cannot walk “nicely” that this can become a welfare issue. Lots of dogs who pull along their owners soon find themselves being left home alone. This reduction in enrichment and exercise can be the beginning of what we refer to as the “downward spiral.“ Behavior problems emerge and the relationship between the pet and the owner breaks down.
You Aren’t Alone!
Many dogs pull when on leash. This doesn’t just make walks unpleasant; it can even be dangerous for both you and your dog.
Walking nicely is a life skill that when missing can significantly and negatively impact the human-canine relationship resulting in fewer walks, less exercise, and a decrease in social exposure for the dog.
Let’s Change That!
Although your key tool for success will be your committed relationship built on mutual respect, empathy, trust, and attentiveness, choosing the appropriate equipment will also be instrumental in the process of training your dog to walk nicely on leash, while ensuring their emotional and physical well-being, and success.
What Does Walking Nicely on a Loose Leash Look Like?
Our goal when teaching a dog to walk nicely on leash is NOT that your dog walks in an obedience style heel-position; rather that your dog is able to walk with you, and that both you and your dog work towards the maintenance of a loose leash.
Our goals for Loose Leash Walking are:
- That your dog learns how to walk nicely on a loose leash without pulling their guardian.
- That you learn how to respond should your dog pull or lunge forwards.
- That you learn how to walk your dog without tightening the leash. Yes, humans pull too!
- That you have the tools and the knowledge to take your dog on enjoyable walks in different environments.
- That both you and your dog share a wonderful relationship with each other.
- That you are both able to communicate more clearly with each other.
- That your dog’s focus on you will increase as will your focus on your dog.
- That walks are enjoyable and a great way to spend time together.
In Part Two, we will look at equipment and what we recommend.
About the Author
Louise’s experience, her background as a teacher and her impressive pet industry credentials means she is uniquely qualified to share her skills and knowledge with both the public and pet industry professionals. The creator of the DogNostics’ Dog Trainer Certification Program, Louise has presented at conferences internationally and has gained a reputation for expertly teaching and training humans and canines at her own establishment, The DogSmith of Estepona, in Southern Spain. Louise has published numerous articles on dog training and dog behavior and is also the published co-author of the following titles, A Lexicon of Practical Terms for Pet Trainers and Behavior Consultants and Pet Training and Behavior Consulting: A Model for Raising the Bar to Protect Professionals, Pets and Their People.