Loose Lead Walking 101
Does your dog charge out ahead and pulls at the end of his lead?
It can make walks rather unpleasant for the both you and the dog. You, who is struggling to control your dog, and the dog which is putting pressure on his neck and throat.
At Hear No Evil we are not chasing a strict heel position, the dogs can walk beside you or slightly in front but what we are looking for is a slack on the lead.
One very simple approach that the Founder of Hear No Evil Australian Deaf Dog Rescue uses to counteract excessive pulling is Direction Changes!
"When the dog pulls to far ahead we do a quick direction change and head back the other way, when the dog follows you can reward with a treat if you have any on hand, and continue to walk and reward (changing direction as many times as needed whether it's every two steps or twenty!)" says Sonja.
Follow these simple tips to help your dog be the walking partner you have always dreamed of.
1. Start off in a low-key environment
Start your loose lead training in a safe, fenced-in area free from distractions of toys, kids and other dogs. You want to set them up for success not failure.
2. Carry rewards
We are after positive reinforcement - that is rewarding them when they do the "right" thing. Carry a handful of treats in a pouch and a few in your hand held by your side. This is the same side you want your dog to walk on.
3. Keep the leash short
Keep the leash short when starting out and close by your side so there is only a little slack. Take a step, stop, reward with a treat. Take another step, stop and feed a treat and repeat. When your dog starts to "check in" with you looking for more treats take a few more paces before stopping to reward your dog. Slowly build up the number of paces you take before rewarding your dog.
3. Change direction
If your dog pulls in front or in any direction quickly and smoothly turn and walk in the opposite direction. Don't jerk the lead! Your dog will soon learn that if it doesn't want to be left behind the best place to be is close by your side.
4. The faster you walk the more likely your dog will keep pace with you.
Walking too slow is an invitation to your dog that they can follow their nose to every pole, or choose their pace which usually leads to pulling to the front or other direction.
5. Keeping in mind your purpose for the walk - is it for you or the dog?
Walks for you are great physical exercise for the dog who is expected to keep pace and follow without distraction.
Walks for the dog are both physical and mental stimulation where your dog gets to follow his nose and venture off the beaten track to explore different sights smells and environments. In both situations you should still retain control of your dog and reaching the end of the leash should cue your dog to check in and return hopefully leaving you both able to enjoy an outing without muscle strain or lead injury.
* Note When Sonja works with dog she mainly uses a flat collar and standard lead. You can purchase these from our webstore. Click Here.