Dogs make us exercise and we woof ’em for it, but do we really want enormous biceps from constantly pulling the leash on a runaway pooch? Whether your dog pulls you along as he races for the park, or constantly idles to sniff the shrubbery, it’s important to teach him that you’re the one who gets to set the pace, when he’s on a leash.
This doesn’t mean Fido shouldn’t pull ahead or lag behind at the sight of a dog who looks like Lady. What you want, as his chief pet-lover, is to be able to walk him on a ‘loose leash’. This way, he’s completely in-step with you.
Training your four-legged outdoors enthusiast to walk on a leash can take a while. But stick with these pointers and you and your dog will be in-step, in no time:
Get him dog-tired before going.
In the beginning, lapping up some of your dog’s energy will make him a much better pupil. So, have a little play before you two head out. Or, you could try driving to the park, having your fetch-fest and then doing some leash training. Whatever works.
Keep Rover on a short leash.
It’s a roolly good idea to have a shortish leash and thick, padded collar when training your pooch. You may have to give him a few tugs to teach him not to pull – or stray after that showboating pigeon – and you wouldn’t want to hurt him, by doing it.
Show your bowser who’s boss.
Only clip the leash onto Walker when he’s calmly sitting or standing. Don’t even begin to walk if your four-legged friend is jumping like it’s raining cats. This is all about establishing yourself as the pack leader [cue adorable pooch in motorcycle helmet], which means walking ahead of your dog – even out your front door.
If you feel like your little conquistadog is getting too far ahead or behind, stop and tug gently, to get his attention. It never hurts to add a voice command, either. If he’s still not all-ears, try touching him lightly, then pulling him firmly into the position you want him to be in. Be prepared to stop and rearrange your dog’s position regularly, while he’s learning.
Praise him for a walk well done.
Once your dog is walking in the right place at the right pace, tell him what a great little co-Puli he’s been. And throw in some treats and the chance to sniff around, for good measure. When you get home, you’ll just want to remind your hiking hound that you’re still in charge. He may start chuckling a little, but it’s still best not to remove his lead until he’s calmly sitting or standing.
Walk on, pet-lovers!