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It is best to wait until your dog has become used to his collar before introducing the leash.
Now that the dog is comfortable wearing her collar and leash, it is time to pick up the other end of the leash.
Begin loose leash walking at home, then gradually add distractions until your dog can ignore them before taking the lessons outside. You’ve probably heard the talk about how humans with dogs are healthier because they exercise more.
First, it’s important to know that dogs pull on leash because it gets them where they want to go, faster. Before you even start, it’s essential that you choose a specific zone where your dog should walk in relation to you.
At first, I practice this focused heeling through the dog’s entire walk because, at first, many dogs need to be looking at you in order to remain at your side.
Most dogs will want to forge or lunge ahead at some point in their walk even if you’re rewarding with treats for heeling politely. Once you’ve stopped, you must wait for Fido to come back and look at you such that the leash is hanging in a loose U.
Once your dog sits in front of you, reward her with one treat for sitting and additional treats for remaining seated and focusing on you if needed. Some dogs get up quickly as soon as you start walking and you can’t catch up to them to get beside them so that they are in heel position. Then, once you are beside her, let go of the treat so that she can eat it and get up and walk next to you. In this method, once Fido’s sitting and focused on you, turn around and walk the opposite direction.
In our class, we use all of the attention exercises—various sit exercises, come when called, and a variety of focused walking games, and apply them to everyday situations. But as with any other type of training, introducing your dog to a leash may require a lot of patience and hard work. If a dog fails to understand the rules in a boring location, he will struggle outdoors amid distractions. Use the dog’s former collar for exercise until the dog reliably learns that walking politely continues the walk. A number of scientific studies support this statement; however, what those articles fail to mention is that if your dog drags you, lunges, or tangles you in the leash, those walks may not be that fun. As a result, if we want them to walk on loose leash, we need to stop dead in our tracks if they start to pull and only walk forward when they are on a loose leash. I recommend your dog walk by your right or left side with his shoulders even with yours, like your friend or a human companion would. You probably never thought you needed a lesson in walking but it turns out that most people do. But once Fido can walk at attention for half to an entire block, she will most likely stick by your side even when she’s not looking at you, at least in low distraction walks.
That is, your left hand (if she heels on the left) will be holding the treat at her mouth, thus keeping her occupied as you start to walk past her. You may have to lure her when you start to walk in the new direction so that she knows to stay on your left side (if you’ve chosen the left side for heeling). For more pointers, stay tuned for the blogs on other walking patterns to help teach your dog to stay at your side. The keys to dog training are that you want to be a leader for your dog the way you would lead like a partner in a dance. My dog had not been leash trained until he came to me at 17 months and I still can't get him to walk on loose leash.


Great photos, one of the most important aspects I teach clients is in your statement “ If you don’t stop this behavior abruptly or you have the leash in your hand and let your dog pull your arm forward then he instead learns that he can pull a little or pull sometimes” people forget that their arms are long and when they extend them, it teaches your dog to pull. Then we combine all of these exercises with the ones above and that I will cover in parts 2 and 3 (plus a few more) on walks.
Cattle Dog Publishing takes scientific principles of animal behavior and creates practical applications that are easy to understand and accessible for everyday use.
But once your beloved pet learns how to behave on leash, walking your dog will be a fun experience that you both can enjoy and look forward to. There are so few people outside, so I am concerned she is not meeting enough new people and dogs.
To improve your dog’s behavior and the enjoyment for both of you, here are a few tips on training your puppy or adult dog to walk at your side.
If we want dogs to follow our lead and stick with us, we have to walk in a manner that makes it clear we know where we’re going. Then watch his demeanor at that pace and compare it to his demeanor, attention and focus when you walk more slowly. At that point, your dog can be allowed to walk at your side without needing to look at you; however, still only reward him when he heels at attention. When Fido gets even one paw ahead of your foot, just stop within a split second so that, by the time he gets to the end of the leash, you’re stationary.
Cues, such as the speed at which you move, are important if you want to communicate clearly what you want to your dog. I get frustrated with him on our walks which then turns into guilt on my part for not remaining calm.
In addition the length of the “leash” or distance in which a dog may travel from you changes constantly, confusing the dogs spacial awareness. Labradors are well known as strong leash pullers.But, like any desirable behavior, your dog can learn and you can teach. The average dog is more likely to respond to the slower speed by stopping to sniff, marking more frequently, and focusing on or pulling towards animals, people or objects in the environment. Sometimes you should wait for her to sit and look at you for 2 seconds after her last treat before you walk on. Then use the distraction technique only when you need it, until sitting and waiting for you to move up to Fido’s heel position before walking becomes a habit for her. Incidentally this is also a much better pace for helping to burn calories in both you and your dog. If you don’t stop this behavior abruptly or you have the leash in your hand and let your dog pull your arm forward then he instead learns that he can pull a little or pull sometimes.
5 in Perfect Puppy in 7 Days) and the version of leave-it where we toss treats to the end of the leash (ch 5), then Fido will remember that pulling never works.
This sends him mixed messages and prevents him from learning that walking on loose leash is what works. It’s also one reason I generally recommend a hands-free leash such as the Buddy System. And if you have an energetic Jack Russell Terrier, like my dog, Jonesy, you may have to walk at 130 or 135 bpm to keep him happy so he thinks his walk with you is fun rather than acting like you're his ball and chain. And of course they’ll want to leave their own mark wherever possible, which means frequent pee stops.Over stimulationBefore long, your dog is so caught up in seeing, smelling, exploring and peeing, that all training goes right out the window. You’ll no longer be able to get your Labrador to respond to even the most basic commands.Unintended RewardsAs long as a dog’s getting to where it wants to go, it will see no reason to stop pulling, because there’s no apparent downside. Basic First Steps To Stop Your Dog From PullingTeaching your Lab any new behavior can take some time, and walking nicely on a leash is no exception.
But once the association is made between the leash and going for a walk, it becomes one of the single most exciting objects in the world!Of course you can’t expect to have a nice walk if your Lab goes crazy with glee when you try to attach a leash.


The more time you spend with your dog pulling you along, the more likely you are to become exasperated.Nothing good will come of that for either of you. And your dog can’t focus on your instructions after getting all wound up during a long walk with new sights to see.A good idea is to choose a short route in your neighborhood, and walk it repeatedly.
Your dog will be less distracted if he sees the same things repeatedly.Burn Off Extra Energy in AdvanceDogs in general, and Labradors in particular, have a lot of energy and they need to expend it in some manner. Short walks will not be enough to keep them satisfied, and they may be inclined to try to make up for it by pulling extra hard.Have an exercise session before your training walks to help combat this problem. If your dog is already proficient at coming when called, even when there are distractions, this may be the method for you.When your Lab runs out of slack leash and begins to pull, you immediately stop walking and don’t let them go any further. At this time, resume your walk.If they continue to walk along beside you, repeat your praise word and offer another treat. Keep several in your hand at all times while walking, and replenish from your reserve.Begin walking your dog and hold your hand with treats enclosed right in front of their nose, first making sure that they know what you’ve got.
Every few seconds, pop a treat in their mouth.Should they start to veer off or get ahead and start pulling, the walk stops. When they do, give praise and then resume the walk, once again with the treats held in front of the nose.After a bit of uninterrupted practice, say a week or so, stop carrying treats in your hand, but have them nearby.
Keep offering them frequently.Over time (each dog will progress differently) you’ll find your dog can walk further and further without pulling. First, start with a verbal warning cue for your dog when they are about to run out of slack.
Give praise and a reward as you continue to walk.If they do reach the end of the leash, that’s your cue to turn around and walk the other way. Use your arm to take most of the force, but the end result should be a slight tug on your dog’s collar or harness.Keep walking in the opposite direction, and praise your dog as they catch up to you. Watch for signs that your dog is under extreme duress; cringing, cowering, yelping or any other outward display of fear or pain are clear indications that this method is not working. Desist immediately and try something else.Collar TugLike the previous method, this technique also uses a bit of negative reinforcement, and should not be used in conjunction with a slip lead, or a head halter. Again, this should only be tried if positive methods are not proving fruitful.As before, when your dog is approaching the end of the leash, administer a verbal warning. Don’t pull, just give a quick tug.The force of the tug will depend on the size of your dog, and it may need to be repeated before you really get their attention. As you can imagine, this is not a pleasant feeling for your dog, and it should quickly correct the behavior (perhaps a day or two), if it’s going to work at all.
In the case of my own dog, his neck muscles are far too strong to make this effective, and the same may hold true for your own Lab.Exercise extreme caution with this technique. Choosing a good collar and leash will help as you teach your Lab to walk nicely.The Classic CollarOf course a traditional collar is perfectly acceptable, either with a buckle or snaps. They make your dog easier to control, and discourage pulling almost entirely on their own.Be warned, though, that they should not substitute for actual training if you really want your Labrador to learn to walk on a loose leash. When yours truly bought his first leash, the selection was based on color and not quality, a decision I regretted when my very eager puppy snapped the leash and made a run for it!Pick a sturdy leash in the 4’-6’ range. As mentioned earlier, negative reinforcement can be helpful if used cautiously and sparingly.However, to use it as your sole method for loose leash training is not acceptable.
You and your dog will get plenty of exercise and quality time together, and opportunities for socialization training, too.Labradors are strong and energetic dogs, especially in their youth.



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