Walking your dog can either be a pain or a pleasure. If your dog is pulling and charging around on the leash, then the experience is not going to be fun for you or your dog. This can lead to walking your dog becoming an experience that nobody looks forward to – a real shame for dog owners.
It can sometimes feel like an uphill battle keeping your dog controlled on the leash, but it can be a lot easier than you think. Here are our top 5 tips for keeping control over your dog and turning that daily walk into an experience you and your dog can enjoy and bond over.
Get Your Dog Used to the Leash
No dog is going to walk perfectly the first time you attach a leash to them, they need time and patience to learn what you expect them to do and realize where their boundaries are. This makes it very important to inform your dog how much room they are going to have to move about, and what an unacceptable distance is.
While retractable leashes can seem like a great idea to give your dog plenty of freedom, they can actually confuse the boundaries. If you were allowed to do one thing one day, and not another, you’d inevitable start getting confused – which is what your dog will feel when they can run about one moment, but the next they are pinned by your side. To enforce the boundaries, get your dog used to using a single leash at a set distance. They will eventually learn that they have that amount of distance to play with, and no more.
Walk with Your Dog on One Side
Following the same theme of consistency for your dog, is keeping them on one side of you. If they know to stay on one side, then you’re not going to be pulled left and right as your dog explores new scents or sees something that interests them.
There is a lot of debate over whether the left-hand side or right-hand side is best. Left is the traditional side to walk a dog on, leaving the dominant side free for most people. If you’re walking your dog on the left-hand side, then holding the lead in your right hand makes it less likely that you’ll injure your dog by mistake.
Make Sure Your Dog Stays Behind You
Dogs shouldn’t be pulling on the lead, it makes the whole endeavor of taking them out for a walk highly unpleasant. You’re going to get fed-up and they’re probably going to get shouted at, which not good for anyone. An important part of leash control is keeping your dog at your side or behind you – never in front.
Giving your dog that kind of leeway and letting them in front, is setting them up to fail. When your dog does pull, stand still and wait for the dog to stop. They will either come back to you, or turn to look at you, either way, don’t proceed until that leash is relaxed. This is a process that is best to start as soon as possible, to stop bad habits setting in.
Keep Your Dogs Attention on You
Dogs get distracted, especially when they are out on a walk. If you notice your dog focusing on something other than you, then it is important to control the situation and get their attention back. You can do this simply just by changing the direction you are going in. When you walk in an unpredictable way, and follow varying routes, your dog always has a reason to be focused on you.
Always Reward Your Dog
Positive reinforcement can go a long way when trying to control your dog on a leash. If your dog does something right, stops pulling, or focuses on you, tell them they have done well with a reward. This could be a treat, attention, or even a quick game – whatever your dog enjoys, turn it into a reward for good behavior.
When you can control your dog on a leash, walking your dog can be a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience. Your dog will enjoy exploring new smells and sights, and you’ll be able to relax during the walk, knowing that you’re not going to be pulled backwards, forwards, and any other direction your dog fancies. It may take a little hard work on your part, and your dogs, but it will all be worth it in the end!
Check out our guide and review of the best dog leashes here