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Leash manners may the most challenging thing to teach a dog, but it will be rewarding when your dog is comfortably walking by your side.
The outdoors are incredibly exciting for your dog. The desire to push forward is strong for any dog, and they will naturally pull once they reach the end of the leash.
Dogs have a much faster pace when compared to humans, and you have to control your dog’s natural impulse to run around and enjoy the environment. There are strategies you can try, however, to train your dog to walk at your pace, including:
Step 1: Stop When Your Dog Starts Pulling
Most dog owners wrongly pull back on the leash when the dog is aggressive in an attempt to teach them that it is wrong. Pulling actually begets pulling, and it makes it more uncomfortable for the dog.
The first step to training your dog is to stop pulling. In practice, refraining from pulling will be hard because humans also have an oppositional reflex. If the dog pulls on the leash, halt, and engage with them. Only move forward when the leash is slack, and ensure that the dog makes zero forward progress when pulling.
If your dog is distracted, you can turn around and encourage them to follow you in the other direction. Once they catch up with you, turn to the original direction. The dog will learn that they are only allowed to follow you on a loose leash. Try walking fast to encourage the dog to keep up.
Step 2: Wait Until Your Dog Looks at You
You should also train your dog to be attuned to your verbal and physical cues. Use your voice to get their attention and become unpredictable in your direction. You can even turn in a circle to get them focused on you. Your dog will have to watch and listen to you because they are unsure of the direction in which you will turn. When they pull on the leash, stop and relax until they turn and look at you.
Step 3: Give Your Dog Clear Instructions
When your dog follows you after you do a backward movement, reinforce the action with a verbal cue, like “Yes!” and “Good Job.” Praising the dog for complying will make them feel good about walking side by side with you, and they will also be excited.
Step 4: Choose the Right Equipment
Choosing the ideal dog-walking equipment is the next step in training your dog. The market is characterized by many options, including leads, collars, and harnesses.
If your dog pulls aggressively, it is tempting to consider tools like prong collars and choke chains. These tools are designed to punish a dog for pulling, and they are not recommended. If used in the wrong way, they can result in distress and pain to your dog.
A dog can behave nicely when wearing either of these special harnesses, but they will pull once they wear a traditional collar.
No pull-harnesses are quite popular when it comes to training your dog not to pull on the leash. These solutions have straps that cross a dog’s shoulders, and they are typically fastened at the center of a dog’ s chest.
A clip will be positioned at the front to attach the leash. Once you have fitted your dog with the harness and linked the leash, they will have to stay by your side to progress forward. If the dog pulls, the leash goes to the side rather than straight back, and they will be redirected to you. The harness allows you more control with just a little pressure.
One of the most effective no pull dog harness is this one by Raining Pet whose features include:
- Two simple buckles system which makes putting it on and taking it off easy. It also comes with many adjustment options. The four adjustable straps to make the harness fit snugly and comfortably on your dog.
- There are two leash connection points, that is at the front and on top. These points will make controlling your dog easier.
- This harness spreads out the pulling pressure across the chest so that your dog’s airway is not restricted.
- The harness is packaged with a leash which is heavy duty and features a padded handle. The set is ideal for all sorts of activities with your dog, including running, training, and walking.
You can follow the steps below when using the harness:
- Fit the harness properly and attach the leash. Make a knot about 2 ft from the clasp and choose an area devoid of distractions.
- Start walking and hold the knot with the hand nearest to the dog. The loop will go across your body to the other hand. You can say “let’s go” to your dog to guide them before you.
- Wait for the moment that your dog pushes forward by themselves and looks like they have forgotten you. They will likely head for the knotted part of the leash and start to pull.
- You can use the verbal cue “easy” when they start pulling. Once you detect pressure on the knotted part of the leash, say “oops” and let go of the knot. Start walking in the other direction after making a U-turn. Once you stop abruptly, the harness will direct your dog back towards you.
- Praise the dog once they are at your side and say, “good.” Grab the knot again and repeat the above process. You can include yummy treats to give the dog more incentive to walk by your side.
- Reinforce good behavior with praise, and you should notice the dog staying by your side when there are no distractions. They should also begin to look at you once they hear “easy” or oops.
- Increase the length of your walks over time while repeating the same training procedure, and the dog should start forming the habit of walking by you after several sessions.
Step 5: Reward Your Dog
- Start walking while holding the treats in your hands a few inches from your dog’s nose. The treats will lure your dog forward, and you can give them after a particular set of steps.
- Include verbal commands to affirm the intended behavior. You can use their names or encouraging phrases, with the goal being for your dog to associate them with the yummy treats. Use the combination of the verbal cues and treats for the first few sessions.
- Gradually replace the treats with verbal affirmation. Some dogs will go back to pulling after the treats have been removed so you can assess your dog’s character before deciding to withdraw the treats.
Zuke’s natural training dog treats are ideal as training treats. They are made without soy, wheat, or corn, with chicken as the most preferred ingredient.
Will the no-pull dog harness stop pulling entirely?
The no-pull dog harness serves as training equipment. It will deter your dog from pulling, and your dog will learn that they can only move forward on a loose leash.
You should teach the dog that a tight leash means they have to stop. In addition to treats, your dog will also be encouraged by your attention and by loosening the leash.
The harness is most effective at guiding the dog back to you, and it is your job to encourage them.
Will a harness hurt my dog?
Generally, harnesses will rarely hurt dogs. A well-designed one is padded with straps to distribute the pressure on the dog’s body. Avoid harnesses designed to store all the strength at the back.
A bad harness will cause your dog to pull harder because they are uncomfortable. Most harnesses are safe enough to be left on a dog at other times as well.
You can remove them at night or to prevent your dog from chewing on the straps if they are chewers.
How do I make my dog like the no-pull harness?
Your dog should view the harness as a good thing, which is why you should adjust it before fitting them with it.
If the process of putting the harness on is uncomfortable for your dog, they will resist the outfit and make training harder.
Is loose-leash walking similar to heeling?
Leash walkers aim at getting their dogs to stop pulling through training. The dog can wander a bit at the front or get left behind a little, as long as they are on a loose leash.
When it comes to heeling, the dog’s nose is even with the owner’s leg. Heeling involves the dog walking at your pace and stopping when you do.
The dog will generally pay close attention to you. None is more superior than the other, and it comes down to preference.
Most dog owners will deal with a dog that pulls on its leash at some point, and it can be quite frustrating. Teaching a dog to walk with a loss leash involves training, treats, verbal affirmation, and a no-pull dog harness.
You will need patience and consistency as the training will need several sessions.