January is National Walk Your Pet Month! Does your pup struggle with walking on a leash? We at Village Park Animal Hospital have some tips for leash-training your dog.
What should I do if my dog refuses to go where I want them to?
Bribery works well with dogs. On your walks, arm yourself with plenty of high-value treats, or a toy if your dog is not food-motivated. If your pooch wants to investigate an object of great interest and pulls toward it, refusing to walk with you away from the person, dog, or object, encourage them to walk with you by using treats, toys, and an upbeat tone of voice so that you become more exciting than the interesting object. Move quickly in the direction you want, distracting your pup along the way.
What should I do if my dog pulls on their leash?
Loose-leash walking takes patience and the understanding that, while you may cover many miles training your dog, you likely will not go far from home. When your dog pulls on her leash, they want to reach an object of interest. Refuse to take part in a battle of strength by quickly walking backward and calling your dog’s name in an upbeat tone. As they come back to you, reward them with treats and praise, then continue in the forward direction. If your pup stays by your side, reward them with treats every few steps, but if they continue to pull, stop, and repeat the reversal process. If an object in the direction you’re walking is so interesting that you cannot prevent your dog from pulling toward it, switch directions.
If you have any questions or comments before heading out the door for a walk with your canine companion, contact us.