Walking your dog is a necessary activity to keep them physically and mentally healthy. However, many owners can have a difficult time with proper walking techniques with their dogs. Read below to find some tips on how to walk your dog on a leash.
Use the proper leash. A large part of training a dog to walk properly on a leash is teaching them that they are walking together with you and that you are in the lead. This is much easier to teach while using a shorter leash that keeps your dog physically near you and allows you to redirect your dog away from trouble. Extendable leashes are not the ideal option for troubled walkers. They allow extra freedom that doesn’t reinforce the concept of walking together with their owners.
Have their collar positioned correctly. Position your dog’s collar high on the neck for walks. This makes it easier to use the leash to direct their attention away from trouble and towards the correct walking direction. Along with this, many dogs have very strong muscles lower at the base of their neck. These muscles allow a dog to seemingly pull endlessly at you and the leash, tiring both of you out and promoting poor walking techniques.
Keep the pace up and steady. If you slowly amble around with your dog on a walk, or are changing pace often, your dog won’t be able to tell the difference between going out for a walk or simply going outside for a potty break. Maintaining a higher pace also keeps the dog’s mind more focused on the activity at hand and is more challenging for both you and your dog. However, make sure you are going at a speed that matches both you and your dog’s physical abilities.
Bring along treats. Before your dog has been trained to walk properly on its own, it’s a good idea to have some of their favorite treats along during the walk to refocus away from distractions and reward for positive behavior.
Experience the outdoors together with your dog. A main point of going on walks with your dog is not just getting them physical exercise, but mental stimulation as well. Let them sniff and explore new smells, but also don’t let them stop too long and begin obsessing on one thing. Move them along, and keep them focused on the task at hand- the walk.
Be the leader of your dog. You should be the first out the door and the first back in. Be the decider in where to go and which direction you take on your walks. Work on this so your dog naturally looks to you for your guidance during walks. This will further strengthen good walking techniques as your dog no longer pulls you, but instead waits for your input.
Address issues as they come up. If your dog pulls and chases after other critters and dogs, consider walking them at a different time of day when those distractions will not be as prevalent. As you continue working with your dog on their walking manners, they should respond better and better to distractions as they get more used to them with more walks.
Walk a familiar path as your dog is learning. This will keep your pooch from being overstimulated by too many new inputs. As you and your dog get better and better at walking together, you will eventually be able to branch out and experience the world together!