Many people mistakenly blame dogs for their bad behaviour. In reality, how successful a dog is with training depends solely on the consistency and follow through of the dog’s owner.
With consistency and positive reinforcement, most dogs can learn to walk confidently and calmly on a lead. Most of the work, however, will fall on your shoulders.
Tips to keep in mind as you begin to lead train your dog:
#1. Stay calm when getting ready for a walk.
Dogs often go crazy with excitement when they hear their lead being pulled out. The key to lead training is to show your dog who is in charge and what behavior is acceptable. Tell your dog to “sit” when putting on his lead and do not attach the lead until he is sitting and calm. When you say “let’s go,” or another key phrase, he will eventually learn that means it is time to start his walk.
#2. You are in charge.
You’ve just put your dog’s lead on and he’s becoming increasingly excited, panting and throwing his head back and forth. He may even drag you to the front door. Keep hold of his lead and stand still. Once your dog comes back to you, take a short walk around the house until he’s walking calmly. Only when he is calm should you go outside.
#3. Stop the pulling immediately.
Whether you’re walking your dog around the neighbourhood or you’re at your local shop, you must be in control. If your dog begins to pull at his lead, stop. Continuing to walk will only tell your dog that he gets what he wants when he pulls.
#4. Ensure your dog walks beside you, not in front of you.
When your dog starts to pull ahead of you, gently tug on the lead and wait until he comes to your side again. Dogs are pack animals, and you must assert yourself as the pack leader.
#5. Use positive reinforcement.
Getting angry with your dog for disobeying your commands or for not learning as quickly as you want him to isn’t going to help anyone. In fact, it’s just going to hinder the lead training process. Praise your dog when he does something right and gently correct him when he fails to obey a command.
Lead training, like any type of training, requires time, patience, and consistency. With time, your dog will become better behaved, although don’t expect him to be perfect. No one’s perfect, including your beloved four legged friend.
Let us know how you got on lead training your dog.