One of the pleasures that many dog owners appreciate is taking the dog with them when they go for a walk. The unfortunate reality for many pet owners, however, is that the dog will quickly be at the end of the leash, pulling with all of this might and practically choking himself just to get a few extra inches. There is no doubt that this is a frustrating way to take a walk, but it is a habit that can be broken.
First of all, it’s important to recognize that there is a difference between teaching the dog to walk on a leash and teaching them to heel. Heeling is something that is a good idea when you are in competition or if you are going through some type of formal obedience training. Teach them how to walk on a leash is just a matter of having them be a good walking companion and not having them choking themselves at the end of the lead.
The first thing that you should do is to ensure that your dog is comfortable and familiar with what they are wearing. Regardless of whether they are wearing a collar or a harness, be sure that it fits well and that they are not uncomfortable with the fact that they have it on. You should also introduce them to the leash. They need to be comfortable with the fact that it is restraining them to a certain extent. Above all, never punish a dog using a leash (or any other type of physical punishment for that matter).
You can then teach your dog a cue that lets them know they are about to take a walk on the lead. Don’t use the heel command if you don’t actually want them to heel. It is better to tell them “let’s go for a walk” or something similar as that will get them ready for what they are about to do. You should then make the dog come to you, rather than chasing the dog to put on the lead.
Don’t expect that your dog is going to be perfect right out of the starting gate. It is going to take some time and effort and perhaps even a little bit of consistency on your part before they will be able to walk like you want them to walk. Take some time to practice indoors, rather than practicing outside where there are a lot of distractions and the possibility for seeing things that may make them want to bolt.
Finally, take them outside and start walking. If they start pulling or if they lunge forward, simply freeze in position and don’t move until they stop pulling at the end of the lead. You can also try making some quick turns if you find that they are not paying attention, because they will get the point very quickly. It may take a little bit of effort on your part but when you’re able to walk with your dog peacefully, there is nothing quite like it.