Most people who get a new puppy cannot wait until they can start going for walks together. They imagine their fur baby walking nicely beside them as they stop every now and then to have a chat with passersby. Unfortunately for most new puppy owners, the reality is completely different.
The problem is that getting out for a walk is the most exciting part of the puppy’s day, and he simply cannot wait to get to wherever it is you are going. He will try to run there even if he is attached to a dog harness, and no amount of pulling from you is going to stop him.
But before you start pulling your hair out, thinking that you are never going to have an enjoyable walk with your dog, fear not. The experts at Voyager Harness say that here are some simple steps you can employ to train your dog to walk calmly beside you.
Tips to Stop Your Dog Pulling
The problem for most new dog owners is that they do not realize that they are sending their puppy the wrong message as soon as they put the leash on them. A puppy needs to be trained to walk on a leash from the very beginning, but those with no experience assume that they can put a dog harness and leash on their pet and hope for the best. This rarely works because the minute you start walking with your dog, he has already learned that pulling gets him where he wants to go.
It is best to start training your dog to walk on leash before you ever venture beyond your home. This means training him to walk in a harness attached to a leash around the home or in the yard. As soon as your dog starts to pull on the leash, gently tug it towards you. When he returns to your side, give him a treat. He needs to learn that staying by your side is rewarding. When your dog has learned to stay by your side, you can start to practice moving.
Don’t be surprised if the minute you start to move, so does he! He is likely to get excited and be ready for a sprint, but you need to teach him to stay by your side. A terrific way of doing this is to change the direction every time your puppy starts to pull. It is best to turn to whatever side your dog is on. So, if you are holding the leash in your left hand and your dog starts to pull, turn sharply towards the left and then walk in the opposite direction. As you do so, say the word ‘heel’. You can then take a few steps before turning back in the other direction.
This might make you feel as though you are walking in circles, but it will train your dog to stay watchful of you. Continue to reward him for doing what is expected of him. Most dogs like to please their owners so as well as offering treats, give plenty of praise. He will appreciate this and will be more likely to do what you want.
To successfully train your puppy to walk calmly on a leash, you must stay consistent. And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your puppy is just learning and even if you have success one day, it might all go out the window the next day as he gets excited to be outside once more. Continue doing the same thing every day and your puppy will soon learn what is expected.