Loose Leash Walking

4January 2009

What is loose leash walking?  Basic this means walking with your dog nicely, where the leash is loose.  This means there is no tension on the leash; that the dog is not pulling you.

Now, loose leash walking (LLW) is not the same thing as heel.  LLW means the dog is walking nicely on the leash, but in no specific place.  Heel is when a dog walks next to you, directly at your side.  Heel is a step up from LLW.  Teaching a dog heel is like going to college, but before we can go to higher education, we must first start in Kindergarden with Loose Leash Walking.

Teaching a dog to properly walk on a leash is actually quite easy, but requires a LOT of patience!  Patience is the most important tool you can bring when teaching this to your dog.

Its quite simple really.  To begin, go out for a walk using a regular 4-6 foot leash (NEVER use an extenda-leash), and a buckle collar properly fitted to your dog’s neck (so they cannot slip out).  As you begin your walk, as soon as your dog pulls, stop directly in your tracks.  Do not pull on the leash, just freeze yourself and wait for your dog to release the tension on the leash.  Once s/he does, mark that behavior with a calm “good” or “yes,” and continue on your walk.  When the dog pulls again, stop, wait, when the dog releases the tension, say your “good,” and continue on.  Like I said, very simple but requires an immense amount of patience!!!

A spin off of this technique for LLW is the turn.  Instead of stopping and waiting, when the dog pulls, say “let’s go” and make a sharp turn in the opposite direction.  You can also start with the first option, then move into the second.  For example:  you went out on your walk and your dog pulled, so you stopped and waited.  You have now been waiting for 5 minutes.  You can move right into the second option, say “Let’s Go,” and move off in the opposite direction.

I highly recommend starting with the first option.  Using this technique, dog’s tend to have better success in the long run.  Keep at it!  It takes SO much patience!  Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you take the time to get your dog walking properly on a leash, your walks will be so much more enjoyable and you and your dog can enjoy your time together the way it was meant to be.  Many people do not walk their dogs because they are so bad on leash.  Please don’t become one of them.

We have all heard the old saying, “A tired dog is a good dog.”  Your dog needs exercise every day just like you do.  Remember to get your pup out for a good walk EVERY DAY!!

Have you walked your dog yet today?