Train Your Dog to NOT PULL on Walks - Loose Leash Walking
How to Walk a Big Dog
Do you have a St. Bernard or a huge dog that really needs a walk? Are you uncertain about how to walk the dog safely? If you’d like to avoid a possible injury or run-away dog, you’ll need to prepare yourself. With a good deal of patience and common sense you and your dog can safely go on walks together.
Using the Proper Gear
Pick out the right collar and leash.Both the leash and the collar can be used to control the dog, but some brands and types work different for different kinds of dogs. Knowing the correct option can be something difficult to ascertain.
- Use a simple leash and collar. This option works well for balanced dogs who understand their place in the pack (i.e. subservient to the human) and do not cause issues on walks. Choose this option if your dog has a happy demeanor and no obedience issues.
- Try a slip collar. For more difficult dogs, those distracted by a variety of things on the walk, the slip collar can be a great option.The corrections made by slip collars pinch the brachial nerve and imitate how mature dogs nip at the necks of their puppies for social purposes.
- The Pack Leader Collar (PLC) is a great option for difficulties with slip collars. While slip collars may cause issues, the PLC fits around the neck towards the head. By placing focus there, the dog has less pulling power and less control. Using this collar is a great way to keep the dog’s nose up and away from distractions.
- Use a harness. For many dog owners, a body harness or "Halti" head collar might be preferable, especially if your dog tends to pull. Some of these products, like the Halti, have the ability to steer and muzzle the dog, as well as stop them from pulling.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.The more stiff your clothing and footwear, the more likely a large dog will be to pull you off balance. And the greater chance you can be scuffed up or injured. Think tennis shoes over high heels, and jeans over dress pants.
Bring treats.Many dog trainers and walkers recommend positive reinforcement with animal training. Bring small meats, cheeses, or processed snacks specifically designed for dogs. Try experimenting with the flavors to which your dog responds best.
- Lead with a treat. One quick trick is to walk with the treat in front of the dog's nose. Like the proverbial carrot on a stick, the dog will follow the scent and walk along your side.
Training Your Dog for Walks
Hold your leash properly.Incorrectly holding the leash can not only lead to injuries, to you and/or the dog, but it also can reinforce bad habits for your dog. Try a few of the following suggestions:
- Well-mannered dogs can be controlled by simply placing a thumb in the handle of the leash, and then enclosing the hand around the rest of the leash.
- For more control, fold the handle a couple times into the palm of your hand. Ensure the handle protrudes towards the bottom of your fist so it slips out when uncontrollable force yanks the leash. This leash accordion can be let loose for more slack if the dog needs more room.
- Hold the leash firmly in both hands while draping it across your lap. This works well if the accordion is in a hand close to your hip, and the other is naturally on the other side.
- Use two hands. With one hand extended holding the leash folds, use the other hand to hold the portion of the leash closest to you. Brace that rear hand on your back hip for more support.
- Try selecting a shorter leash for more control. The shortened length of the leash will provide less leeway for the dog to pull and knock you off balance.
Stop your dog.Keep your dog stationary to distract it from pulling. There are various methods to get your dog to stop in its tracks.
- Teach it the sit command. When it starts pulling, command it to stop. If there are distractions nearby, let it stay seated until everything passes.
- When you have a moment that you aren’t completely focused on the dog and your walk, step on the slack of the leash to keep the dog stationary.
- Try the baseball bat method. Hold the leash in both hands against your stomach, much like you’d hold a baseball bat, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.That should keep the dog from moving.
Try multiple methods to counter pulling.Backwards pulls cause resistance. You don't want the dog to feel like it's fighting you.
- Use quick sideways tugs for corrections. Try using quick sideways tugs to make fast obedience corrections. These types of corrections are particularly useful with slip collars.
- Reverse direction. Instead of pulling back or going sideways, just turn around and start walking as if that's the desired direction. Don't acknowledge your dog until it catches up to you. Once it does, praise and reward it for being at your side.
- Tire your dog out first. Dogs often pull because they have an abundance of energy and want to run around. Before you go on your walk, play a game or rough-house with your dog to expend some of the excess energy.
- Walk quickly. When your dog is walking at a brisk pace, it will have no chance to spot or smell something distracting. Your dog will be focused and interested in what you are doing instead.
Give voice commands.Use a firm voice to give commands such as "heal" or "halt", while making sure to keep a firm grip on the leash. When the dog is calm, resume walking. With practice, the dog will understand they need to stay by your side. Remember that you are in charge and you set the pace of the walk.
Use positive reinforcements.Many dog trainers and walkers recommend positive reinforcement with animal training. Use the treats incrementally to reward small movements and responses to commands.
Being a Better Walker
Use calm-assertive energy.Ensure the dog understands you’re in charge, and the dog will be more likely to listen to your instructions. Respond to positive behaviors with positive reinforcement as often as possible while remaining firm to your intentions.
Be the pack leader.According to some experts, a well-balanced dog is easier to command and control. By exercising your dog and showing appropriate amounts of discipline and affection you will establish yourself as the pack leader. This is more important than working on verbal commands like “roll over”. Exude calm confidence with pack leadership and body language.
Be patient.As frustrating as it may be at first, you should try to stay calm while leash training your dog. The goal is to make walking enjoyable for both parties. All dogs learn at different rates. It may be easier to start small, by putting your dog on its leash in a secure area (such as your backyard) with few distractions, and just walk a few times around the perimeter.
QuestionMy large dog pulls a lot when we walk. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't move until your dog stops pulling. When he stops and heels, reward him with a treat or praise.Thanks!
- Have fun! Your dog picks up on your mood. "Calm and happy" is the way to be.
- Do not hit your dog. It is generally frowned upon for correcting bad behavior.
- Do not loop a leash around fingers. Depending on the type of leash and the strength of the pull, you could seriously hurt or lose your fingers.
Video: How to walk a big dog that pulls.
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