corgi dog on leash
There’s no denying it: loose leash walking can seem like a difficult skill to try to teach your dog and one that often takes them a long time to master. Even armed with a bag of the best dog treats to reward good behavior, many pet owners express their frustration when their dog refuses to pay attention to them or continues to pull.
But it does not have to be like that. As with any other part of training, walking on a loose leash takes time, patience and consistency, but there are some simple tips you can implement that will help your dog master this skill in record time, and trainer Cynthia Robertson- Gillette shows us exactly how to get the job done in a video posted to Instagram, which you can watch below.
Robertson-Gillette, who is a member of the JW Dog Training and Behavior team, says loose leash walking is a common problem for pet owners, but there are ways we can improve our leashed dog’s behavior that are easy and effective. Here are the three tips he shares in the video:
1. Practice in a familiar place first
“We train and build the behavior in an easy, familiar place to minimize competing distractions,” explains Robertson-Gillette. “We found that, like many challenging behaviors, leash walking is dramatically improved if a dog has a solid foundation in the basics that are frequently practiced in the home.”
2. Use a long leash
“We use a longer leash (over 8 feet) so it’s harder to build tension and the dog becomes familiar with the feeling of slack on the leash. Dogs naturally have a faster pace than we do, and it’s beneficial for them to sniff and explore on walks. We’ve seen great success increasing our leash length to 8 or 10 feet. Remember, that doesn’t mean the dog is 8 feet away from us at all times.”
3. Reward frequently
“We frequently mark and treat whenever the leash is loose, even if the dog isn’t next to us or looking at us,” explains Robertson-Gillette. “We want the dog to realize that slack leash equals a lot of good things about us (which, over time, encourages him to stay closer). Giving out rewards can REALLY strengthen this behavior. If he catches a leash loose (using a marker such as a clicker or a verbal “yes”) and then deliver the treat near you so that your dog has to come to you to eat the tasty treat, a dog can learn very quickly that it pays to stay close “.
Not seeing any progress with your dog’s loose leash? If you have applied the above tips for a few weeks and your dog is still having a hard time mastering this skill, we recommend that you speak to a professional dog trainer who will be able to provide your dog with 1:1 support.
Looking for more great training tips? Then be sure to check out our top tips on crate training a dog.