There are two main methods to effective dog walking training, and several ways to approach them. One method is very quick, extremely easy, and has been used since the idea of dog training first began! This method is also frowned upon and considered poor training technique by most professional, educated dog trainers today.
This first method of dog walking training, although very effective usually very quickly, utilizes uncomfortable or even painful aversives to reach submission. The psychology behind this idea is simple- dogs will always favor self-preservation over pleasure; painful stimuli are used to get or divert the dog’s attention right away. This method uses tools like:
- Slip collars (a.k.a. ‘The choke chain’)
- Electric collars (a.k.a. ‘Shock collars’)
- Prong collars
How to Train Your Dog to Walk the Right Way
This second method of dog walking training, although sometimes requiring several weeks of patient work, is favored by far more educated dog trainers today! Rather than relying on any kind of uncomfortable stimulus, this method tackles the dog’s simple desire to walk.
Step 1: Begin in a confined area with as few distractions as possible, an area your dog is very familiar with. This could be your backyard, or even circles around your living room. Begin by having your dog sit nicely, leashed, by your side. Start walking naturally.
As soon as your dog begins to pull on the leash, simply stop walking. Have your dog sit, and offer him a small training reward/treat when he does. Once you are by his side again, use the command ‘Heel’ (in this case, should eventually mean ‘start walking by my side’ to the dog), and begin walking forward.
As soon as your dog begins to pull again, simply stop. Repeat step one above.
Step 2: Eventually, your dog is going to learn in his dog way of thinking that ‘Every time I pull on the leash, my owner will stop the walk and make me sit. We won’t start walking forward again until I do sit, and we can go much faster if I don’t pull at all’.
This relies on two things:
- Stop the walk Every Single Time your dog pulls.
- Don’t begin moving forward until your dog sits. In the beginning, he won’t want to keep sitting down for you until he realizes the walk can’t continue until he sits.
To Limit Distractions: Try to become the most entertaining thing around, constantly talking in a squeaky, friendly voice. If your dog sees an animal or another dog and reacts, simply attempt to redirect his attention toward you!
- This is a slow process; don’t try to rush it. It might seem like you can’t walk a few feet without your dog pulling violently the first few days, and that is completely natural. Little by little, your dog will improve!
Dogs naturally walk faster than humans. Most dogs are also going to be very excited with the idea of getting out of the house for a walk, and dogs in general are distracted very easily. If your dog sees something he wants, he is naturally going to pull toward it. All of these things combine to make a very frustrating dog walking training experience for most owners.
Why Dogs Pull
Though this dog walking training method might take much longer to master, it will both be much more effective in the long run and help promote an enjoyable, fun experience! After all, what is the point of walking your dog if he doesn’t enjoy it?
Do you use a no pull dog harness when walking? Not only do harnesses take pressure of your dog’s trachea, they prevent your dog from slipping out of his collar and running!