January is National Walk Your Pet Month! Though it’s still chilly out, we want to encourage you to get moving with your four-legged friend. Here are our tips on leash-training your pet so that you both can have a fun and safe time on a walk.
Question: What should I do if my dog pulls on her leash?
Answer: Loose-leash walking takes patience and the understanding that, while you may cover many miles training your dog, you likely will not go far from home. When your dog pulls on her leash, she is wanting to reach an object of interest. Refuse to take part in a battle of strength by quickly walking backward and calling your dog’s name in an upbeat tone. As she comes back to you, reward her with treats and praise, then continue in the forward direction. If your pup stays by your side, reward her with treats every few steps, but if she continues to pull, stop, and repeat the reversal process. If an object in the direction you’re walking is so exciting that you cannot prevent your dog from pulling toward it, switch directions.
Q: What should I do if my dog refuses to go where I want her to?
A: Bribery works well with dogs. On your walks, arm yourself with plenty of high-value treats, or a toy if your dog is not food-motivated. If your pooch wants to investigate an object of great interest and pulls toward it, refusing to walk with you away from the person, dog, or object, encourage her to walk with you by using treats, toys, and an upbeat tone of voice so that you become more exciting than the interesting object. Move quickly in the direction you want, distracting your pup along the way.
Questions or concerns about walks with your dog? Contact us for recommendations!