How can you get your pooch to walk nicely on the leash? If that’s your question, turning to a trusted Los Angeles dog trainer may be the right solution – but you might just find the answer here in this guide.
Whether you have a new puppy or recently adopted an adult dog, leash training should be a top priority. Dogs must be leashed for visits to the veterinarian, walks around the neighborhood, stops at pet-friendly stores and in so many other situations. Loose-leash walking is an important skill, yet as you’re no doubt aware, it doesn’t come naturally for every canine. Fortunately, with the right approach, you can help your furry friend get comfortable with the leash. Here’s the strategy our experienced dog trainers recommend.
Start with the Right Supplies
To set a puppy or adult dog up for success with leash training, you need to have the right gear. Professional dog trainers suggest gathering the following before you begin working on the skill:
- A high-quality leather leash, as nylon versions can leave your hand stinging if your pooch suddenly tries to take off
- Plenty of tasty treats to offer as rewards — and to keep your hands free, stash them in a fanny pack or shoulder bag
- A well-fitted dog harness, since a harness distributes pressure evenly and helps prevent injury when pulling on the leash
That last item is a bit controversial. Some canine experts and dog trainers say that a flat collar can be better than a harness when beginning leash training. If your four-legged friend is prone to pulling, however, most professionals would agree that a harness is a smart choice.
Calmly Introduce the Leash Inside
Regardless of whether you decide to start off with a flat collar or a harness, experienced dog trainers say that you shouldn’t simply clip on the leash and head right outside. Instead, leash training should start off inside your Los Angeles home – and here’s what you need to do:
- Show your dog a treat while you bring out the leash (and the harness, if you’re using one). Get the gear secured, then offer the reward along with verbal praise.
- Play with your pooch and give more treats while they’re clipped to the leash, By doing so, you’ll teach them that the leash represents both fun and food.
- Try taking a short walk around the house. Each time your furry pal pulls, stop walking and give the leash a gentle tug. When they turn toward you, offer a treat.
How long should you work on leash training inside? Dog trainers suggest watching for signs that they’re comfortable. If they’re not anxious at seeing the leash or harness, and if they seem happy enough to walk when clipped up, it’s probably time to move on to the next step.
Take the Leash Training Outside
After practicing inside your Los Angeles home for a while, you’ll be ready to move onto the next phase of leash training – working on the skill outdoors. All of the distractions may make it difficult for your tail-wagger to remain calm on the leash, so try to be patient. And, consider these tips from experienced dog trainers:
- Start with short walks in your yard or close to your home
- Take the same approach as above if your dog pulls on the leash
- Watch for distractions and offer a reward when your pooch listens
As for the rewards you offer, dog trainers say that switching to even tastier treats, like boiled chicken or string cheese, can help with outside leash training. Puppies and adult dogs love to eat, after all, and little tidbits of food that your furry friend favors, but rarely gets, are likely to grab their attention.
Leash Training Troubleshooting
While your dog may learn to walk on a leash quite nicely close to your home, you may run into challenges when you begin to branch out and go to new places. Here, seasoned dog trainers share advice on how to handle common issues:
If your dog pulls on the leash — Whatever the reason, when your tail-wagger starts pulling in the opposite direction of where you’re headed, dog trainers say to stop walking. Become a statue, and don’t move until they come back to you. At this point, offer your four-legged friend a treat and resume your journey.
If your dog keeps lunging at targets – The best strategy here, according to experienced Los Angeles dog trainers, is to be proactive. If you spot a squirrel, a skateboarder, a garbage truck or anything else that might catch your pooch’s interest, redirect their attention and offer a reward before they can lunge.
If your dog has a habit of barking at other dogs – Here, dog trainers recommend taking the same approach as you would for repeated lunging. In other words, watch for other dogs and offer treats before your furry pal has a chance to bark. In time, they’ll learn to turn to you instead of barking when they see a dog nearby.
Keep working with your pooch, and you should gradually be able to reduce the number of rewards you offer when they’re on the leash. The pulling, lunging and barking should stop, and your puppy or dog will master the skill of loose-leash walking. If that isn’t your experience, however, you won’t be alone – many Los Angeles pet parents find leash training to be a major struggle.
In that case, you may need help from an experienced dog trainer. In southern California, the professionals to call are at iWorkDogs Dog Training Company. Our team has the knowledge, skill and expertise to handle leash training for puppies and adult dogs of all breeds, and we’re ready to meet your needs. For more information on our services, or to schedule a consultation with a trusted Los Angeles dog trainer, contact us today.