I was recently asked by a follower of Michigan Dog Trainer from East Greenville, Pennsylvania how to train their dog to walk on a loose leash. They were not in my service area and referring them to a trainer in their area wasn’t an option either as they were not able to afford training. Giving tips over the internet is a difficult thing to do as there are so many variables to take into consideration when training a dog and their owner. However, I was able to offer these three tips for making walking with your dog a breeze.
1. Use a “Easy Walk Harness” made by Premier. You can find them at PetSmart for about $30.00 or much cheaper at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. It’s a body harness but the leash is attached to the chest area to discourage pulling. It does not pinch your dog but your dog will not want to walk with one shoulder being pulled back toward you. Hence, your dog will self correct herself and not pull as much. In most cases, it stops pulling by about 75% without much training.
2. Turn into your dog before your dog gets too far out in front of you. The more you turn into and not away from your dog, she will tend to walk more in line with you because she knows at any moment you might step in front of her.
3. When using the Easy Walk Harness and stepping in front of your dog, holding the leash in your left hand and having the leash hang between you and your dog (if your dog is on your left side); pull the leash slightly diagonally across your dog’s back across her shoulders. Pretend you are taking the lid of a pot. This will cause her to be off-balance and move out of your way. It does not take any physical force to do this.
4. Use food treats to encourage your dog to follow you.
As mentioned before, there are many variables involved in training your dog and as many techniques. Other products can also be very helpful in teaching your dog to walk with you on a loose leash. For example, using a remote training collar in combination with positive reinforcement, one can usually teach their dog to stop pulling and walk with them in about 5-10 minutes as shown in the video below. Proper foundation training should be laid when using a remote training collar and should only be done with consultation from a professional dog trainer.
However, if one cannot afford professional training, then the above three tips should get you started on the right paw to training your dog to walk on a loose leash.