Leash training your dog takes a little bit of patience but the rewards
are worth it. Enjoy a nice walk or run with your pet without having a
leash pulling contest! In fact, pulling on the leash is NOT what you need to do.
The methods I recommend are positive and fun. Using punishment has many disadvantages and you won't achieve reliability off-leash.
Feel free to ask specific questions or leave your comments at the end of the page.
You will learn 3 exercises to be done while on walks.
Your pet will learn: self control, that walking next to you is rewarding and that pulling on the leash leads nowhere. Read them all before you start!
Are you having a hard time putting the leash on because your hound is bouncing like a basketball?
Then, to prevent dog leash pulling, we first need to teach him self-control. This is easy but it requires you to be patient and very consistent!
You do not need treats for leash training your dog, the act of getting the leash on and going out will be the reward itself!
To help your dog achieve self-control faster you can also try the above exercise when feeding him.
The first time will also take you a while, so be patient. The more you practice, the better your hound will get at it. And then it will become second nature to him!
This exercise will prevent dog leash pulling by teaching him that staying close to you has its rewards!
We will use the dog training method capturing. The idea is to catch your hound doing the correct behavior, in this case walking nicely close to you.
Step 1: Have treats with you when going out for a walk, a treat pouch attached to your waist can be very useful. You must bring high value treats! Because you will be competing against difficult distractions (other dogs, cats, squirrels, people, cars, etc).
Step 2: Start walking normally, whenever your pet comes near you, Mark and Reward! (or Click and treat!).
Step 3: Repeat every time your canine friend comes near you. In the beginning you will have to start by rewarding him for being farther than what you would like (never when the leash is stretched though!). Then you can shape the behavior and reward him for being closer and closer.
Step 4: When your dog starts to come close to you more often, you can cut down the treats, only reward (randomly) a few of his approaches and ignore others. I recommend rewarding 7 out 10 approaches (or 3 out of 5).
Step 5: In the beginning do many (5-10) sessions, but again make them short ones.
This exercise will not necessarily make your dog walk nicely on a leash, but with repetition and practice your dog will learn that being next to you is good and he will start to do it more often. We are using the principles of operant conditioning.
You have to think about this like a game. You are going to play "Red Light, Green Light" to teach your dog to stop pulling on the leash and walk nicely.
Like working on self control, this exercise does not require the use of treats. Being able to continue walking down the path will be the reward.
Step 1: Start walking naturally, try a brisk pace. As soon as you feel the leash tightening, STOP (Red light when the leash is tight). Do not pull on the leash yourself!
Step 2: Wait for your pet to look at you or loosen the tightness in the leash by walking towards you. As soon as this happens start walking again (Green light when the leash is loose).
Step 3: Repeat many times. Be patient, think about it as a game! I recommend you do many short sessions a day (5-10) in the beginning, but keep them short.
If your dog gets out of control and it is hard for you to even try the above exercises, read Dog Leash Training: Damage Control.
Contact me if you have specific questions and contribute your tips below!
Enjoy walks with your dog!