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Since your dog probably loves going on walks, they probably get a little excited on the leash. If you need to teach your dog some polite leash skills, we're here to help! Here are some tips on how to get your dog to behave while they're on a leash.
Get the Proper Leash
To instill good walking habits in your dog, you should make sure that you have the proper leash and harness. A collar alone, for example, will pull too much on their neck and not yield enough control. If you use a retractable leash, this also gives you less control, as your dog doesn't feel your pressure as much. The ideal leash and harness combo is either a head collar or a front-attachment harness. For most dogs, the front-attachment harness works best.
Dogs respond very well to rewards, so be sure to award your dog when they walk in a proper manner. Start out by walking at a brisk pace, and if your dog chooses to walk beside you instead of in front of you, then reward them. Every time take a step by your side while walking, give them a treat. This teaches them that it's a positive thing to walk beside you.
Hold the Leash Tight
Don't let the leash get too loose, especially if you're starting the training process. Keep the leash short so that your dog feels your pressure on the leash and harness. Don't yank or pull on your dog but instead, just keep a consistent leash length and pressure. This will help remind them that you're in charge and will keep them from pulling too hard.
Use commands to help keep your dog in line (literally!). If they tend to pull when they see another dog or animal, use a "sit" or "stay" command to encourage them to calm down. You can also use commands like "let's go" to encourage them to keep up with you instead of stopping to sniff everything. You could also start to teach them "slow down," so that you can use this if they start to pull too hard or walk too far in front of you.
Practice these leash skills at home! This practice can be as simple as walking around your living or walking around your backyard. Practicing leash skills and commands will make it easier to implement these skills when you're going for a walk.
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