Loose Leash Walking
Just like Vanilla Ices says - Stop collaborate and listen!
A loose leash walk starts before you even leash your dog. Every step you make has to be calm and focused.
If your dog is excited or pulling everything stops until they are calm. Take your time - it will be
Objective: Teach the dog not to pull on the leash, focus on the handler and take direction.
Reinforcing Behaviour: If your dog pulls on the leash and you keep walking you will teach the dog to pull. The dog is rewarded with being able to walk and will not learn that pulling is unwanted. If you pull your dog back on the leash to get your dog back to you the dog will never understand that pulling does not get what they want. You need to get the dog to come back to you on their own.
Consistency: Each person walking the dog must use the same technique for optimum results. Dogs are situational learners and can easily walk nice with Mom but not Dad. They quickly learn who will let them get away with pulling.
Rewards: YES the marker, food reward, praise, affection, they get to keep walking, sniffing time.
Strategies for correcting the behaviour: Be prepared before you walk, remind yourself of the strategies. Walk with a purpose; bring patience, enthusiasm, consistency and repetition. Reward each time your dog checks in with eye contact, praise them with consistent feedback when they are walking nicely, smile! They can read body language.
Whenever your dog pulls, immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes because your dog either takes a step back or turns around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk with the queue ‘LETS GO”.
When your dog pulls, issue a “LETS GO” cue, turn away from him, and walk off in the other direction without jerking on the leash.
Use an excited voice to get their attention, pat your leg, kissing sound, whistle or clap.
When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way.
Once your dog is focused on you, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This requires your dog to listen to you at all times, because they never know when you might turn and will learn to follow you. Turn toward your dog. You can turn in a circle or do a figure eight.
Teach your dog the return to heal cue (video to come)