How To Master… Loose Lead Walking
Before you got a dog, we bet you imagined lovely, relaxing strolls with them walking nicely at your side.
Instead, perhaps, the reality is that your dog tugs on the lead so much that your arm aches and it is *hard work*.
You’re not alone. Lead pulling is a really common issue for lots of dog owners.
But it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re willing to invest some time and energy on fun, positive training methods with your dog, you can easily master loose lead walking - and make stressful walks a thing of the past!
We asked our network of professional dog trainers who are part of the Tug-E-Nuff Partner Programme to share their best advice for teaching loose lead walking.
Here’s what they had to say…
‘I love to use games like tug to build focus when out on a walk. By keeping a toy in your back pocket, it encourages many dogs to hang back a little as they're anticipating that the fun stuff is coming from behind you, rather than in front of you.’ - Louise Feaheny, Dr Loulittle Dog Training
‘I train assistance dogs and they have to be able to do loose lead walking for considerable amounts of time when working. At appropriate opportunities (such as in-between shop visits), I encourage handlers to play with toys with their dogs. This provides a release for any pent up energy the dog may have been carrying, leaving them more focused and relaxed ready to work again maintaining the loose lead walking. This also reinforces the bond between the handler and dog.’ - Briar Dunn, Briar Dunn Dog Training
‘Playing the game ‘magic hand’ (with a treat in the palm of my hand) is the winner for me! This places the focus on me and my hand, and means no chance to pull. I also love the Bright Fauxtastic. It works like a charm to make walks fun and keep dogs moving, but by my side.’ - Niki French, Pup Talk
‘For me, it’s important to work on both the dog’s focus on the owner and the dog’s ability to ignore distractions. I use Tug-E-Nuff toys a lot as jackpot rewards when training to look away from distractions. Once the dog is good at focusing on its owner and ignoring distractions, I work more on changing the dog's idea of "leash pressure". In the beginning, most dogs will think that the feeling of a tight leash should be followed by pulling more in order to get away from the pressure they are feeling. I turn that around by playing fun games that teach the dog to turn around when they feel a tight leash (instead of pulling).’ - Annalouise Kjaer, 4-Paws Canine Academy Aberdeen
‘When I train loose lead walking with puppies, I get owners to ask for eye contact every step and click and treat. Very quickly you can drop the ‘watch me’ and eyes still keep coming up. Then I use a Tug-E-Nuff toy as a reward every 10 paces.’ - Carolann Dyson, Side By Side Dog Training
‘I use the Rabbit Skin Pocket Squeaker as the reward. I teach a drop first and impulse control with the toy so they don’t jump up for it. Then instead of using food as the reward, I praise and the reward is a quick sniff or mini tug with the squeaker then ask for a drop then toy back on tummy and walk on. Works great for sniffy Spaniels!’ - Jo Woodward, FurryTails Dog Training and Canine Enrichment Specialist.