Things You’ll Need
- A standard 4 or 6 foot leash, not a retractable or extendable leash.
- A bag full of treats he loves!
A Gentle Leader chest harness can be a very helpful tool in teaching loose leash walking. Do not use a standard harness that clips on the dogs back or you may be encouraging pulling. Also do not use any choke or prong collars. Those are not necessary and can be both painful and dangerous for your dog.
- Fill your bait bag with treats, and put your dog on leash. You’ll want to practice at first in a nondistracting environment.
- Walk briskly with your dog on leash. If she goes to the end of the leash, change directions and keep walking at a brisk pace. The Gentle Leader Harness is wonderful for helping with this, especially for strong or bigger dogs. When she comes near you on the side that you want her to walk on, use a cheerful voice to praise her or click and treat. Whenever she gets into heel position or puts slack in the leash, treat. You can also treat for any eye contact.
- If after a couple minutes you do not find your dog spending more time at your side or with a slack leash, either move to an even less distracting space or reward your dog for being near you, even if she isn’t in exactly the right spot. The point is to reward more often so that she stays interested and doesn’t wander to the end of the leash looking for something else to do.
- When you do not have time to practice loose leash walking, be sure to have your dog wear her Gentle Leader chest harness so that her training is not undermined by being allowed to pull again.