Loose Leash Walking - What Is It, Why It Matters And How to Do It
Hands up if you’ve ever wanted your dog to behave better on leash. We’ve been there!
Leash walking is super important because having your dog right by your side and not pulling on the leash will greatly improve your quality of life and your dog’s with you.
Lower stress leash walking is when your pup walks with you by your side with a leash that has little to no tension in it, also known as “loose leash walking.” Even though the leash is there, in this version of walking, it won’t be the only reason your pup is staying with you. For starters, they’ll be walking with you because of the treats you’re about to give them! 😋
So how do we do this? To start, think of this as a follow me game that you play with your pup while keeping them managed with the leash. If they’re walking by your side without nipping at the leash, say your marker word (“YES” works well) & then give a treat. An easy way to work up to this is also to ask for a sit when you’re outside, say your marker word, then treat & say “ok let’s go!” This phrase alerts your pup to the fact that the walk is beginning again. We recommend taking only one or two steps after this & then repeat the sit. Gradually, you work up to more steps in between sits. Also, remember to treat intermittently for good regular walking & anytime your pup offers you eye contact.
What are some rules of the road (LITERALLY)? First, we recommend that during walks, do not allow your dog to greet other dogs on leash. No matter how eager your dog or the other dog seems, allowing leash greetings can turn a nice walk into a stressful search for the next tush to sniff! We also don’t want your pup to think that greeting other dogs on leash is the norm because you never know when the other dog might be sick, reactive, or working through aggression. You want to teach your pup that once the leash goes on, their focus should be on their relationship with you. Playing on the street can break that focus & lead to dangerous situations.
When going outside for a walk, always remember to pack treats that can compete with the excitement of the outdoors. If you hear a new sound that captures your pup’s attention, give them a treat. This is your way of communicating “Don’t worry about that strange noise. It won’t hurt you. And, in fact, you’ll usually get a treat whenever you hear it!” 😄 We want to condition our pups to like, or at least tolerate, the craziness of the outdoors & focus on us in confusing situations.
Here’s a routine to practice loose leash walking: try to go on one at least one training walk per day or at least every other day. One thing to remember is better behavior for a shorter distance is better than going longer distances. See if you can get a perfect half block & back!
Give your pup a belly rub from us & have a Goldn day! 🌟
- Goldn HQ