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Unleash Potential: Door Manners.


-Kristen VanNess, DodoVet's Head Trainer

Walking a dog calmly on a leash may seem impossible for some families. We’ve all seen dogs pulling at the end of their leash, while others walk calmly beside their pet parents. So, what's the difference? 

A few basic loose leash walking skills.


I've outlined 3 essential skills below (check out the videos). Teaching your pup these skills will open up a lifetime of great walks, more exercise, and enriching opportunities for you and your dog.

Remember, training takes time, and each dog learns differently. You can help supercharge your training by scheduling a FREE private 1x1 video session (with me!) to get a personalized perspective that focuses on your dog's unique learning needs. Please note: when our private sessions book up, email our coordinators at to find a time.

Step 1: Walking basics.

This foundation activity is a great starting point for all dogs. Your dog will learn about following you, moving with you as a team, where to expect rewards, and when to not help himself to rewards in the environment. Our goal at this stage is for your dog to learn to walk with you for about 25.’ While that’s not a far walk - it’s a great starting point, and we can build distance from there.


Sometimes we need to adjust activities, reward placement, or other elements for success. If you aren’t getting success, feel welcome to reach out, and we can have a trainer work with you and your dog to get started. 

Step 2: Managing different environments.

Once we've trained in basic walking, we can repeat the same lesson in other environments. This will help your dog learn that it works everywhere, not just in the living room or backyard. Pick a quiet park, parking lot, or soccer field. Repeat the lesson of backward and side-by-side walking. Show your dog that good things happen when he goes with you. If he tries to pull or get out ahead, you can pause or turn and go the other way. Start out in a small area, back and forth until he's very confident. Then you can gradually expand your walking area or move to a new spot.

Step 3: Walking around distractions.

Distractions are the big challenge for most dogs. In this video, we’ll show you a few strategies for helping your dog overcome distractions. While this puppy is only a few feet from the piece of litter on the floor, your dog may need to be 10’ or even 30’ away for success. Work at the distance your dog needs for success. If you’re having trouble finding a starting place, reach out - we’re here to help!

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