- Kristen VanNess
Loose Leash Walking: A Series
Learning to Walk on the Leash
Walking calmly on a leash seems like an impossible goal for some families. We’ve all seen dogs pulling at the end of the leash, and we’ve seen dogs calmly walking next to their pet parents.
While the training process isn’t usually a quick fix, teaching the skill will open up a lifetime of great walks, more exercise, and enriching opportunities for you and your dog. We’re going to help you through foundation skills, adding varied environments, and then teaching your dog how to navigate distractions successfully. We should be able to see measurable progress within just a session or two as your dog learns to walk at your side.
Who is This For?
This series of lessons is for anyone who wants better loose leash walking. This training process is appropriate for puppies, adult dogs new to a home, or dogs with a history of pulling on the leash.
This series is not for families who want a quick fix. If your dog barks and lunges at people or dogs, you can work through the lessons in areas without people/dogs for now. This could be a great foundation for working on reactivity at a later time.
What to Expect
In Lesson 1, you will learn when to reward, how to reward your dog for walking with you, and how to not reward your dog for pulling. Your dog will learn to follow you, how to maintain walking for a few steps, and where to expect rewards. Your dog will also learn that pulling on the leash does not get him what he wants.
In Lesson 2, your dog will learn to generalize the skill of loose leash walking to environments other than where you initially started your training.
Lesson 3 gives you the opportunity to learn how to identify distractions, choose a starting distance from the distraction, and reward your dog for passing distractions. Your dog will learn to look to you when he sees a distraction, to resist a temptation, and to follow you.
Pet Parent Objectives
Choose a learning environment for success
Where to reward for loose leash walking
How to respond if errors occur
When to change environments
Identify distractions and successful starting locations
Create valuable learning experiences for your dog
Follow pet parent (rather than lead/pull)
Where to expect a reward
Discover pulling no longer works as a way to get access to the world
Generalize skills to many environments
Turn away from distractions
Every Dog is Different
Every pup and pet parent learns a little differently! Looking for some more support? We are here for you each step of the way if you'd like some additional