Dog leash walking - start inside

Practice leash walking insideYou should start training your dog to walk on a leash inside. This is a simple exercise to teach patience and composure for a dog of any age.

How to Train a Dog Not to Pull

Leash training is a constant process. There isn't one strategy that you can implement to train your dog to perfectly walk on leash. You should focus on small successes practiced consistently and eventually your dog will walk the you are looking for. But . . . this doesn't happen overnight. As your dog improves his performance, you have to be prepared for the inevitable regression when you come upon a new distraction (or a distraction comes upon you -- dog!)

What This Exercise Shows

This is a basic exercise to teach your dog to "ask for permission" before getting something he wants. You should practice this on leash in a variety of locations, with a variety of distractions. Examples of things your dog might want include:

  • A treat
  • A Kong stuffed with yummy food
  • A toy
  • His favorite person standing at the front door
  • His dinner bowl (put his food on the counter and put a handful at a time in the bowl to practice multiple repetitions)
  • Access to outside (stand near the front door and only open it when he looks at you)
  • Etc.

Using the Clicker

The clicker marks the EXACT right answer. So, in the video, I am 'clicking' when he looks at me, and then giving him a treat. He is not getting a treat for any other behavior. Eventually your dog will start to learn that looking at you is the way to get things that he wants.

You can also say, "Yes!" instead of using the clicker, but I highly recommend the clicker when you can. You can purchase clickers on my site if you need them.

Use a Harness If Your Dog is Pulling

In hindsight, I should have used a harness in the video. This helps spread out the pressure instead of pressure on a dog's neck. If a dog of any age seems to be choking at all, I recommend a harness. I NEVER recommend choke chains, prong collars or shock collars. You can purchase the best non-pulling harness on my site if you need one.

Work Outside

This strategy can be used for all distractions inside and out. However, you need to keep in mind that the more distracted your dog is, the more difficult it will be to get his attention. You should use AMAZING treats or your dog's favorite toy, and give it to him each time he looks at you. If you just can't get his attention, you can tap your leg, make a "nn", "nn" noise with your mouth (I did it at the video around the 30 second mark), or move your dog farther away.

If your dog knows "leave it" or "watch me" you can also ask for that as well. But, as always, make sure you are only saying the cue once or you might ruin it. Don't be too eager to say cues, as you can see in the video, after waiting for a period of time, Fenway "got the message" and started looking at me. This is called shaping behaviors and it is a very powerful dog training concept.

Don't get frustrated or angry. That doesn't do any good. If your dog is too distracted, practice more inside with the list of suggestions above.

Future Strategies

Look for more leash walking videos at Watch and Train, and watch the other videos for more tips. The videos really start to make sense when you see my philosophy explained over the course of many videos.

Happy Training!

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