Every walk offers rich opportunities to improve behavior and help a dog grow into a loyal, cooperative, and friendly dog. Leash training is perhaps the best place to apply learning techniques, as the leash is one part of dog care that can go unintentionally abused and be a lot more difficult than necessary.
Below are a few techniques to improve behavior on the leash for owners in Minneapolis. None of these techniques require a major time commitment. Owners can continue walking at a steady pace while applying these safe and sound strategies.
A Single Spot
Should the dog be on the left or the right? It does not necessarily matter. The more valuable point is that it finds a side and sticks to it. Dog owners can have treats handy for when a dog sticks to a location for a period of time. If an owner chooses the left, about three feet away, they can reward the dog a treat when he or she is on the left and about three feet away. The dog will begin to notice that this is the place to be and will stick close by for the potential reward of a treat. It goes without saying that better behavior in this regard warrants fewer treats until the behavior is ingrained.
The pull is notorious. How does an owner discourage this behavior? In short, they need to reward a dog when he or she relaxes the pull and allows the leash to loosen. This will instill the behavior that the desired place to be is loose and near their owner. It will take some serious time but it can be done. Further, owners should not allow their dog to dictate the direction on a tight leash. This is only encouraging a feeling of tightness because the dog subsequently gets to choose exactly what they sniff, how long they sniff for, and where they adventure. It establishes a non-alpha status for the owner. Owners can stand tight until the dog takes a backspace. Keep in mind, this is not literal. The dog should be leading the way physically, but not leading the leash.
These are just a few small techniques that can be applied daily. Contact the team at Midwest Dog Training for a full exploration of leashing techniques, among others, to improve behavior.