A Jack Russell Terrier out for a walk

Leash walking is one of the first skills your dog needs to learn to live a happy life. Daily walks provide plenty of exercise and socialization necessary for your dog to become a great canine citizen. Still, leash walking can be something of a challenge for most pets, as many new pet owners don’t realize that this skill is learned, not innate. 

If you and your fur friend needs some help in the leashing walking department, The Pet Experts and Naperville Animal Hospital are here. Here are some of our best training tips so that you and your Fido can be out walking successfully very soon.

8 Tips for Leash Walking Like a Pro

Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash is challenging but not impossible. Having your pet comfortable on a leash not only protects them from accidents and injuries but it also makes the walk more enjoyable for you both. 

Here are some of our suggestions for teaching your pet the right way to walk on a leash.

  1. Get your pet used to the collar and leash. If your pet has never used a collar and leash, then practice in the yard and at home. Take them out to potty with it on, or over to a friend’s home. This way, the leash itself won’t be such a distraction as you move into more training.
  2. Keep initial sessions short. Keep walking sessions to 15 minutes at first, then gradually increase the time spent out as your pet learns the ropes. This will reduce the likelihood of frustration for you both.
  3. Use treats. Make sure to bring along small treats for rewarding good behavior.
  4. Exercise ahead of time. A tired pet is a better behaved pet, so try and run your dog in the backyard before journeying out on a walk. That way, your pet will be less likely to want to get off leash.
  5. Never move forward if your dog pulls. Each time your dog tightens the leash and pulls ahead, stop. Wait until you have their attention, and then move forward. If they refuse to stop pulling, stop and look away until they are attentive. Curbing the habit of pulling means staying consistent with the idea that neither one of you will go anywhere until your pet follows your cue.
  6. Allow your dog to sniff. One of the biggest distractions for your dog is the myriad of smells available. It may seem unsavory to you, but by allowing him to stop and sniff along the walk, you’ll find that he’s more likely keep moving when the time comes. 
  7. Anticipate problems. If you scan the area while you walk, you will notice potential distractions, like other dogs, squirrels, and people. Know that your dog will react, even if mildly, to this stimuli and walk to the other side of the street. Advanced training will teach your pet to be nonreactive to outside stimuli, but for now, disengage from the situation ahead of time.
  8. Practice using your verbal commands. Basic commands are the basis of all training, and can help your pet do great while out walking. Use a variety of commands, once your pet gets used to the walk, to help reinforce them for excellent behavior. 

If we can answer any questions you have about walking your dog successfully, please do not hesitate to call. We have several training classes coming up, too, so feel free to reach out and inquire.