If your dog starts out the door first and leads you by the end of the leash, that’s the first step that needs to change. Humans begin all walks, calm and relaxed, and first out the door. With your dog at your side, you lead the way on the adventure. If your dog doesn’t have the concept of not pulling, walk in circles! You’ve probably seen our trainer shirts that say “Keep Calm Walk Circles.” We do this because it teaches our dogs to respect space, look up at us, and pay attention to where their human handlers want to go. Guide your dog with your leg that’s closest to him while you walk in this circle, arms loose and relaxed. This brings his energy down and gets him focused on you instead of what’s around. You’re looking up and around, anticipating what’s coming ahead, so you get to call the shots on whether or not it needs a reaction. Stroller approaching? No problem. Pass your dog behind your back so your body is between the distraction. This puts you in front and in charge, making it easier to pass by. If you’re teaching your dog to walk on a leash, you may just be walking in circles for a week or so, but that’s ok! Start small and build those leash skills instead of expecting perfection from the start. Once you feel nice and relaxed, then it’s time to start moving forward. Walking in circles isn’t forever, but it gets your dog paying attention to you, so that when you do see another dog approaching, he knows that you will take care of it so he doesn’t have to. Watch this short clip of trainer Kersti and current Training Camp Student, Luna, working on leash skills.
If you’re interested in teaching your dog how to walk politely on a loose leash, we offer lots of ways to learn. Whether you work one-on-one with a trainer during a private consult at your home, send him to Dog Training Camp, or enroll in one of our fun classes like Social Outings or Canine Parkour, each service will cover proper leash walking skills to get you started on the right foot and your dog started on the right paw!