Learning to walk on leash is a challenge for many dogs, especially when they are young and hyperactive. This is why encouraging your dog to be calm through positive reinforcement is key. Try these tips to kick-start your dog’s training.
1. Encourage your dog to sit before food, walks, and treats
A new stimulus such as a toy, food, or a change in activity can send dogs into a state of hyperactivity. This is natural, but allowing your dog to zoom and jump around unchecked reinforces that this behaviour is acceptable. Dogs can be taught to regulate their behaviour both on and off the leash, and one of the best ways to do this is by asking your dog to sit down before they are allowed to eat, go on a walk or receive a treat. Reinforce good behaviour by giving your dog a small treat every time they stay sat down successfully whilst waiting for their dinner or a walk, as this trains them to regulate their excitement.
2. Be consistent with road-crossing behaviour
Crossing the road is dangerous with a dog that pulls. This is why every single time you cross a road, especially with a large dog, it is a good idea to get into the habit of asking them to sit. However, this cannot be done sporadically. Even if there is no traffic, get your dog to sit for a second before crossing. If you are inconsistent, your dog will get mixed messages and will begin to decide its own road-crossing rules.
3. Do not let your dog pull on the leash
This is a bad habit that should be nipped in the bud as early as possible. Many dog owners are in a constant tug-o-war battle with their dogs during walks. No matter how much they pull their dog back or ask them to heel, their dog won’t. One tip that can help dogs understand that pulling on the leash is not ok is to simply not walk or move forward at all when the dog is pulling. This can take a lot of patience, but will eventually lead to a calmer dog. Asking your dog to sit when it pulls can also help to reinforce that you are in control. It gives your tired arms a rest too!
Train your dog with Total K9
Contact Total K9 for more advice and information on encouraging calm canine behaviour. We offer professional dog training to both family and working dogs, including security dogs and police dogs. Get in touch with our experienced dog handlers to find out more.