There are a lucky few with acreage who can get away with not training loose leash skills but for the rest of us, leash skills are vital. Living in Portland without a yard means that Mr. N is on a leash the majority of the time we’re outdoors. So training good leash manners was a priority. Granted he’s tiny so pulling isn’t as big of an issue (although we did find out that he can pull a patio table after himself!) but it’s still annoying when dogs are pulling left and right and I wanted him to be able to walk politely.
When I first started training Mr. N to walk on a loose leash after we got him, I used the “be a tree” method. Basically you stop if there’s any tension on the leash and pretend to be a tree and motionless and move forward if the leash is slack. It’s probably not the most efficient method but it worked. Even though it took forever and a half to get anywhere. It was a grueling two weeks but at the end of it, Mr. N got the concept that if he pulled, we weren’t moving. Consistency is key.
I tried using treats at first but quickly realized he was going to eat his weight in treats and switched to rewarding him for a loose leash with forward momentum. He enjoys walking so the real life reward worked nicely. Looking back, I’m still not sure how we got through it. He does have the odd moment of excitement when he sees another dog or squirrel but I’d say he walks on a loose leash 99.9 percent of the time and that’s fine with me.
I also used a front hook harness and tried changing directions but being really consistent about not moving forward if he was pulling was what worked for us. There’s other methods including silky leash and the 300 peck method but I haven’t tried those yet.
How did you train your dog to walk on a loose leash?
Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier, Travels with Barley and Wag ‘n Woof Pets. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Our theme for this month is Transportation but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long.
*If you buy from the Amazon links listed on this blog, it won’t cost you extra but we will get a few pennies that go towards running the blog and Mr. N’s treat allowance!