Walk with your puppy on a leash. If the puppy pulls (which is very natural for a dog to do) stop walking immediately. As soon as the puppy tunes into you, or there is slack in the leash, praise the pup and give him a treat. Do not move forward until there is slack in the leash.
- Puppy is on leash and you have treats and a toy on your person.
- You start to move forward.
- One of several scenarios will take place:
The pup will pay attention to you and not pull.
Praise the pup and after a few steps, stop and give him a treat.
The pup will not pay attention to you but he will not be pulling on the leash.
Stop. The pup will end up walking past you. Once the leash gets tight, stop and stand still. It is up to the pup to figure out that a tight leash is going to put a damper on things! He also learns that it pays to be watching you because who knows what may happen if he doesn’t.
Once he has moved closer to you and there is slack in the leash, praise him and offer him a little taste of the treat. Remember it will also be a reward to the pup to move forward again so it is not necessary to treat every single time the pup tunes into you. You can offer him a treat every two or three times. Verbally praise him every time.
If after standing still for 30 seconds or so, the puppy has still not tuned into you, try backing up a few steps.
The pup will dash ahead and the leash will immediately get tight.
Stop, and wait for the leash to loosen up. The pup will actually need to stop his forward motion and come back closer to you in order for the leash to get loose. Once he has done this, praise him, give him a treat, and continue on your way.
The puppy does not walk at all and you feel as though you are practically dragging him.
In this case we need to look at the situation and decide what the problem is.
Can you get the puppy motivated with treats or toys?
Is the pup too full of dinner to be enticed with treats?
Is the pup going for walks that are too long for him? Shorten the walks and see what happens. You may need to shorten them drastically to see a difference.
Have you been carrying the dog in your arms so much that he has trained you to pick him up and carry him if he stops walking?
Is the pup healthy? Rule out a physical problem by taking the pup to the vet for a check up.
It is very important to stop often. This is how the dog learns to watch you. Even if things seem to be going great, you must remember to stop. A good rule of thumb in the beginning is to walk two or three steps. It will feel weird at first like, “oh my, I am not getting anywhere” but this is what has to happen in order for the exercise to be effective. Walk, stop, walk, stop. Think timing and feedback. You will start to see the results as little by little the puppy starts to pay attention to you instead of everything going on around him. It will be a very good feeling.
In competition, dogs heel on the left. Most obedience schools will probably teach you to train your dog to heel on your left; this is taught as a matter of tradition. It is up to you which side your pup walks on. Unless you are planning to show your dog, it really doesn’t matter.
- It is not desirable to be pulled down the street by your dog. At the very least, this feels unpleasant. Worse, injuries can easily happen.
- A dog that is out of control and unpleasant to take for a walk very often ends up not going out at all. This will most certainly be the foundation for some serious problems. It will cause problems in the house, problems in the yard, and potentially, problems with other dogs or people.
If your puppy is a real eager beaver, bouncing off the walls and hyper to begin with, your intonation should be calm and quiet to help keep the pup focused. With a shy and timid pup you may want to ham it up a bit to get the puppy relaxed and into the exercises and or games.