Photo © cbckchristine - Fotolia

In today's world dogs don't really get the chance to do what they were bred for. Even if you have a backyard your dog can run in, it's most likely not giving him what he needs -- sensory stimulation, something that walks can provide. The meet-and-greet and the smells of other dogs and people are things you dog sorely needs.

The best way to help you and your dog in this walking adventure is to start them off as a puppy.

Your dog should a secure-fitting collar or harness and ID tag, and you want to get them used to wearing it before you attempt to take them for walks.

Usually at first dogs aren't crazy about having a collar on so start with that first. Put it on, let them just walk around with it for a day so they feel comfortable. Make sure you can get a couple of fingers under it so it's not too tight. You can also use a head halter or harness, which doesn't pull as much as a collar.

Next, get some type of light line about 4-6 feet long. Use something like a light cotton rope and tie it to the collar. Let your pup walk around with this for a day or so. That way they will get used to the feel. If they step on it they will feel the pressure and learn to yield to pressure. Once the dog is used to the line, swap it out for a 10-15 ft line. You are now ready to embark on the great outdoors.

Start slowly

Initially it's a short trek with your pal. You just want to get them used to walking with a lead. Allow puppy to drag the line behind him for a bit, then pick up the opposite end. Let him lead you around for a few seconds while you hold the line just off the ground. Slow down so he’s forced to slow down, ultimately to a stop. Take a short break for praise and a little playtime.

This next little bit of advice is to help you so you don't get that pulling action. Let your dog drag the line again but when you pick up your end this time, call him and stand still. If he pulls, hold your ground without pulling him in your direction. You want to have slack in the line and make him do that himself by moving toward you. When he puts slack in the line, praise him and call him to you. You should do this for a few times. It's all about the reward at the end.

Once you are able to walk with a loose lead you are now ready for a real leash.

There is always one in every crowd that is a little more stubborn and still pulls. Don't continue to pull your dog because you can cause severe neck injuries.

Try this instead. Maintain the tension on the line and turn your back on your pup. Allow time for it to occur to her she can’t win by pulling against you.

Remain still with your back to her holding the tension in the line – don’t jerk the line, don’t pull or yank her toward you, and don’t put slack in the line yourself, which will teach her the way to get slack is to pull at the line.
You are telling your dog that this will not get him anywhere and you mean literally.

The second that your dog pulls you have to teach him this behavior will get him nowhere. Just like humans, some catch on quicker than others so patience is a requirement. Given time and understanding your dog will catch on.

As we all know, if you don't exercise the pounds just start to mount up and it's the same with your dog. That is why the leash needs to be your dog's friend. It's the conduit to getting him outside. Dogs need exercise every three days, minimum, in order to maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle wasting. Consistent daily aerobic exercise should be the goal.

Share your Comments