Loose leash walking is one of those skills that people really want their dogs to do. But sometimes it can be hard to teach your dog how to do it. Some dogs are great, and other dogs make it really difficult to be able to teach them how to do that. So what I wanted to share with you all today are some common mistakes that people make when they are trying to teach their dog to walk on a slack leash.
The first mistake is turning around when your dog looks away. So let me kind of go into a little bit of detail on this one. As you’re moving with the dog, the dog should generally be in heel position and each and every time that the dog gets out ahead of you and they’re not looking at you because they’re in front of you. I recommend turning around, doing that quickly, and doing that without saying anything to your dog.
However, if your dog is in heel position, they may actually glance to the left or glance to the right without actually walking ahead of you. In these situations, sometimes people think it’s their dogs being inattentive. I should turn. You should not turn. If the dog just looks away and they are relatively in heel position, you should just continue to walk forward because your loose leash will bring the dog along. So again, common mistake number one is turning around. when your dog looks away. You should just continue to move forward.
Using Your Knee
The second mistake would be using your knee to turn your dog instead of the leash. So on my leash, I keep a knot near the bottom close to the dog where if I was to flick my wrist, there would be tension. And if I was to have my hand straight down with my arm locked, there would be no tension.
So as I’m walking a dog on a loose leash before I turn, what I’m going to do is I’m going to gather the leash up and grab that knot and put it into my left hand. Then I’m going to apply just a small amount of pressure down the leash to the training collar to steer the dog out of my way.
But what some people do is they still grab the leash. Then as they’re turning, they’re using their knees and their legs to move the dog. And I just can’t think that this isn’t what you want to be doing. Like, who really wants to be kneeing their dog in the face? So that’s common mistake number two is to use your body to turn the dog instead of using your leash. You’ll want to use your leash and it’ll make the transmission of that move much smoother.
Okay, the third mistake would be going further than your dog is ready for. Here’s one of my crazy sayings again, if you can’t walk your dog nicely in front of your house, don’t walk in front of mine. Okay, well, maybe not. But what I’m trying to say here is oftentimes people will overwhelm themselves with their ability to handle their dog by going too far out of their home neighborhood.
Now I’m all for pushing out and trying to get a little bit more. But just remember, if you stay close to home and then you start just adding a little bit at a time, it won’t be that long before you’re able to go much, much further. But if you venture out too far too fast, it’s likely that your technique could begin to crumble because now the distractions are starting to get you, and their distractions are just too much for your dog. So consider not going too far. Concentrate on getting really good just in front of your property, then your street, and then your block.
Sniff and Potty
The fourth mistake would be not giving time to sniff and potty. I’m all for a lot of structure for your dog and or learning how to walk. But every once in a while, just slow down, put your dog at heel, and then release your dog to sniff around and potty. It’s very easy to get obsessed with moving with your dog and teaching them to focus and having that leash be loose.
You know, letting them be a dog will help you get more out of the walk because they’ll see that as a form of reinforcement. So if you’re fair with that, then you’ll see that you’re going to get much better results. Now, obviously, if your dog is pulling you everywhere and then you let them sniff around and potty wherever they want. Well, that’s reinforcing, too, and you’re going to get more of that pulling behavior.
Distracted by the Distraction
Finally, the fifth and probably the most common mistake that I see is us becoming distracted by the distraction. I was walking with a family today, and I saw that the dog that we were walking got distracted by another dog that was behind a fence. My client at the same time got distracted by the same thing, and they had just almost come to a stop even though they weren’t intending to. I had to remind them that they needed to continue to move with a purpose. I wanted them to understand that every time that the distraction distracted them, the dog would be given more time to focus on it, and the technique would not work as well. Especially since they were on a loose leash.
I hope those five tips were helpful for you all. Remember you can always find helpful videos on my YouTube Channel or find more tips like this right here on my website www.longoriahausdogtraining.com.