Loose Leash Walking: Putting Pressure on the Leash
- Positive interrupter is recommended. Click HERE to find instructions for training one.
- Dog who is not upset by harness. If your dog cannot tolerate a harness, please see your trainer for instructions.
- Harness recommended. Collar will work.
- Treat pouch
- 4-6 foot leash
- TRAINING ENVIRONMENT:
- Begin this and all exercises in a low distraction environment.
- With leash work you will need plenty of room to work. A hallway, garage, or any other open area inside your home will work best.
- Put the harness on your dog and attach the leash.
- Give the leash a gentle tug (do not pop or drag your dog) and hand the dog a treat.
- Repeat this three or four times.
- Next give the gentle tug, and pause for a split second. If necessary, make a noise to get your dog’s attention (see Positive Interrupter in prerequisites).
- When your dog turns towards you, click and hand him a treat.
- Gradually extend the pause between the tug and the noise.
- Continue to click and treat when your dog looks at you.
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 until your dog starts looking at you as a result of the pressure and before you make any noise.
- When you no longer need the noise drop it from the exercise.
- Next, add a small step away from your dog so he must come toward you instead of just looking at you in order to earn the click.
- Gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog so he must follow you farther.
If yours dog is like mine and gives great focus in training situations, try pulling the leash to the side instead of toward you. Click and treat when your dog yields to the pressure. I demonstrate this in the video below.
- Practice for five minutes twice each day.
- If your dog does well in one location, change to a different location, but one without many distractions.
AT THE END OF THIS STEP:
- Your dog should be relieving pressure on the leash and looking at you as he walks toward you.
- Pressure on the leash should result in your dog paying attention to you and moving toward you.
My dog isn’t following me when I step away.
- Try these steps:
- Tug your dog as before, and when he turns toward you use a food lure to encourage him to follow you.
- Take a step back and give him the treat.
- Gradually make him go a little farther for the treat (2-3 steps back)
- After 3-4 repetitions, take the first step back without the food and produce the food (rather than having it in front of his nose).
- Gradually, he should begin to follow you the first step in anticipation that the food will appear.
- Add another step before you produce the treat. Then another… etc.
My dog is uncomfortable in his harness.
- Talk to your trainer for help.
My dog won’t look at me, not even to get a treat.
- Try a less distracting environment. If you started in your yard go in the house.
- Try a better treat like roast beef or liver.