When starting any new training – learning process with your dog the #1 goal is to make pup think and better yet KNOW that you’re the center of the universe and the one in control. This may be challenging at first as your new dog will be excited by all the sights and smells around them, especially a working dog breed.
Keep in mind – a dog that pulls on the leash or pulls on lead should be trained to follow your lead.
Here are some leash walking tips we have learned over the years in our dog leash training guide below:
Attention Walking Dog Leash Training
I recommend starting out by using soft delicious treats for positive re-enforcement training. I prefer to use white string cheese for training.
Your dog may wonder about eating cheese at first but as with my dog Char after one bite she was hooked, most likely yours will be too. String cheese makes for an easy to digest soft treat that works wonders for training for training.
I did eventually switched to healthier organic dog treats, just make sure they are soft and easy to digest. Avoid the hard stuff like milk bones. Keep an eye out for Foods that Are Toxic to your pets when offering up snack food, especially if it’s designed for humans.
When to Start Leash Training
At first leash walking training can be INCREDIBLY frustrating, my advise is to take lots of deep breaths if your dog doesn’t want to sit, or something else distracts their attention while training, pause and then start over.
We started our attention walking right out the front door and continued at a different location out on the ranch. After about 5-10 minutes of repetition I was able to see great results and for the most part Char would stay closer to me then she had the past few days. I think it’s important to mix the training locations up as dogs are smart and need stimulation, especially working breeds.
One thing that really helped was to alternate between stopping and walking, stopping and walking. Start small, if you can make it to the end of your driveway, congratulate yourself. Then tomorrow, the neighbors house and so on and so on. Don’t go trying this around the block unless you and your dog enjoy being frustrated. Sort of like when someone is starting out learning to go for runs, only run as far as you can comfortably run home!
Walking on a Leash
Start by having your dog sit in front of you, ideally you have already mastered this part of the training. With a loose leash and a treat in your hand slowly take a few steps backwards, as the dog follows stop and if they sit or stop, reward them with a treat.
I like to train with Ruffwear Dog Leashes which are available in a variety of lengths and uses. Just remember to not allow your dog to pull!
Dog Leash Walking Video
Getting Your Dogs Attention
What I noticed most about this training is I now have the dog’s attention while we go for walks. This took some time but the more you invest now into your dogs the happier the next 10+ years of your lives will be (plural) as this is your dog is a family member, don’t ever forget that.
Its also important to get your dogs gaze and eyes to focus on you while walking on leash, not a million miles ahead of you. Char would pull, I would stop she would turn around look at me and start walking back towards me. At that point I would continue walking, sure it may look silly and take a good deal of time to travel any distance but the dog and I are getting it.
Patience is your friend.
Take it a step farther and try this training outdoors without your sunglasses on. This lets your dog learn, see and understand the different looks and facial expressions you give them as soon they will do the same to you. Remember we haven’t learned how to speak dog, and dog’s for the most part don’t speak English.
The Human Factor
Training seems to be 50% about the dog and 50% about the human. It’s extremely important to control your emotions and energy around German Shorthaired Pointers especially or any dog for that matter. At times I will get frustrated when I’m being pulled and yanked in different directions or when the dog just simply chooses to ignore my “come” command.
Again see the part above about patience..
Learning what to do when your dog does not react to a command takes time. Our instinct is to raise our voice, just like our parents would do.
Speak calmly and firmly when giving your dog commands and before you know it you will have a best friend, and pal that respects your voice.