Leash walking training is essential for breeds such as the German Shorthaired Pointer. Learn some leash walking tips in our dog leash training guide below:
Attention Walking Dog Leash Training 101
The goal here is to make the dog think you’re the center of the universe. This may be challenging at first as your new pointer or any dog for that matter will be excited by all the sights and smells around them.
We recommend using soft delicious treats, I choose white cheese for training.
Your dog may wonder about eating the cheese is at first but as with Char after one bite she was hooked and made for an amazing small soft reward for training. We eventually switched to healthier organic dog treats, just make sure they are soft and easy to digest. Avoid the hard stuff like milk bones.
Start by having your dog sit in front of you, ideally you have already mastered this part of the training, if not start here before trying the attention walking. 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 as well reward them with a treat.
Now the humane society recommends using the trigger word of “yes” to signal a job well done. I had been saying good or good girl, so with some training I to will have the correct commands down. Just stay consistent, after years good girl has stuck for us.
At first this can be INCREDIBLY frustrating if the dog doesn’t want to sit, or something else distracts their attention from behind while training, and with a GSP it won’t take much of anything to get their attention as the can smell for freaking miles and miles and miles…
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. We started our attention walking right out the front door and continued at a different location out on the ranch. I think it’s important to mix the training locations up as these dogs are smart and need stimulation.
One thing that worked wonders was stopping and going, stopping and going. At first if you can make it to the end of your driveway, congratulate yourself. Then tomorrow, the neighbors house and so on. Don’t go trying this around the block unless you and your dog enjoy being frustrated.
Leash Walking Video
What I noticed most was I now had the dog’s attention while we go for walks. This took some time but the more you invest now into these dogs the happier the next 10+ years of your lives will be (plural) as this is a family member, don’t forget that.
You also want to get the dogs 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.
And even better is if you can do this without your sunglasses, let your dog learn and understand the different looks you give them as soon they will do the same to you. And shorthairs eyes can burn holes through humans hearts, minds and souls. If these dogs have not been exercised enough you will learn to feel their heavy stares…
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. 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.
Learning what to do when the dog does not react to the first command takes time. It’s hard as instinct is to raise your voice, just like my mom would do.
Get this part down now, and you will odds are never have to use a leash in the future unless you are in a city. As these dogs are not bread, designed or really meant for any reason to be leashed. Let them run, but that can really only happen in confined areas at first until a trust is built.