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Bruce’s top tips for on lead walking

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Leading the way

Leading the way

For most dogs, going for walkies is the most exciting part of their day.

With a world of enriching smells and distractions it can be easy to see why our dog might pull on the lead to get to where they want quicker.

As a doggy owner, letting your dog pull, even by taking just one step in the direction they want, gives them the sign they’re doing a good job and if nothing is done about it, it can become a learnt behaviour.

We caught up with Head of Enrichment Louise to bring you some top tips of teaching your dog to walk nicely on lead.

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Setting off

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Setting off

Patience and time is key.

Firstly, choose walking gear for your dog that is comfortable and safe. Discover our favourite dog wear here.

It’s likely you’ll notice your dog get excited as they soon realise it’s walkies time. This can make it difficult for them to focus and listen to commands, but be sure to allow time to settle into the walk before beginning focus work.

Remember to pack some high value treats to use as rewards.

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Focus work

Focus work

Focus work is a great way to build that all important bond and show your dog that being near you pays off.

You can start at home where there are little distractions and reward your dog for staying by your side. Begin without their lead at first and once your dog is reliably following you, introduce their lead.

Gradually over time you can reduce the amount of tasty treats but it is important to continue to always praise them for sticking by you, be it in the form of verbal praise!

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Out and about

Out and about

Once your dog has learnt that they’ll be rewarded for sticking by your side, it’s time to introduce movement and head out and about on walkies.

You want to teach your dog that walking next to you on a loose lead means adventures ahead, and pulling means you’ll stop. As soon as you notice the lead start to tighten, stop, stand still, keep quiet and only begin to move forward once the lead is loose. It’s important not to pull back or tell your dog off.

If you feel your dog is not focused, try changing direction every now and then to encourage your dog to keep all eyes on you.

Remember to reward your dog. You might need to use lots of treats at the beginning but once your dog starts to learn you can cut down.

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Be consistent

Be consistent

You can’t expect your dog to learn loose lead walking straight away but if you are consistent with your training every time you go out together, it will be worth it in the end. 

In the beginning whilst your dog is learning, walkies may last longer than usual. If you stick with your training, rewarding your dog each time for good behaviour then you to will be rewarded as an owner with a happy, calm and tail-wagging dog that doesn’t pull you over.

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