Today, it’s not uncommon to see dog owners walking their beloved canines. While dog walking is a necessity, most of the people you come across are going about the walk entirely the wrong way. Your dog – no matter what his size – should never be running ahead of you and should never be leading you. As the owner, you should always have complete control over your animal not only for its safety but for the safety of other people and animals around you.
Properly walking your dog is important for a few reasons. First, your dog needs exercise. Even if you have a huge backyard, he will become frustrated if that’s the only world he ever sees - so taking him on walks provides additional stimulation and allows him to release excess energy. Second, the walk provides you with a great time to assert your dominance and to become your dog’s leader. This is much easier to accomplish during the walk than anywhere else. Finally, the walk is a wonderful bonding experience for the two of you and can provide a great opportunity for socialization. Unfortunately, a dog who can’t walk correctly on a leash is less likely to be walked regularly and won’t reap any of these benefits.
To walk appropriately, you need the right leash. Retractable leashes are not a good idea because they give your dog too much freedom to run ahead of you. You must have a leash which gives you complete control over how far your dog can move. Leather and nylon leashes are both good choices but you want to pick one that is strong enough so your dog can’t break it if he tries to dart away from you.
When you first bring your puppy home, spend some time having the leash on him while he’s in the house so he can become used to it. Feed him treats, pet him, and do other enjoyable activities while the leash is attached so he will associate it with pleasant things right away.
During the walks, your puppy should wear a sturdy collar. Many dogs only require a nylon buckle collar. Some dogs, particularly those with thick coats and tough necks, may need something which can get their attention more effectively, such as pinch collar or head halter. You can learn more about the different types of dog collars available by reading Different Types of Collars at BoxerWorld.com.
On the first walk, you should be prepared to not get very far. Make sure your puppy is on your left side and there is no tension in the leash. If there is tension or your dog’s head is ahead of your legs, then give a corrective upward jerk on the leash to get his attention and stop walking. Make your dog sit beside you. When he has calmed down, start walking again. Go a few more steps and stop. Have the dog sit, then reward him with a treat if he was good. Continue doing this process. Keep moving forward for longer each time as long as your puppy gets better at walking. You can learn more about appropriate walking technique by reading Does Your Dog Pull on Leash?
Remember, as with any type of dog training, you need to be patient and consistent while you continue working with your puppy until he becomes a good walker on-leash.