Every time I go for a walk with Alex, I see pet parents walking their dogs, while others have their dogs walk them. The former is the goal and is what you should strive for in order to enjoy walking your dog.
The picture below shows how not to walk a dog. The dog is pulling his pet parent and frustration will soon ensue.
Has this happened to me? Heck yes. More times than I care to remember, but walking Alex and the dogs that stay with us taught me the following:
- Before putting that leash on your dog, check your mood. Yes, check your mood. If you are angry, nervous, anxious, etc., your dog will pick up on it and your walk will be a nightmare.
- Ask your dog to sit so you can put on her collar and leash. Open the door with you exiting first, followed by your dog.
- Make sure the leash is loose and your dog is on your left side. If you prefer to use the right side, that is fine, but at the beginning you need to use the same side for consistency.
- Start walking with your dog next to you. If she starts getting ahead of you, at this point she is probably pulling you, walk the opposite way.
- Every time she pulls you go the opposite way. She’ll get the point after a couple of times. I did this with my first dog, Casey, and I got dizzy because a few times were more like a lot of times. Patience was my only weapon.
- If you get frustrated, and you will, please go back home and end the walk. The ability for a dog to learn diminishes when she is under stress.
This is Cynthia and Alex walking on a loose leash in Annapolis, MD. Alex, unlike Casey, learned very fast how to walk this way. If you have a dog like Alex, teaching your dog to walk properly will be a breeze, but if you happen to have a dog like Casey be prepared to turn around over and over again.
Also, whenever you are teaching your dog something new make sure that you do it in an area that your dog is familiar with and where there are no distractions. The point is to set your dog up for success, right? Later on you can add distractions.
I would not take a dog that does not know how to walk on a loose leash to Annapolis, although this is a very beautiful place, because there are way too many distractions. Be fair and patient with your dog, and remember that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace, not yours.