It is natural for dogs to move faster and get excited while exploring the many sights, sounds and smells outdoors, and a leash severely constrains their normal behavior and movements. This is why they often end up pulling and tugging, making it an uncomfortable experience for both themselves and their handlers. It is most important to be patient, calm and confident when leash training a dog, making sure to address any fears or concerns it may have. Effective training must begin with familiarizing the dog with a suitable collar and leash, so that it is comfortable with the accessory before it gets distracted by the outside world. The training process teaches the dog to associate the leash with an enjoyable playtime, and not a tense experience in which it is being pulled or dragged against its will.
Once the desirable behavior is mastered inside your home with fewer distractions, your dog will be ready to test its newly acquired skills outdoors. The first few walks are kept short and focussed on avoiding potential distractions that can lead to pulling, lunging and barking. There are bound to be issues to confront in an uncontrolled environment, so our trainers will give you all the tools and confidence necessary to solve foreseeable problems when you are left on your own. As you and your dog become more accustomed to good leash walking behavior, you will need less treats and troubleshooting tricks to encourage your pet.
When you encounter other dogs on your walk, it is important to understand how a leash alters their natural canine behavior. If they are left off leash and to their own devices, dogs naturally greet each other from the side in an arc-like motion, sniffing each other’s genitals for just a few seconds. They do not confront each other head-on or make deliberate eye contact unless a fight is about to break out. Unfortunately, when kept on a leash, they are often forced to approach head-on and are unable to move their bodies naturally in an arc. Furthermore, owners tend to tighten the leash in the presence of another dog, which communicates tension and increases their stress. As dogs do not ordinarily want to fight, they display several ‘distance-increasing behaviors’ such as barking, growling and lunging to separate themselves from the perceived threat. Our leash training program will teach you how best to react in such situations, so that your dog eventually associates the experience with something pleasant.