They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but we couldn’t disagree more! While teaching a dog to walk on leash is much easier when they’re younger, this doesn’t mean you can’t teach an adult dog to do so. While the process might take a little longer, it is very achievable and the success of it is very rewarding.

Your dog will likely be used to a collar and leash at this point in his life but if he’s not, then I would suggest you read our article “Walking a Puppy”. That article starts with the basics of getting your dog used to the collar and leash before you even attempt to go for a walk.

What you will need: yummy treats, poop bags, a flat 6 ft leash, and your dog with his collar properly fitted.

Now start out for your walk at a brisk pace. Make sure your shoulders are back, head is up, and your arm is holding the leash comfortably by your side. Your arm should not be extended in any way – if it is, it means the leash is tightening as a result of your dog pulling. Once your dog starts to pull or advance ahead of you, you can either stop abruptly or back up. The idea of either stopping or walking backwards is that your dog will soon learn that when he pulls, the walk stops or changes course. He might want to lead the walk but you won’t tolerate it. As soon as your dog focuses his attention on you and comes closer to you, praise and reward with treats! Be sure to keep moving again – this will keep things interesting and will force the dog to focus more of his attention on you so that he doesn’t miss a cue.

At first you will be giving out plenty of treats and praise but this is essential to training your dog to walk on a loose leash. Eventually you will be able to wean the treats but for now just remember to reward all the positive actions. Any time your dog is leashed be sure to practice the good habit of a loose leash – never again will there be a tight leash! A tight leash represents tension in both the action and your body. You want your dog to sense that you are relaxed and comfortable so that he will WANT to follow your lead.

Be sure to start out in a low distraction environment and once you feel ready you can challenge him (and yourself!) to walk on a loose leash in a higher traffic area.

Now go out and have fun!

 


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Tonia
Tonia has owned her own dog walking company and been a full-time professional dogwalker for over 4 years. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and the Pet Professional Guild (the Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals). She volunteers weekly at a local dog shelter where she gets to feed and spend time with many furry friends.
She started Dogwalker World to share her knowledge and passion about dogs and their natural instinct to walk and explore. She believes (and knows) that walking your dog can be a fun activity that will only strengthen your bond with them. This website is her dedication to you to ensure that you find the tools and advice necessary to make walking your dog a success!

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