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Video:Train a Dog to Walk Without Pulling

with Andrea Arden

Does your dog pull you in all directions when you go for a walk together? Training a dog to walk nicely is a challenge. But with the right techniques, you can teach your dog to walk without pulling on the leash. See how it's done.See Transcript

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Transcript:Train a Dog to Walk Without Pulling

Hi. I’m Andrea Arden, here at Andrea Arden Dog Training in New York City, for About.com. And I’m going to show you how to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a leash.

The Challenge of Dog Walking

Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash is one of the most difficult things you can teach your dog to do. Probably more so then most elaborate tricks and the reason for that is because teaching your dog to walk nicely on leash is done in an environment outside where the dog is distracted by loads of different stimulus, including smell, sound, sight. So you’re essentially competing with the world to get your dog’s attention. And, obviously the basis of walking nicely on leash is having your dog pay attention to you. Because if they’re not paying attention then they’re probably pulling.

Making Eye Contact With Your Dog

So, the first thing you need to do in terms of teaching your dog to walk nicely on leash is work on attention exercises indoors. And that means you need to start with teaching your dog to make eye contact, as the first step. Number two is that you should have your dog be able to make eye contact and then you should be able to take a step or two forward and have the dog step forward with you and stop and make eye contact again. If you can’t get those first two steps in doors in a non distracting environment, you’re not ready to practice outside yet.

Move Training Outside

But once your dog is able to do this little step stop sit exercise with you inside you can start practicing in more distracting environments and gradually increase the number of steps in between the stops, so that your dog should be able to, eventually, walk easily a full block with a nice slack leash. But the tools you’re going to use to get that ultimate goal are going to be eye contact. Making sure you have loads of reinforcements that can compete with the environment. Like high value treats or toys. So, that you can reinforce your dog for baby steps in the right direction.

Reward Good Behavior

The steps to teaching your dog to walk nicely on leash first and foremost is get control of all the things in your dog’s life that you think they want. Food, toys, attention, being allowed up on the couch, walking through doorways and use those things to your benefit by saying to your dog I will give you these things in exchange for good behavior. Good behavior in this case is to start with taking a couple of steps walking next to me with a slack leash. Number two is make sure that you are prepared when you go for a walk. So, have a treat pouch with yummy treats in it. Maybe even a toy if your dog is toy motivated.

Use the Right Equipment

And use the right training equipment. For most dogs that’s a plain buckle collar. But for many dogs either using a head collar or a body harness that hooks in the front can really help you. It’s sort of like power steering. Step number three is making sure that you start in a non-distracting environment with the step stop sit exercise where you take one step, wait for your dog to sit, mark the behavior by saying "yes and" giving them a reinforcement. And then gradually increase the number of steps in between your stops.

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