What are the keys to walking a dog on a loose leash? Sometimes owners will need to use tools to physically control their dogs. We often think that the way to work with a dog is by physically controlling them, either with force or by commands like “sit” and “stay.” Have you ever heard a dog tell another dog a command? I’ve never heard a dog say, “Hey Max, sit down.” So why do we keep insisting on using commands that dogs don’t use in their normal communication with each other? Why do we go against nature?
In nature, dogs don’t use leashes. A mother dog will clearly communicate what she doesn’t like through body language and sounds. By communicating in a non-physical way, using body language and sounds, you will have better success with your dog. As humans, we overthink and complicate things. We love dogs because they are simple creatures that can do complex tasks.
So what are the keys to walking a dog on a loose leash? What if the dog is young and physically stronger than you? My pitbulls are often bossed around by dogs much smaller than them. The smaller dogs are mentally stronger, which makes my dogs respect them, take a step back, and calm themselves. If we, as owners, can mimic dogs before going out for the walk, we have a much better chance of having a nice, calm walk.
Look at the video below. Leo is a very strong and athletic German Shepherd. His owner is older and struggled with him pulling and lunging at other dogs and squirrels. After working with him inside the home when he was first calm, she learned how to get Leo to focus on her and follow her on the walk. She made the walk her walk. There is no physical punishment or treats involved. By making Leo think and be more mindful of what she wants, his owner is able to accomplish this kind of a walk – walking on a loose leash and following her.
Think about taking a very young child to a crowded event or the mall. Typically, you won’t have a leash for the child. You have to be able to communicate with them clearly with your voice. Your voice has to cut through the child’s adrenaline and excitement so they can calm down and focus on you. This isn’t done to be mean or reprimand the child, but it’s for their own safety and your sanity.
If you have any questions about training or need some help with dog training in the Fairfax, VA area, please contact me!