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Polite Leash Walking, Part 1

Set yourself up for success in teaching your dog to walk on leash without pulling. Learn why it’s so unnatural for dogs to walk this way, and how you can help your dog get it right.

By
Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #139

Don’t sweat the first few minutes of the first morning walk too much – that’s dying-for-relief time, and even the best-trained dog tends to be in a hurry to find just the right spot. More important, take Tip #3 to heart: Be generous. You and your dog are starting with a handicap here, in that she’s the very opposite of tired and relaxed. You’ve got to compensate somehow, so make every single step taken with a loose leash worth your dog’s while. When attentive, polite walking is well established, you can start thinning out the number of food rewards you give, but there is no need to rush the process of building up a habit for a lifetime. Expecting too much performance for not enough paycheck is among the commonest mistakes non-trainers make. Avoid it – and that goes for you suburbanites and country types, too.

Next week, polite leash walking step by step, starting in your living room, without a leash. Stay tuned. You can follow me on Twitter, where I’m Dogalini. I’m The Dog Trainer on Facebook, and you can also write to me at dogtrainer@quickanddirtytips.com. I welcome your comments and suggestions, and though I can’t reply individually, I may use them as the basis for future articles. Thanks for reading!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).