Your Relationship Affects Leash Walking
Like practically every other aspect of training your dog, the relationship you have with him affects how he walks on leash. Is he attentive to you, or more interested in everything else? Does he drag you toward things he wants to see or sniff, while you trail helplessly behind like a caboose on the end of a runaway train? If he does, it’s time to get your relationship in order and teach him the rules of walking with you.
Sounds simple, huh? It is simple if you change your perception of why you’re walking your dog. You probably have at least a few reasons for walking your dog now, like to let him potty, or for exercise. Instead of accompanying your dog on his walk, let him accompany you on yours. Go in the direction you want to go, and at the pace that you like. Stop when you feel like stopping, not because your dog wants to sniff or hike his leg on every blade of grass along your route.
Take the Reinforcement Out of Pulling
If you allow your dog to pull, you are teaching him that pulling is the right thing to do. If it’s working for him, why should he give it up? Stop making forward progress if there is more tension on the leash than one or two fingers can easily hold. If nothing else, stop and wait for him to take tension off the leash before continuing. Even better is going in another direction; any direction is better than the one he wants to go in. You just have to make sure pulling isn’t working for him, ever.
You mean I can’t let my dog potty on walks?
You can let him potty on walks; you just can’t let him potty at will. Give him a chance to go before you set out. Once you’re walking, keep moving, and stop when you want to. Don’t let him stop here and there, marking territory. If you want to give him a chance to go, have him sit and give you eye contact before you release him. Give him the length of the leash and a few minutes to go before you gather him back up and set out again