There is nothing more refreshing than walking in the park and getting some fresh air with your dog. But this seemingly beautiful image seems so far away to many dog owners.
Walking nicely on a leash is not an instinctive behavior of dogs. They get distracted easily and zoom off in whatever directions they choose, totally forgetting about their leash that causes a tug-of-war between the dog and his owner.
Dogs are powerful, curious and excitable animals which can be a frustrating combination when strolling the park. However, with proper discipline and training, you can always turn them into decent and disciplined dogs that nicely keep pace beside you.
There are many reasons as to why dogs tug you during your walks. One is that they get overly excited and curious when they get outdoors, especially when it’s someplace they have never been before. They want to explore every hole and corner they get their noses into. And of course, who can forget the frequent pee stops so they can leave their mark whenever and wherever possible.
Also, sometimes your dog thinks of it as a reward. Why? When he pulls the leash, most dog owners don’t have the choice but to follow their dog. As long as he gets wherever he wants to go, he will keep pulling on the leash. And if you decided to remove his collar for an arm break or maybe you are afraid that your dog might get hurt, then that would be the ultimate reward for him, right? No? That’s what he thinks.
Now, how do you stop your dog from doing a tug of war with you during your walking session? Here are a few tips:
1. Train Your Dog on a Limited Area
Before going to parks where distractions are limitless, train your dog first on an enclosed area with a few distractions like your backyard.
2. The Power of Treats
Put on your dog’s leash that is not too long so that he cannot go too far. Walk randomly and briskly around the yard. Whenever your dog walks beside you, give him a treat. This will give him the idea to stay beside you since that is where he gets the yummy treats.
3. Teach your Dog Discipline
When dogs go out, they want to sniff and mark on every tree and bushes they see. Of course, you need to give him the time to do that, but you need to teach him that YOU will be the one to decide when. Train him with commands such as “Sniff” and “Walk/Let’s go”. And every time he decides to obey you, give him a treat. If not, you can repeat the process endlessly until he learns to obey and be disciplined.
4. Practice in Wider Places
As your dog becomes more disciplined, you do the next training on the next level. You can do it by walking for a few minutes on the street and see if he is well behaved. Of course, some dogs can be overly excited when he sees a lot more distraction so you need to repeat every process you make for your dog to learn. If you can see that he can be a good boy then you can take longer walks or take him to a large park.