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Five Tips for Mastering the Art of Loose Leash Walking

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Would you like to take your inquisitive canine for a walk that is safe, fun, and enjoyable for you both? Then, these pro tips for teaching ‘Loose Leash Walking 101’ are a step in the right direction.

Pro Tip #1: Unleash adventure!

Loose leash walking (LLW) means your dog is walking near you on leash, without pulling, tugging, or lunging, while still exploring, sniffing, and enjoying the outdoors. Using a dog harness with a front clip option can be great for working on LLW skills, as it may help to reduce pulling (without pain, force, or fear!).

Pro Tip #2: Get ready to harness fun!

Have your dog dressed in their collar and harness (leash in tow), along with a few tasty treats stored in your convenient treat pouch. You can use these and other rewards to reinforce behaviors you want, communicating with your dog when they’re making good choices.

Pro Tip #3: Low-distraction location!

Start your practice indoors, or in another low-distraction environment. Keep up the treats, petting, and praise for polite walking on a slack leash. Continue to rehearse short practice sessions until your puppy or adult dog is consistently walking on leash, near you, indoors.

Pro Tip #4: Let’s go!

Once your dog understands the concept of LLW in this low-distraction environment, rather than going straight from your living room to a busy hiking trail, consider shaping your dog’s behavior and helping Fido generalize these skills. For example, first moving to the back yard, then the front, then a familiar street, and so on.

Pro Tip #5: Stay pawsitive!

The leash is used as a safety line, not for controlling your dog. Try to avoid pulling or tugging at your pup. Instead, whenever they come near you or create slack in the leash, use a cheerful voice to say, “Good dog” and give them a treat. Rewarding more frequently in these early stages of training helps motivate your dog to stay interested, as opposed to wandering to the end of the leash, looking for something else to do.

Bonus Pro Tip:

Enjoy this time together, learning, exploring, and bonding!

Here’s to happiness and success  unleashing adventures and harnessing fun with your inquisitive canine!

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