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How to train your dog to walk nicely on the lead

The key to teaching your dog to walk nicely on the lead is to teach them that not pulling is the fastest way to get to where they want to go. Training your dog not to pull takes time, patience and consistency, but the benefits can be huge.

German shepherd walking next to owner on a lead by a road

Teach your dog to walk without pulling

Follow these steps to teach your dog to walk nicely on the lead.

  1. Start by standing still and quiet. Allow your dog the full length of their lead. Remain still and quiet when your dog is ignoring you, but the split second he pays attention to you, praise him and give him a treat.
  2. Once you have your dog's attention, you can move off - use your voice and treats to encourage your dog to stay close to you when walking. Always reward your dog when they're walking on a loose lead.
  3. If your dog moves too far away from you, before the lead goes tight, stop and be still and quiet until they pay attention and move closer to you. Reward and move off again. This must happen every single time your dog moves away.
  4. Practise this in short and regular sessions.
  5. Walking around distractions can cause dogs to pull. Place something on the floor that your dog would really like to get to, such as a toy. If your dog pulls on the lead to get towards the toy, stop and call them towards you. Their reward for walking on a loose lead is getting to the toy. This way, the dog learns that pulling just slows things down.

Extra tip

Make the area around you fun and rewarding so that your dog enjoys being closer to you. Lots of encouragement through praise and treats will stop him racing to his destination.

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