Does your dog pull and overpower you, or stiffen up near the end of the walk? When dogs are difficult to walk, it’s not only irritating, but also potentially dangerous. It’s important to have safe and disciplined walks, which may take some leash training to achieve.

a lab puppy sitting in front of the door holding a leash in it's mough

Here are some tips for teaching your dog better leash etiquette.

Find a focus command

When your dog is distracted on a walk, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Do not move until your dog calms down and returns some focus to you. With a treat ready, and your dog completely calm and looking at you, say the command (something like “focus” or “settle”), and give them the treat!

Repeat this process until the command causes your dog to settle down!

Walk with a short leash

Hold your dog close to you on the leash. Leave some slack in the leash if possible to not give your dog a chance to tug. Each time your dog is distracted and pulls in the wrong direction, quickly and assertively correct their direction. Return them to the short leash position, near to you with some slack in the leash, and continue walking.

Repeat this process throughout many early walks! Treats are wonderful rewards for good behavior.

Teach them to stay by your side

Off leash and in the yard, stand a distance away from your dog. Slap your thigh and energetically beckon your dog toward you. When they come to your side immediately and give you their full attention, reward them with a treat.

Move to a new position and try again, rewarding your dog if they follow your through the yard as well.

Leash training is all about attention, and rewarding attention with affection and treats! If your dog thinks it will be delicious or fun or exciting to follow you closely, they will always do that!