by Dr. Mayra Alfonso
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash is crucial to his and your safety particularly if he’s a big dog. Even walking small dogs that have the propensity to pull their owners could be a jeopardy and an awkward occurrence.
A basic rule is that dogs should never be allowed to break away at will, they should be on a lead at all times unless they’re with you in a secure and safe place.
Dogs need to learn to walk on a leash without pulling your arm out of its joint, and without choking themselves.
As in all additional training methods, begin inside. If you’ve never put a collar on your dog, first you want to lay the collar on the floor and let the dog to smell it. Don’t permit him to play with it or bite it.
The following step you’d require to do is to place the collar around the dog’s neck. Make sure the collar fits closely, but that’s not too tight that would choke your dog. The rule of thumb is that you do not want to be able to put more than two finger breadths between the collar and your dog’s neck. You’ll have to find the proper fit for your dog.
Irrespective of how large your dog will get in the near future, don’t purchase him a leash or collar that is too heavy, and don’t get a collar for a small pup when you have a puppy that already weighs 25 pounds at twelve weeks old, use common sense when fitting the collar.
Remember that you little puppy will grow and the collar that you buy when he is 12 weeks might not fit him when he turns 6 months. Consider buying an adjustable dog collar, that will give you flexibility of adjusting the size of the collar as the puppy grows. On the other hand, do not buy a very big collar for a smaller dog, thinking to use it when the dog grows up, if the collar does not fit right when the puppy is little. You do not want your little puppy to get loose from his collar, and this is a common incident that could be dangerous for the puppy, especially if he’s still not trained in the wait or come command.
Then, you might want to attach the lead to his collar and allow him to drag it around for a while, make sure that the leash doesn’t get tangled up in something, like a peace of furniture, since this could potentially hurt your dog.
Don’t leave him unattended during this time. At least allow him to smell and become acquainted the lead. Once again, make certain that the collar and leash are comfortable and fit properly.
With the dog on your left side, hold the lead and reward in your right hand, use your left hand to hold the slack in the lead. Get his attention and give him the “sit” command. As you walk, start off with your left foot, as he walks alongside you; give him the “heel” command.
If he attempts to pull forward, gently pull back on the lead. After the dog has come back to you, or has stopped pulling, allow him to start walking again. Every time he pulls forward, you need to gently, but firmly pull on the opposite direction. What this would do, is to teach your dog that as soon as he continues pulling, he’s going nowhere.
In retrospect, love and patience teaches love and patience, these are both things we want our dogs to know. Dog training is the basis for a dog that everyone enjoys being around, and becomes a happy and healthy dog.
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