Loose Leash Walking
Learning loose leash walking one of the most challenging but most essential of the foundation behaviors. A pulling, unfocused dog can not only easily hurt themselves but their owner as well.
- Loose Leash Walking (LLW) begins before you even begin your walk. Make sure your dog is calm and focused on you before you put their leash on. If they are excited or jumping up and down stand calmly with their leash and wait until they are settled, preferably in a sit position.
- When you begin walking, if your dog walks by your side without lurching forward mark the behavior with a click or a marker word such as “yes” and reward.
- If your dog begins to pull, stop immediately and wait for them to stop pulling and look at you. When they move closer to you to create a slack in the leash mark the behavior and reward.
- When you begin walking again, quickly mark the LLW and reward again.
- Repeat this, rewarding randomly a lot at first and gradually at longer intervals.
Tips from the Dogologist
Before practicing LLW, tire your dog out with some vigorous exercise such as fetch or using a flirt pole.
Note that LLW is different than “Heel.” LLW only requires that they dog walk with the leash hanging from their collar with no tension (in a smile shape). They can walk on whichever side of your body that you prefer and don’t necessarily have to be focused on you at all times.
LLW requires lots of patience and you may not be able to walk longer than a few steps when you begin training. Check out our recommended harnesses section to make your walks easier while your dog is still in training.
Virtual Dog Training
For help with this lesson, which can be difficult to get through, schedule Virtual Training. We'd love to help.