Loose Lead Walking

This is the training method to teach good leash manners. No-one likes having their arms hauled out their sockets or seeing their dog practically strangle themselves in their enthusiasm to get somewhere. The principle behind loose lead walking is to teach your dog pulling simply does not get the desired effect. Pulling does not get them where they want to go. This is obviously easier to teach a puppy who has little or no experience of walking on a lead but it can be used successfully used with adult dogs, even if their current lead skills only include pulling like a train.

I use a half chocker or martingdale collar with Keiko, loose enough that on it's tightest it still fits like a flat collar (roomy enough that you can slide a couple of fingers in.). The purpose of the collar isn't to cause tension on the neck, rather I think the clinking of the chain as it tightens serves as an audible reminder to the dog to slow down.

Where to start?

Lead skills are a challenge, it's true, mainly because you practice them outdoor with loads of distractions. If you are worried at all about the neighbours thinking you have gone loopy this is probably best practiced early morning or late evening under cover of darkness. As there are distractions outdoors, extra tasty treats are a must. Unfortunately the key to cracking loose lead walking is to never allow your dog to pull again. This means you are going to look like a loon for the next few walks or until your dog gets the message pulling doesn't work. If you have a big enough space you can practice indoors.

  • Start with your dog in the sit position on your left hand side.

  • As you walk off have the tasty treat in your right hand close to your left hip.

  • Hopefully your dog is very interested in the lovely smelly treat in your hand so is in the right position and the lead is loose. If so click and reward

  • Keep moving forward, if the dog loses interest in the treat and starts to pull forward you must treat the lead as a brake, as it starts to get tension on it slow down. If your dog gets to the end and the lead is tight you must stop.

  • At this point you can turn around and go the other way so the dog is now behind you again. (Can you see now why the neighbours are going to think you are odd?)or simply wait until your dog releases the tension on the leash by coming back for the food.

  • Some dogs learn this quicker than others but in all honesty your first few walks are going to be very difficult. It will take you ages to get anywhere until it clicks in your dogs mind the have to walk beside you to move forward.

It does work but you need to be patient, consistant and not be put off by the strange looks passer by will inevitably give you. Keiko walks like a charm, when I slow down she slows down. It makes for a far more pleasurable walking experience.