Going for a walk is fun for your dog, so teach him the correct way to walk on a leash.
The image of a dog pulling on a leash and taking its owner for a walk is a rather comical one.
While it may appear funny, it can be dangerous and rather unpleasant for the handler. Walking on a leash may seem very normal to a human but, it is not natural behavior for a dog. Obedient behavior on a leash is something that needs to be learned.
Dogs love to explore the different things and smells stimulate their senses. It is curiosity, not fear that gets the better of them and they may just start pulling on the leash. This behaviour arises from inquisitiveness. So don’t punish your dog for pulling on the leash, instead, redirect your dog and make it clear what you expect of him.
Some dogs like huskies and malamutes are genetically programmed to pull; they are bred for it. For this reason trying to pull back most often just results in more pulling. As with all training, it is important to establish your role as the pack leader.
Once you have a good relationship based on clear communication and trust it will be easier to train other exercises like eash walking.
There are two types of leash walking. One requires the dog to walk at your side at all times with his nose by your leg, often referred to as heel. This is particularly handy in busy places and crowded areas. However, it is a bit too limiting on more casual walks.
For these type of walks loose-leash walking (LLW) is more suitable. Loose-leash walking is very useful as it requires your dog to stay on one side of you, preferably the inside away from the road and possible dangers.
This training also prevents your dog from switching sides and tripping you up over a lead.
Teaching Loose-Leach Walking to your Husky
Some behavior like lay down or sit are examples of single behaviors and are easy to train.
Loose-leash walking is a little more complicated, as it requires a series of tasks and sustained attention. So starting this training from a young age is ideal for your dog. As your dog becomes accustomed to what his responsibility is, he will keep his attention on you and refrain from all the distraction along the way.
Start by practicing at home in a familiar environment where he is not overwhelmed with distractions.
Before you start training your dog, it is helpful to have a clear inner picture of what you wish to achieve.
Start in small increments and increase the duration of the exercise gradually as he starts to understand. Remember to praise your dog for the desired behavior. You can reward him with verbal praise or even a treat. Reinforcing the correct behavior motivates your dog to keep his attention on you.
When your dog exhibits, undesired behavior don’t punish him, make it more difficult for him to do the wrong thing. When your dog starts to pull or to want to go faster, stop immediately or change direction. This reinforces the fact that you are leading the walk.
Consistently correcting the undesired behavior will achieve results and your Husky will soon understand the concept and there won’t be any need to tension the leash as he walks in a cooperative way.
It is very important when training any behavior that the expectations are always clear and consistent. The same should apply no matter which member of the family is working with the dog.
Preventing a problem is far simpler than fixing one. Retraining problematic behavior takes longer than training a new habit.
Some Tips for Loose-leach Training
– Develop good habits from an early age
– Have a clear inner picture of what you wish to achieve
– Ignore undesired behaviour
– Praise good behaviour
Loose Leash Walking Basics
The idea is that your dog remains by your side. Walking on the inside where he stays out of the way of possible dangers – most commonly traffic. It does not matter what side you choose as long as you stick to it and stay consistent. Hold your leash the other hand. Gently without any tension in the leach, keeping your hand still by your waist. Moving your hand amounts to changing the slack in the leash. If you like to use treats to reinforce good behavior, bear in mind that they have the potential to distract your dog, it is best to keep them on the side away from your dog.
Progressive Exercises for Leach Walking
There are a few simple techniques that are very useful training tools. Stop and go is a fun exercise to start with if you think about it as a game.
The basic idea is that our dog learns the following: When I go, you go & When I stop, you stop.
Start by taking your dog, very calmly and matter of factly for a walk. If your dog pulls you stop.
And do stop immediately. The moment the dog stops pulling it is ok to start moving again. Rinse and repeat till synchronicity starts to blossom.
You need to be patient in the beginning, and you probably won’t get too far. But don’t give up. Dogs figure it out pretty quickly, some even stop and instinctively sit when you stop.
Once Stop and Go goes well and your dog no longer pulls on the leash add some variation to
make your training fun.
Head out for a walk, casually and calmly just as you did before. Get interesting and unpredictable
this time by stopping suddenly at different intervals. When you stop, remains still for a few
seconds. Then walk off at an angle. You can even add more variation by moving at a faster or
slower pace than before.
Treats make for an excellent way to incentivize your dog. They can be used very effectively to reinforce desired behavior. It boils down to adding something pleasant.
If your training is going well, you can use positive reinforcement very effectively to teach your dog verbal cues. Remember to be consistent with verbal cues and that all members of the household know which signals to use and when. Each verbal cue should only have one meaning. Remain consistent with these verbal cues, not only while training but also around the home.
Start with the natural verbal cues like NO, STOP and GOOD. Always reinforce the desired behavior. A treat even if you choose to train with treats. They make for a good incentive system. By using positive reinforcement, you clearly mark the desired behavior. With some careful practice, your dog will start understanding the meaning of the verbal cues.
Training should always be fun, so keep training stress and stop before you lose your patience.
Start with short sessions and be clear about your intentions. Keep your end goal in mind, and your
diligence will pay off.