If you've ever been to the dog park and watched some owners walk their dogs, it's hard to determine who is walking who. To make your walk times enjoyable for both you, as the owner and your dog, proper leash walking is imperative. And now you don't have to just dream it.
It is possible to teach your dog to walk by your side with enough slack in the leash to step over it. This is the ideal way to walk your dog.
So how does an owner teach a dog how to walk on a leash properly when it was not taught as a puppy? First the owner must recognize that they taught the dog to walk them (and not the other way around!). Many times this is inadvertently done by pulling on the leash and keeping it tight with the dog walking beside them. Anytime a dog feels pressure by reaching the end of the leash, he is instinctively going to pull in an attempt to relieve the pressure.
So yes, you did teach your dog to pull you!
In order to get your dog to obey now, you need to teach your dog that walking beside you is pleasant and what you want him or her to do. Constant slack in the leash is what you are after. A tight leash on a dog is not pleasant for the dog and will result in pulling. So praise your dog when he or she is walking with the right amount of slack. And keep patient, it may take a little while to retrain your dog.
Here are a few more tips on keeping your dog in line while walking:
Leash- Dog trainers all agree that the proper leash length when training for a pleasant walk is six feet.
Look- Get your dog to look at you during your walks. Rarely can a walking/leash correction be made unless the dog is looking at the owner. Looking at you lets him know you are still there and are still "best friends." With smells, other animals and noises especially, dogs are easily distracted. Get your dog to look at you in order to make the correction (walking beside you with slack in the leash).
In order to make the correction and get him to look at you, a message has to be sent to him through the leash. Usually all this requires is a quick and gentle flick of the wrist. If that doesn't work, lure him to look/glance at you somehow without pulling on the leash. Make sure when he even just glances at you anytime during your walk, that you pat him on the back, draw him towards you, and smile.
Love- The owner is the one that dog wants to be closest too. Always let him know you want him there by your side. Love him constantly, whether on walks or at home.
So remember to not pull on your dog's leash while walking him. Instead, re-train your pet to walk next to you with some slack in the leash and your walks will become more enjoyable for the both of you