Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Teaching Your Dog to
Walk on Leash
Getting your dog to behave properly when you're out walking with the leash is an important part of dog ownership. Because Aussies require so much exercise, you're going to be doing a lot of walking. If your dog is constantly trying to run and tugging on the leash, this is going to be a real hassle and can even do some damage to your arm muscles or shoulder – Aussies get pretty strong.
There's another major reason this is such an important part of training to get down. Remember your role as the pack leader? Can you see how allowing your dog to be unruly while out walking on leash can have a negative effect on this role? If your dog can tug and pull you along as much as she wants when you're walking, she'll start to think she's boss – and that has a knock-on effect to other areas of training. So you want to dedicate a lot of time to getting this right.
Walking on leash well is also referred to as "heeling." To "Heel" simply means to walk at your side or in front of you with some slack in the leash.
Now, remember what we said earlier about environments for training, and distractions. Some owners make the mistake of trying to jump into leash training out on the street or at the dog park. Not surprisingly this usually leads to frustration and failure.
Instead, you're going to start leash training right in your own back yard. This will limit distractions and allow your dog to get used to commands before you have to use them in a real walking situation.
Prepare yourself with rewards for your dog and attach the leash to her collar.
Hold the leash in your left hand, with your dog on your right.
Have some treats ready in your right hand. Start to walking forward, luring your dog along with the treats. Hold it low enough so she can follow it along without rearing up or jumping at it.
As he walks along nicely at your side, say "Heel" clearly and then immediately say your marker word and feed him one of the treats. This should all be done while you're still walking forward.
When you get to the edge of your yard, stop and give your dog an extra few treats and lots of praise. Then turn around and go back the other way, repeating from Step 1.
Next time: What To Do When The Above Doesn't Work
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