If you are the proud and caring owner of a dog, then daily walks are certain to be an important part of your routine with your pet. Some cat owners also find that their feline friend is not only tolerant but also enjoys heading outside for a short stroll. Regardless of your pet of choice, the use of a leash and/or harness is extremely important for your pet’s safety. Not only can it prevent your beloved animal from running off and becoming lost, it can also help keep them out of danger.
Nevertheless, a leash is not a natural thing for an animal to wear, and it can take some time and patience to get your furry friend to walk nicely using one. To aid you both on your journey to calm, enjoyable walks, here are our top tips for training your pet to walk on a leash.
Start as soon as you can
If you have a young pet, then try and get them used to wearing and walking on a leash as soon as possible. Many owners who adopt an older pet assume that their new, furry family member will be well versed in leash wearing and walking, but this may not be the case. However, the sooner you start the process of introducing the leash, the sooner you will be able to enjoy safe, relaxing walks with your pet.
Start with exposure to the leash
Throwing your pet into the deep end by expecting them to start wearing and walking with a leash immediately is one of the worst things you can do. Many dogs (and cats) can be anxious about sudden changes in their life, so gradual exposure to the leash is the best way to get him to accept it. Start by letting him check it out – this may include him sniffing or licking it. When he is comfortable around it, pop it on him and try taking him for a walk around your property so he gets the idea.
Pulling on the leash is one of the biggest nuisances reported by dog owners. Not only does this make your walk stressful and uncomfortable, but it could also cause you injury. A pet that pulls on the leash cannot be walked by anyone who isn’t strong enough to keep the animal under control.
One of the best ways to prevent pulling is to reward your furbaby every time he walks casually enough for the leash to go slack. This could be with a verbal command or a small edible treat. Even if he forgets and gets a little over-excited, reward him again as soon as he resumes walking nicely. Dogs, in particular, are very motivated by praise and treats, so he will soon recognize that walking nicely will earn him the rewards he craves.
Stick to a side
A final, important aspect of leash training is teaching your pet to remain walking on one side of you. This can stop him darting in around from side to side, or the leash becoming tangled up, both of which could cause you to trip and hurt yourself or your pet.
Traditionally, dogs are taught to walk on the left side, but if your left hand or arm is weak, or you are more comfortable having him walk on your right-hand side then choose whatever is preferable. Keep the leash short so that he cannot weave from side to side, and reward him when he walks in the correct position.
Walking nicely on a leash is essential for your pet’s safety. Using these tips, you can train your pet to walk on a leash so that you can enjoy calm, safe walks together. If you have questions or want more personal recommendations, call Inman Park Animal Hospital today at 404-584-8761.