One of the first tips I’ve learned from my Dog Trainer at Pawprints of Vero Beach was to always be the leader. With a 130lb puppy, you can probably imagine this is not as easy as it sounds. When I first met Marley, he was dragging his original mommy down the side walk to greet us. This happy pup was very controlling just because of his own weight. He probably didn’t really even know what he’s doing. If we play tug-a-war, he will always win, so the tugging and leading had to stop.
When Sean, from Pawprints, came over for our first consultation, he taught me several training tips – but one tip in particular has been super helpful. Don’t let Marley go ahead of you.
Well, you may ask, how in the world can you prevent that from happening. I’ll tell you how! If your dog runs in front of you, you can be instantly in front if you simply turn around. How SIMPLE right?! As soon as you turn around the other way, your pet is following YOU instead of you following HIM!
By doing this over and over and over, your pet will realize if it it wants to go anywhere, it must follow you. Otherwise, you will turn around and go right back into the house, or to the starting place.
Believe it or not, it only took a few times before Marley began to catch on. Before I knew it, he was no longer pulling me, and was sticking by my side. Of course, occasionally, he will see a dog or want to get ahead, and I just simply turn around. Since they are pack animals, it’s completely instinct for them to follow.
As you can see here, there is slack in his leash, he’s right by my side and we are both having a happy pleasant walk TOGETHER (key word). 🙂
5 Tips to Teaching Your Dog Who’s Boss
1. Turn around. Remind your dog who the pack leader is: YOU! Always remain the leader through out your walk.
2. Stop & make your dog sit. Teach them that they are going NO WHERE unless you LET them. They’ll quickly learn that following you is much more fun than sitting around doing nothing.
3. Don’t keep a tight leash when your pup is close. This teaches them that, when they are close, they are more comfortable. A tight leash is uncomfortable and doesn’t allow for any correction – plus it’s easier for them to pull YOU.
4. Don’t pull them. If you don’t want them to pull you, then don’t pull them. Just like a horse, a constant pull on the reins (or leash) is something they can bear, and get used to – but a quit light tug is more aggravating for them. So, as they stray (left, right, in front or behind), give them a quick tug of correction to get their mind back on following you, and direct them back in place.
5. Train your dog to walk using a sidewalk. Make it easy on your dog by using sidewalks for leash training. Sidewalks offer more clear boundaries, with a more narrow space to stick to. An open road, path or yard is more challenging since there is more room to wander.
NOTE: I am no dog training expert. If you could use some dog training, I HIGHLY recommend the trainers at Pawprints. I am literally learning myself! I just plan to share everything I learn along the way in hopes of helping others!