My formal training and greatest insight into the world of dogs was the result of a 28-day training intensive taught by Turid Rugaas in seven 4-day sessions during 2015. What follows is her Loose Leash Walking Method.
With your dog on your left side, attach a six foot leash, hold it in your right hand. Choose a stimulus that you want to associate with this type of controlled walking. Some people use a sound, like a smacking or kissing sound. Others prefer a word like “close” or “here.” You can use your attention word or sound you chose when training your dog to pay attention.
- Say your word or sound. As soon as you get your dog’s attention, reward him with a treat. Do this several times. Remember to have the treat hidden until after your dog gives you his attention and then give the treat as a reward.
- Say your word or sound. When your dog gives you attention, take a step or two with your dog at your side, then give him the treat reward. Repeat several times.
- Say your word or sound. Take several steps in one direction, turn and take a few more steps in another direction, and give the treat reward. Move with more or fewer steps, depending on your dog being at your side at the time and always in place to receive the treat.
- Make it more difficult by changing directions more, walking farther, treating only some of the times. Use your body to show the dog where you want to go. Turn your shoulders and body in the direction you want to go. After some time, treats or words are not necessary. The dog wants to be with you. Don’t allow pulling, be patient. If you see or anticipate a bad situation, make the sound and turn to get the dog away from it.