Hi, it’s Linda from Cause and Effect Dog Training here again.

On today’s video, we’re covering one of the big topics that a lot of people have trouble with, and that’s loose lead walking. First thing you need to realise, and one of the biggest mistakes that people make, is trying to manually manipulate their dog into a position where they want it – when your dog pulls on a lead and you automatically pull him back. What actually happens is this. Dogs have an opposition reflex, so as soon as they feel tension on the lead, they can’t do anything else but pull harder. They have a genetic trait to pull into it resistance.

First thing that we need to teach the dog to walk on a lead is where we want him to walk and how to turn that leash pressure off if he feels it. There’s a lot of different tools on the market to teach walking. For puppies, I just use a flat collar. We all know what a flat collar is – its just your normal collar. Another sort is a martingale collar. Martingale collars are a collar that are three quarters mesh and then have a little piece of material, usually a chain in a closed loop. When the dog hears the chain, it usually interrupts the behavior he’s doing. So martingale collars can be great for softer sort of dogs but no all. There are also slip leads, which is just a lead that slips over their head. We generally teach leash pressure work with them.

The next tool we can discuss is a Halti. So a Halti is a device that sits on your dog’s nose. The rationale behind them is wherever your dog’s head goes, the rest of the dog follows. A lot of dogs don’t like Haltis, and they have to be conditioned to accept wearing them and feel comfortable. Then we have harnesses. Harnesses are pretty self explanatory. It is interesting to note that both the harness and the halti work by making the dog feel uncomfortable when the leads tightens. The other tool that I commonly see people trying to use on their dogs to teach them how to walk is a Check Chain. Check Chains are an older style training tool and they can be very adversive. A lot of people use them incorrectly and let their dog pull into the check chain. You have to be taught by someone who knows how to use it properly and humanely. In this day and age there’s a lot of options, and for most dogs, a Check Chain, in my opinion is not one of the best options. Each tool, as I said before, will suit a different dog depending on that dog’s temperament. No matter what you use, your dog always needs to be taught what you want first and foremost.

The first thing we need to teach our dog is where we want them to walk. Again, we’re using positive reinforcement to teach them where that position is. When teaching loose lead walking, you need to pick a side. What side do you want your dog to walk on? Left side, right side? It doesn’t matter, but whatever side that is, that’s the side that you need to give a lot of positive reinforcement to build up in the dog’s mind the value of being in that position. Most dogs walk on the left, so you build up reinforcement on the left The dog doesn’t get any other reward unless he is in that position. You’ll find that pretty quick, your dog comes around into that position because that’s where it’s valuable and that’s where it’s paying off. That’s the basis of starting your dog on loose lead walking. There are quite a few steps and techniques to progress this so getting professional help is a good idea. Teach him where to walk, and then the tool is dependent on what your individual dog responds best to.