Here's 8 Tips on How to Achieve Peaceful Walks

Do you struggle to walk your puppy peacefully?

Watching others stroll effortlessly in the park with their dogs, do you wish you and Fido could do the same?

Have you ever been pulled to the ground by your puppy dog who has not mastered the grace of loose leash walking?

This is a common challenge for puppies and their hoomans!

However, with some time and patience, it does not have to be that way. It does take awareness and training. 

When you decide to start your training, every walk needs to be intentional.

These walks should not be for play or exercise, nor should they be just because the puppy manual says so.

They should be strictly for training exercises between you and your puppy.

1. Prepare and Plan and Stick to It!

Keep the plan short. 5 to 10 minutes max in the beginning

2. Be Intentional

Stay aware of your surroundings and your puppy's behavior.

Is your pup “over the moon” excited?

Then perhaps a run around in the backyard first before your planned training walk. Dogs train better when they are tired.

Make sure your walking path is clear of distraction, and no neighbors stopping to say hello (you will get to this point in due time), and be on the lookout for others walking their dogs.

This is a training exercise for loose-leash walking, not socialization. If you see a dog approaching, take a right or a left or turn around and go back the other way.

Be alert! Awareness is your golden ticket!

3. Set a Timer

10 minutes max. (every time you have a successful training session you can increase the time by adding 2 minutes each training session).

Your goal in the beginning is to have a memorable stroll with your puppy dog for an hour!

But watch your expectations.

This goal will not be achieved overnight, have grace for yourself and your puppy dog.

4. Create a Schedule

Puppy dogs learn quickly with consistent repetition.

If you can squeeze in a practice session once a day, then you will see how fast your puppy dog will catch on and you will feel like a “Cesar Millan”!

Don’t get too cocky here. You could be feeling joyful at the progress and then in the next minute, (because your head is in the clouds) you are at the end of a tight leash and your puppy dog is out of control!

Purpose-driven training here. 

Once the time is up on the training make sure you are right back where you started so you can reward your puppy with play time in the backyard.

5. Treats

As you may know my training methods already, I use their dog kibble (a portion of their dinner/dry kibble) as treats.

In the beginning, you will need at least a ¼ cup of their kibble or more for each training session.

Make sure you ration their daily food intake accordingly. We want to keep your puppy dog as healthy as possible.

You can use a treat bag strapped around your waist or as I do, just put the kibble in your pocket for easy access.

You want to be “quick on the draw”, so when your puppy is walking calmly by your side then you can use the verbal command “good or yes” and give them a kibble.

Eye contact will improve once they realize that they will be getting “treats” for walking next to you and looking up at you.

Pro Tip: keep the treats on the same side that you are walking your dog on.

Right side which is the “side command”, then have the kibble in the pouch on your right side.

If they are walking on your left side which is the “heel” command then make sure their kibble is on that side.

If not they will try to cross in front of you to get the treat.

6. Correct Forging

Cross into them (a right U-turn if they are on your right side) or away from them (a left U-turn if they are on your right side).

This is what I call the “loose leash dance”.

 If you feel they are inching a bit in front of you step into them (not on them) and pivot (U-turn).

This takes practice as you will have to be very cautious as to not step on their toes or trip yourself.

 You are in control, you are “driving the car”. It’s your awareness that will make this successful.

 Puppy dogs drop out of awareness very fast and that is when they digress into forging and pulling.

In that split second, pivot. Make sure they keep up with you at your side and then they can be rewarded with kibble as they “wake up” and realign with you. 

7. Pulling Again?? STOP!

Again? I can hear you say, “Patty, I have done all the above and my puppy dog is still pulling me down the street.”

First of all, remember you must have patience. This behavior will not be corrected in 1, 2, or 3 training sessions. It takes time and practice.

Some teams struggle with the “Pivot Method”, so an alternative is “STOP”.
That’s correct, just STOP.

The leash will only extend out as long as that leash is, 6’ or 8’.

I see so many folks allowing their dogs to drag them down the street, I just want to yell out my car window, “STOP”. 🤣🤣

As you are teaching “loose leash” you can also teach them “here”, “side, and or heel”.

Picture this, you are happily walking down the street with your puppy dog and you notice Fido is forging forward. Instead of “pivot” as perhaps that did not work for you; just stop.

Let your puppy dog get to the end of the leash (as long as it is safe) and instead of you dragging behind you stand firm.

This is where you will want to be very present and give a little snap on the leash and use the command “here” or “come”, whichever you prefer. (be careful not to snap too hard where they pop off their feet. This creates fear in a puppy dog).

 You have now “popped” your puppy dog back into reality and with training they will come back to you (for kibble of course) and then you give them a side or heal command so you can re-set and start over.

Praise!! “Good Puppy! Good Puppy! Kibble, Kibble, Kibble!!”

You are now in control so you can begin again.

8. Be Consistent

I cannot stress this enough.

Create a plan before you head out the door.

Execute the plan (if the plan goes array, go home and try again later).

If 6 months down the road your puppy dog starts pulling again, “check yourself”.

What are you doing differently?

What are you allowing your puppy dog to get away with?
STOP and rein it in, and plan a refresher training session.

All is not lost…

There's a lot to unpack here.

Don't hesitate to reach out;

We can schedule a Zoom call to walk through this together.

Happy Training!

Your Intuitive Dog Coach