Learn How to Master Walking Your Dog for Walk Your Pet Month

Dog holding leash

Making Walks with Your Dog More Enjoyable

You've probably heard people joke, "Are you walking your dog, or is your dog walking you?" In fact, your dog might actually be controlling the walk if it never received any leash training. An untrained dog may pull on the leash or try to dash off to chase a squirrel while you struggle to hold on to the leash. Fortunately, these problems can usually be corrected with a little training.

How Training Makes Walking Your Dog Easier

Just like children, dogs don't innately understand the rules of social conduct when they're born. With gentle corrections and explanations, kids soon learn not to touch the stove or grab a toy out of the hands of a sibling. Dogs also need a little help to understand what you expect of them.

During leash training sessions, your dog will learn how to walk calmly at your side without pulling or sniffing every patch of grass along the way.

What You Can Do About Pulling

Walks can be stressful if you don't feel that you're in control of your dog. Unfortunately, stress isn't the only issue if your furry friend pulls on the leash. Pulling can increase your risk of falls and injuries ranging from strains and sprains to fractures. If you're older and have started walking your dog as a way to stay healthy, avoiding pulling is particularly important.

Researchers at Penn Medicine discovered that fractures related to dog walking doubled in patients 65 and older between 2004 and 2017. Hip, arm, wrist, finger, hand, and shoulder fractures were the types of breaks most commonly reported.

When your dog begins to pull, one of these methods recommended by Rover.com may be helpful:

  • Make an About Turn. Change directions once your dog reaches the end of the leash and you notice a slight strain on the leash. When your dog changes direction with you, offer a treat or word of praise.
  • Don't Move. Stop moving as soon as your dog begins pulling on the leash. Once the dog stops pulling, start walking again. Constantly repeating this action will teach your dog that walks won't continue until the pulling stops.
  • Try a Harness: A no-pull harness may be an effective option if your dog still pulls. Gentle pressure placed on the chest or legs reminds your dog not to strain against the leash.

When you work on training your dog to walk properly on a leash, keep these things in mind:

  • Positive Reinforcement Is the Best Choice. Training sessions that use praise and rewards as incentives are most effective. If your dog knows that doing what you want will result in a treat or praise, it will be much more likely to follow the rules you've established.
  • Patience Is a Must. Your dog probably won't master walking on a leash after just one training session. In fact, you may need to spend a few weeks or months helping your dog learn the ins and outs of leash walking.
  • Try Some Pre-Walk Exercise. Walking calmly on a leash may be difficult if your dog has been cooped up in the house all day. Help your pooch expend that excess energy by throwing a ball or flying disc in the backyard for 20 minutes before you start your walk.
  • Don't Use a Retractable Leash When Training Your Dog. Retractable leashes may only reinforce pulling behavior. Every time your dog pulls, the leash unwinds a little more, teaching your dog that pulling gets results.
  • Consider Obedience Training. During obedience training, you'll learn how to teach your dog commands and also practice how to walk on a leash. Commands are particularly important when walking on a leash. For example, when you say, "leave it," your dog will know it's time to stop sniffing an aromatic patch of urine-scented grass or ignore a squirrel. The "slow" command tells your pet to slow down, which will reduce leash pulling.

Walk Your Pet Month, observed every January, is an excellent time to work on leash skills. Learning how to walk on a leash will make walks more pleasant and help your pet avoid injuries from cars and other animals. If your pet does become injured or develops a health issue, let us know. We'll schedule a convenient appointment to examine your dog and discuss your concerns.

Sources:

Penn Medicine News: Bone Fractures Increasing as Seniors Walk Dogs to Stay Active, 3/6/19

American Kennel Club: 3 Ways You Might Be Ruining Your Dog’s Walk, 7/28/19

Rover.com Have You Been Walking Your Dog Wrong This Whole Time?

Dog Time: Good Leash Behavior: How To Train Your Puppy Or Dog To Walk On A Leash

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule closed holiday's including day after Thanksgiving.

Tacoma Office

Monday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Unfortunately had to put down my 15 year old cat. Jones animal staff is compassionate and honest when you need them to be most. Every time in you can see the passion everyone there has for every pet they see. I know who I can trust when i get a puppy soon. Thank you for the care and making the best of a tough situation."
    Justin S.
  • "Friendly Drs and staff fancy coffee for while you wait!"
    Tom D.
  • "Love goes they care for my boys and are so helpful!!"
    Trisha C.
  • "The staff is wonderful, just a pleasure to work with"
    Tonja P.
  • "We used to see another Veterinarian, however, when our dog was sick we couldn't get an appointment for a couple of weeks. My daughter recommended Jones Animal Hospital, and I called. I was able to get our dog in the same day. When we met with Dr. Jones, he answered all of my questions completely without rushing me at all. We have been treated promptly, with friendly respect by the entire staff each time we visit. The medical care has been knowledgeable and helpful. The fees are extremely reasonable, too. We have found our animals' home for medical care!"
    Dori O.
  • "The people here are so nice and are very concerned for the animals they treat. Prices are the most reasonable I have come across as well. I recently took in one of my young kitties to be spayed, they keep them override which is nice so they can make sure they have they the experience well. The day after I brought her home, they called to check up on her to see how she was doing. I have never had a veterinary office do that before. I would recommend this office to anyone & everyone!!"
    Darlene B.
  • "They always seem to offer great compassionate care. And they were relatively affordable as well."
    Erik N.
  • "They have been taking wonderful care of my pets for many years."
    Corey D.
  • "I never take my fur babies anywhere else! I know I can trust the staff here & I know they CARE about the animals & their companions. Dr. Jones did retire, but the remaining staff is like family to me. They never charged more than I could afford because they always run the options by me first. I recently had to say goodbye to my 20 year old cat - It was inevitable but VERY painful. Even though they were very busy & they had to squeeze us in that day, they still offered to have one of the staff members sit with me as I said goodbye. I don't know anywhere else that gives that level of comfort!"
    Danielle P.
  • "We love our vet! Been using this vet for over 15 years. NO complaints!"
    Karen S.