Dogs love to go for walks. Without question, walking and providing your dog with an adequate amount of exercise is extremely beneficial for their overall health. For some owners, however, it's more of a chore than enjoyment. As a result, as with many chores, a dog who does not know the proper way to walk on a leash will get less walks.
So what is the "proper" way for a dog to walk on a leash? You want your dog walking by your side with enough slack in the leash to be able to step over it. That's the goal.
Going for walks with an untrained dog is often fraught with uncontrollable pulling, quick bursts of running and a constant starting and stopping circus of smelling. If you can teach your dog how to walk properly, then walking him will be more enjoyable for both of you.
Recognize that you as the owner taught him to walk improperly on a leash, and as such, you can train him to walk properly.
Below are a few pointers to assist you in this training:
Correct leash length. Dog trainers agree. The proper and most effective leash length for training of your dog is six feet.
Try to imagine how your dog feels and thinks. Dogs do not like to feel pressure. Never keep the leash tight, even if the dog is right by your side. Anytime a dog feels pressure, he is going to instinctively pull on the leash in an attempt to relieve the pressure. The owner has to teach the dog that walking beside them is pleasant not hurtful. In order to walk properly, constant slack in the leash is a must.
Encourage your dog to look at you during walks. A dog must be looking at its owner in order to ensure that the dog is walking beside its owner with slack in the leash. Looking at you reminds him you are still there. Dogs are easily distracted. In order to get the dog to look and make the correction, a message has to be sent to him through the leash. Usually all this requires is a gentle flick of the wrist. If that does not work, then lure him to look at you without pulling the leash. When he does, pat him on the back, draw him towards you and smile. If you're after proper leash behavior, make sure that you do this same behavior anytime your dog looks at you during the walk; pat him on the back, draw him near you and smile.
Love your dog constantly and consistently. The owner is the one a dog wants to be closest too. It's important to let you dog know that you love him. Show that you really want him by your side. Whether on walks or just relaxing at home, love your dog constantly. This will carry over into your training.