Focus on Focusing
When you take your dog for a walk, are you a part of that walk or are you just the person holding the leash? In ideal conditions, it should be that you and your dog are walking together, interacting, and enjoying the fresh spring air. The main difference between these two scenarios is where the attention and focus are. If the dog’s attention is always on everything else, you are likely just along for the ride. However, if your dog is paying attention to you, you are likely also paying attention to her. This mutual attention is one of the things we look for in establishing good leash-walking skills. It is not one of you pulling the other but a bit of teamwork. If your dog is paying attention to you, she is likely not pulling on the leash.
While there are many techniques and skills we can teach you to achieve some enjoyable loose-leash walking, the first step can be simply to pop a treat in your canine companion’s mouth every time she checks in with you. If you do that, she will likely check in again and again. Some of the other benefits of having good attention cues are politeness, teamwork, seeking your guidance, and of course, cuddles.