Many people think that choke chains are cruel and should not be used to teach a dog to walk or heel. If you don't want to put a choke chain on your dog but you do want to teach it to heel, there are ways you can do it. To teach your dog to walk without a choke chain you will need a good harness, treats or toys your dog likes, a quiet place for training, and the patience to teach your dog commands.
With the right tools and a lot of time, your dog will be walking and heeling without the use of a choke chain. To train your dog without a choke chain, start by choosing a gentler alternative, such as a harness or head halter. A head halter is a good option for dogs that pull a lot.
When choosing a harness, work with a pet store employee or other dog care professional to make sure it fits right. Keep reading for more tips from our Veterinarian co-author, including how to train your dog with positive reinforcement! Categories: Dog Commands.
There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Pick a type of harness for your dog. A dog harness fits under the animal's front legs, across the chest and over the back. It will be much more comfortable for the dog than a regular collar and will give you more control. The lead should clip onto a ring in the middle of the back.
There are also front-clip harnesses where the leash attaches at the middle of the dog's chest that can greatly reduce pulling. These work very well once your dog is comfortable wearing it, although it may need to be desensitized to the feeling of the halter on its face first. Buy a harness that fits your dog properly. Many harnesses are adjustable but even dogs of the same breed vary in size. The best idea is to take your dog to the pet supply store and try on several harnesses until you find one that you are happy with.
Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and dog trainers can also help you fit a harness or head halter to your dog. Get your dog's favorite toy and treats. Getting your dog's favorite treat or favorite toy is key for training it to heel. It will be used to lure your dog into following you around and it will be used as a reward when your dog completes your commands. Limit possible distractions.
Start your training in an area with few distractions. Make sure that no other dogs are around and that you will not be interrupted. Also, start your training session after your dog has already exercised in some way. Playing fetch with you or running in the park will get excess energy out of your dog and allow it to focus on you. This is typically a comfortable place for your dog, there are no unknown smells, and you will not be interrupted.
Start with the dog at your side.
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You should start your training session with the dog sitting at your side. Having it sit calmly next to you will set the tone for training and will position the dog where you want it to stay even when moving, at your side. A dog that can sit and stay will have a much easier time heeling than a dog with no training experience. Have your dog heel at your side. If the dog starts to pull, it should meet firm resistance. In order to get it back under control, take a few steps backwards until the dog is moving back towards you again and is at your side.
At that time start walking forward again and the dog should be at your side. If you hold the dog close to your side with a tight leash, it will be very difficult for the dog to learn to walk without pulling. Never move forward if your dog is pulling you. It must learn that heeling is the only way to go forward when on a leash.
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Reward good behavior. During this phase, reward your dog quickly and frequently to reinforce the correct behavior. As your dog improves, gradually space out rewards by larger and larger intervals. When your dog breaks away from your side, make sure to reward it after it resumes heeling, so you can reinforce the desired behavior. Pick a treat that your particular dog likes.
This could be a commercial dog treat, a piece of kibble, or a treat you make yourself. Keep your dog's attention. In order to keep your dog interested in its training, change pace and direction often. Also, every time your dog looks away, say its name excitedly, shake the toy or treat, and say "Let's go!
The dog will keep walking and training if you can keep its attention.
Even the most dedicated dog will get tired of training after a while. Do not get frustrated and tug on the harness or yell. Remember, do not use any harsh discipline like hitting, jerking on the leash or yelling when your dog doesn't follow. Training a dog to walk and heel can take a long time and it can be frustrating. Just remember that walking on a loose leash is challenging to teach but it can be accomplished with the correct method.
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Jun 15, 6 Minutes. Safety Notes Puppies grow quickly, so it is extremely important to adjust the size of his collar as he gets bigger. One issue with standard collars is that some dogs can slip out of them, especially sighthounds, like the Greyhound and the Whippet, whose necks are often larger than their heads for those dogs, a Martingale collar described below may be a better option.
The most common brand of this type of harness is the Gentle Leader by Petsafe —and a version called SnootLoop is available for short-nosed dogs. Once your dog is trained to walk politely on a leash, you can switch to a standard collar and leash. Martingale collar: This popular type of collar comprises a larger loop and a smaller loop. When the dog pulls, the larger loop tightens enough to prevent the dog from slipping out of the collar but not so much that it would choke the dog.
Many trainers recommend this collar as a safer alternative to a standard collar or a choke-chain collar. Types of Leashes for Pet Dogs Standard leash: Straight leashes are available in a variety of fabrics including nylon and leather , widths, and lengths, and most feature a loop at the end for easy gripping. Some also feature reflective fabric for evening walks. Selecting which variety is right for you is mostly based on preference and budget, but it may be necessary to consider the size of your dog and the weight of the leash.
Retractable leash: These leashes usually feature a thick plastic grip out of a which a thin nylon cord comes out when pulled and retracted when the pressure is released, similar to a measuring tape. These leashes can work against you when teaching loose-leash walking and are not permitted during Canine Good Citizen tests.
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