How can I get my dog to enjoy taking a walk?

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Walks can be enjoyable and great exercise for both the dog and her owner. Often, though, a dog won’t enjoy the walk and will stubbornly pull on the leash or even break free, thus posing a danger to herself as well as other people and small animals.

Here are some tips to stop leash pulling:
• Use the proper collar or harness to prevent your dog from pulling on the leash. Choose a collar or harness that properly fits your dog’s neck or torso. Take your dog to the store and ask for help when choosing the right restraint. For example, small breeds with small necks need a harness, whereas a larger breed may benefit from a thick collar.
• Place the leash on your dog’s harness or collar inside your home. Monitor your dog very closely so that she does not get caught on anything while exploring. Complete this a few times before walking your dog.
• Place the leash on your dog and begin outdoor training. Slowly take a few steps with your dog’s leash in either your left or right hand. As you start the process, use a command of your choice, such as, “go” or “heel.” Choose one that you plan to use throughout the process.
• Walk with your dog until she pulls on the leash. The second you feel a tug, simply stop walking until she calms down.
• Resume walking after your dog is calm; repeat your chosen command. Repeat this process as many times as needed. Teach your dog that pulling on the leash means you stop walking. Her motivation to continue the walk will drive her to stop pulling on the leash.
• Teach some basic obedience commands—especially the “heel” command. To a dog, it often means, “walk right beside me.” It’s not a hard command, simply hold the lead with two hands and keep your dog to your left. Every time she tries to move, gently guide her back to the left with the leash and say “heel.”

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