Train.Treat.Repeat

South Florida has stunning beaches and year-round sunshine, making it a pet paradise and the perfect place for enjoyable walks with your furry companion. However, many pet owners struggle with loose leash dog walking, leading to frustration for both pet and owner. Check out our written tips along with our quick Instagram starter tutorial below on how to work on your walking skills.

Setting the Stage for Success: Miami’s Pet-Friendly Venues

Begin your training in your home, then in your neighborhood, before going out and exploring pet-friendly parks and outdoor spaces. A helpful place to train between your home and outdoor spaces would be to practice in a controlled but distracting environment, like our indoor dog training facility (bonus: it’s AC-controlled!). 

Gradually, as you are successful in each location, introduce your dog to more stimulating environments, like Coral Gables or the iconic South Pointe Park, to acclimate them to distractions.

 

Building a Solid Foundation: Basic Training Commands

Before venturing out on walks in Broward’s locales, ensure your dog is well-versed in basic commands like “look,” “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This training will provide greater control and communication during your outings. You want to reliably have your dog respond for safety, like before crosswalks, so they don’t go out into the street.  

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is key to successful training. Praise your dog and offer treats when they walk beside you. Rewarding encourages them to repeat the desired behavior. You want to encourage them to walk with you instead of walking you.

 

Positioning for Paw-some Walks

Mastering the art of loose leash walking starts with proper positioning. Begin with your dog on your preferred side, aligned with your hip. Lure your pup into this position using their favorite treats and reward them for maintaining it. Consistency in reinforcing this position will pave the way to successful loose-leash walks. 

While having your dog at your side is wonderful, you can allow your dog to be ahead of you, but one rule must be clear – no pulling! If they’re ahead, you need to be mindful of calling them back beside you before crossing the street and in heavy traffic spaces so you can control their attention. 

Introducing the “Loose Leash” Command

Add a verbal cue to initiate walking with phrases like “with me” or “let’s go.” You’ll want to speak softly, as you don’t want to add any additional excitement to an already exciting activity. 

 

You can use words like “easy” or “woah” to let your dog know if they’re getting too far ahead or have hit the end of the leash, so you can verbally remind them if they’re going too fast/far. Enforce the behavior each time you use the words by waiting for them to stop or return to you before you continue walking.  

 

Patience and Persistence: The Path to Success

Patience and consistency are essential ingredients for mastering loose-leash walking. Each dog learns at their own pace, so stay patient and persistent in your training efforts. Celebrate small victories and progress made along the way. The more consistent you are with training and maintaining the rules, the faster you will see results!  

Handling Distractions and Pulling

The bustling ambiance of the SoFlo life can pose distractions for your dog during walks. If your pet starts to pull or get distracted, redirect their attention using treats or a favorite toy. Avoid harsh corrections, as they may deter learning and create anxiety. 

 If your dog’s struggling during the walk, it means the environment is too difficult for your dog at their current skill set. You want a challenge but not so much that your dog isn’t successful. Work at your dog’s pace, and don’t hesitate to contact a professional dog trainer to help fine-tune you and your dog’s training. 

Need help with your dog or puppy in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or the Florida Keys?

We train dogs and puppies of all ages, all breeds, and all behavior problems. We have certified professional dog trainers as well as credentialed behavior professionals on our staff to help you and your dog.

We are AKC evaluators and active dog sport enthusiasts with our own dogs! Call us today at 786-529-7833, find us on Facebook or message us on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws @AYPBroward.

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