Although it’s still winter, that’s not a good reason to skip out on National Walk Your Pet Month in January. If your pet plants all four paws firmly on the ground when out on her walk, or lunges at every moving object, you may be tempted to opt out of celebrating Walk Your Pet Month. Our tips on leash-training your pet will help ensure that you stick to your New Year’s fitness resolution because you’ll have a wonderful companion walking nicely at your side.

Question: What should I do if my dog pulls on her leash?

Answer: Loose-leash walking takes patience and the understanding that, while you may cover many miles training your dog, you likely will not go far from home. When your dog pulls on her leash, she wants to reach an object of interest. Refuse to take part in a battle of strength by quickly walking backward and calling your dog’s name in an upbeat tone. As she comes back to you, reward her with treats and praise, then continue in the forward direction. If your pup stays by your side, reward her with treats every few steps, but if she continues to pull, stop, and repeat the reversal process. If an object in the direction you’re walking is so interesting that you cannot prevent your dog from pulling toward it, switch directions.

Question: What should I do if my dog refuses to go where I want her to?

Answer: Bribery works well with dogs. On your walks, arm yourself with plenty of high-value treats, or a toy if your dog is not food-motivated. If your pooch wants to investigate an object of great interest and pulls toward it, refusing to walk with you away from the person, dog, or object, encourage her to walk with you by using treats, toys, and an upbeat tone of voice so that you become more exciting than the interesting object. Move quickly in the direction you want, distracting your pup along the way.

Are you struggling on walks with your dog? Contact us for recommendations on collars, harnesses, and other training techniques.