Leash Manners 101
Recommended tools: Martingale collar and/or a front clip harness. My recommendation would be a front clip harness. The purpose of a front clip harness is to put your dog off balance when she runs ahead of you and pulls. The front clip harness operates in a similar way to a gentle leader, by not allowing your dog to gain too much forward momentum. While not quite as effective as a gentle leader, it’s the same principle and I think it will work well for Ruby in lieu of a gentle leader.
Have many small and high-value treats available. I like to use tiny pieces of cooked chicken or cheese, but small dog treats will also work. The key is to keep a LOT of them with you since learning happens through repetition. While walking, keep a steady pace and anytime Ruby pulls and there is tension on the leash, simply stop and hold the leash against you. No need to pull on the leash – just allow the harness to redirect Ruby towards you. The strategy here is that dogs will instinctually pull against a taught leash, so if they feel pressure pulling them backwards,
their natural instinct is to counteract that pressure by pulling forwards. Instead, the front clasp on the harness will redirect them back towards you and they’ll never be able to establish that resistance. Additionally, the feeling of being off-balance and redirected is unpleasant and they’ll quickly learn that to keep moving forward they need to walk beside you with a slack leash.
While walking, reward positive behavior, if Ruby is walking beside you and offering a slack leash, either click or give a firm positive exclamation of your choice, like “Yes!” or “good!” (keep it consistent throughout training) and give a treat. You want to keep her
attention on you as much as possible!