6 Tips When Training Your Dog To Walk With A Harness

  • 02/07/2019

Taking your canine friend for a walk in a public space will mean using a harness/lead/leash: it is often illegal to walk you dog without one. Indeed, that’s totally understandable from a public perspective, but also for a responsible owner you want to know that your dog is safe from other dogs and from the hazards which exist in the big wide world: roads for one.

But harnessing your dog isn’t without its problems, and like so many doggy behaviours, is something which needs to be trained. Here are 6 practical tips you can employ when training your dog to walk with a harness.

Practise around the house/garden

Yep, this may seem a little weird, but you’ll be the only ones there to see it, and the simple fact is that like nearly everything else in life, practise makes perfect. So clip your dog on at an early age and just get them familiar with the feeling of walking with a harness, and the sensation of being controlled by a light pull on the harness itself. “Roll out all the usual commends of stay and sit, and so on, but all the time with the harness attached: this just gets your dog familiar with the feeling and will mean he or she is less likely to misbehave when you do go out in public,” says Maddie Simpson, a lifestyle blogger at AcademicBrits and BritStudent.

Ensure your dog is fed at the right time

Being hungry is simply a huge distraction for your four-legged friend. A hungry dog is a dog who is less obedient, and more agitated, so taking a hungry dog on a walk is a mistake. The ideal time to feed your pet is about 30 minutes before you commence your walk – enough time for food to be digested, but not too long before they get hungry again.

Ensure your dog is adequately watered

Water too is a prime concern. Make sure your dog gets a good drink of water before you set off on your walk, and then take a doggy water bottle with you too so your dog can get a drink while on the walk. This is especially important it it’s a hot day, of course.

Take treats

You should be familiar with the custom of taking doggie treats as a reward process for your dog anyway, and this works especially well when you are training your dog to use a harness. Employ a system of rewarding for every good behaviour shown, such as sitting at the right time or not pulling on the harness, which can be a particular problem. 

Use a no-pull harness

One of the biggest problems faced by dog owners is dogs who incessantly pull on the lead, making walking your dog more like a trip to the gym that a leisurely stroll. You come back with a pain in your shoulder as your arms gets constantly yanked almost out of its socket, and this is no fun for anyone. The first step here is to purchase a no-pull harness, which are actually used as training aids, and prevent any sort of choking of discomfort for your pet. Then use a rewards process for when your dog walks alongside you as opposed to straining to get away. “The no-pull harness/treat combination is a winning one. Dog walkers have been employing this dual system for years because it is simply the most effective way of training your dog to walk with a harness and lead,” says Gordan Crosbie,  a writer at Australia2write.

Use tried-and-tested training techniques

We have already mentioned the walk alongside tactic, for example, which is a popular way of training your dog to stop pulling on the harness. There are a number of other popular techniques that dog trainers use, such as turning and walking in the other direction if your dog pulls, using a series of familiar commands, and of course using a no-pull training harness. Get familiar with these techniques, follow the other tips here, and taking your dog for a walk will soon become the enjoyable activity you envisaged it would be.

Content marketer Micahel Dehoyos is usually found assisting organizations in their digital marketing approach. He is an editor at PHDKingdom and Origin Writings and a regular contributor to a number of other blogs and info sites, including Next Coursework.

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