Does your dog have trouble taking a simple walk on a leash? You're not alone, in fact, a large percentage of dog owners experience the same issue. Luckily there are a number of things you can do to reverse this behavior.Just like humans, dogs have their own unique personalities. Whether your pet gets excited, aggressive, or scared while on leash, these behaviors can be corrected. A majority of dog owners believe that in order to train their dog they must use force and try to dominate the animal. Usually this negative method of training leads to elevated stress levels in your pet. The most effective and humane way to train your 4-legged friend is called "choice training".
As you may have guessed, "choice training" is all about giving your dog choices and using positive reinforcement. For this type of training you want to use positive behaviors that your dog already exhibits. Say you have a dog who lashes out aggressively at other animals/people while on leash. What you want to do is replace that behavior with a positive one. If you are on a walk and see another dog approaching you could have your dog sit and then reward them with treats and praise. Eventually your pup will be conditioned to use this behavior when approached by other animals/people without lashing out.
Another common issue is simply getting your dog to walk calmly without pulling. A simple correction for this is to reward the dog with treats each time they look back at you while on a walk. The reasoning behind this is that it is very hard for your animal to pull while looking back at you. Presenting them with a treat really helps to bring their focus back to you instead of trying to pull forward.
Positive reinforcement is truly the key to taking control of a reactive dog. The best part is that the dog doesn't see it as you dominating them. Instead, they see you as an equal and someone they can trust. These types of changes don't happen over night so be sure to be patient with your animal. With "choice training" your dog will be MUCH happier but more importantly, you will be too!