Walking with your Shiba Inu should be an enjoyable activity, but when they are constantly pulling on their leash and dragging you to places, then walking becomes a tedious task. This is why teaching your dog loose leash walking is important.
What is loose leash walking and why is it important?
For your dog, the outside world is full of things that stimulate them, like other dogs, noises, people, and scents. These factors excite them and are the reasons why they pull on their leashes, resulting in them dragging their owners.
Loose leash walking is when your dog is calmly walking by your side and not pulling on its leash.
It is not the same as the heel, where your dog sticks to your side as you walk. Loose leash walking is keeping the leash slack and gives your dog enough freedom to explore its surroundings without pulling.
Remember to teach your dog to loose leash walk in a positive manner. This means while training, you shouldn’t jerk, yank, or choke your dog.
There are two reasons why loose leash walking is important: comfort and safety.
Walking an overly excited dog who’s not taught to loose leash walk is a pain, mentally and physically. When it intensely pulls, your body will take the brunt of the impact. And when you strongly jerk the leash back to get your dog to listen, this also destroys its walking experience.
But when your dog knows to calmly walk with a slacked leash, then walkies is an enjoyable activity both for the owner and the dog.
The second importance is safety. Loose leash is also keeping your dog under control. This means it is less likely to run out in dangerous areas, like in front of a car, or inflict injury to itself or someone else.
How to teach your Shiba to loose leash walk
There are two ways you can teach your dog to loose leash walk.
Stop and be still
This technique is walking and then stopping and completely stilling when your dog’s leash tightens.
When the leash slackens (because your dog turned around to see what you’re doing or took steps back to you), praise, give him a treat, and resume the walk.
When they start to pull, repeat the steps above.
Teach with treats
Teaching with treats has to be your dog’s favorite and it works every time!
What you want to do is start with your dog standing on your left side. And with treats enclosed in your left hand, place it right in front of your dog’s nose. In this position, your dog will be able to smell the treats inside your palm.
Walk and every few seconds, offer a treat to your dog as a reward for walking along at your pace.
Continue daily and at least for a week. If you feel like your dog is getting a hang of it, stop luring with treats and just carry your empty hand in a natural position. Every now and then, you can reward it with a treat for keeping the pace.
Eventually, you can increase the walking distance and the time you offer your treats.