How To Walk Your Dog Responsibly

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

The RSPCA recommends teaching your dog to walk on a lead, but ‘loose lead walking’ and operates on the basic principles of reward-based training.

“Essentially, if a dog is walking on a lead without pulling, the owner can keep walking and reward the dog for that desired behaviour,” the RSPCA said.

“However, if the dog starts to pull, the owner should stop and stand still like a tree. By stopping, the dog is not rewarded for pulling and the dog learns that when they pull they won’t go forward.”

What To Check To Make Sure Your Walking Equipment Is In Order?

Collars and harnesses should be suitable and comfortable for your dog. They should also be in good condition and adjusted to fit correctly. General rule of thumb is that you need to be able to slide two fingers comfortably under the collar or chest and waist band.

Choker chains, slip collars or pinch collars must not be used as they cause pain and distress to animals when teaching them to walk on a lead.

Martingale collars (half choke collars) can be a good choice for a dog whose neck is not substantially narrower than their head (e.g. greyhound or whippet), or for when you really want to make sure that the dog can’t slip its collar.

Leads, harnesses and leashes need to be in good condition and of a suitable size for your dog. Thick leads with large clips are often too weighty for small dogs and can put undue pressure on their neck and spine. Thin leads with small clips are unsuitable for large dogs as they will break.

Leashes should be long enough to allow your dog some range to explore when on walks, while staying within the limits of the lead length (approximately 2 meters). A short lead will set your dog up to pull.

Extendable or bungee leads are not recommended for walking as they give you less control, encourage pulling and can damage your dog’s neck.

Dr Karen Becker from says there are many reasons to avoid or reconsider using a retractable leash. “The real purpose of using a leash to walk a dog is to keep the animal safe and under the owner’s control,” she said. “Retractable leashes often do the opposite.”

Some dogs pull strongly on the lead no matter how much training you put in.

RSPCA advises teaching your dog to walk on a lead is one of the hardest skills to teach, as dogs often wish to explore the world at a much faster pace than we do.

However, it is definitely a skill worth mastering for the well being of you and your dog.

Disclaimer: We have compiled our information from various different sources and we claim no rights to any of the information obtained herein.

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