From Google:

Symmetry in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance.

I love the word “symmetry” when thinking about loose leash walking. It conjures up an image of a team of two beings flowing together and enjoying an activity where one compliments the other; the two are one equal pair in the activity. I adore walking my dog – it is my meditation, my stress relief, my time to bond with my dog. I know for many of you, walking your dog is literally a drag. But I would like to help you with that!

Walking your dog should be a mutually-enjoyable activity for you and your dog, not something that entails being dragged around the block with fingers crossed your dog goes potty as quickly as possible so you don’t fall on your face or break a bone. Yes, these are real concerns for many people who have had no luck teaching their dogs not to pull.

In the past, choke chains, prong collars, all manner of “no-pull” harnesses and other pieces of equipment meant to “stop pulling” may have been tried, but I’d like to offer you a new method and a new perspective on teaching your dog polite leash manners. Let’s take a look at exactly what “loose leash walking” and our expectations of our dogs are.

It sounds simple enough – loose leash walking; you just want your dog to walk nicely on leash and NOT PULL. But really looking at what we are asking of our dogs when we say “no pulling!” is important because what is being missed is the reason why your dog is still pulling.

The behaviors we are really asking of our dog when we say “no pulling” (which isn’t a behavior, but something that we desire and hence of no help to the dog in the learning process):

  • Walk at all times with the leash slack
  • Ignore distractions like: other dogs, people, bikes, cars & noisy trucks, small animals, sounds, etc
  • Stay by my side/on the same side
  • Go potty when/where I want you to
  • Follow me when I move
  • Stop when I stop
  • Pay attention to my cues whether verbal or directional with the leash guiding you
  • Turn left or right or do a U-turn when I do any of those things
  • Can you think of anything else you may be asking of your dog when you use the umbrella term “no pull/loose leash walking”?