Train Your Dog to NOT PULL on Walks - Loose Leash Walking
How to Walk a Big Dog As a Kid
If you’re a young person that’s hoping to walk a big dog, you must first ensure that it will be safe to do so. You may have to wait until an adult has trained the dog to walk on a leash, or until you’re strong enough to control the dog in the event of an emergency. As a kid, focus on developing your relationship with your dog at home and accompanying your dog on walks with others that are able to control them. Once you’re able to demand a well-trained dog’s obedience and control them with the proper equipment, you can start walking the dog on your own.
Learning How to Walk a Big Dog
Hold the leash with someone else.Before you’re able to walk the dog on your own, go along for walks with your parents or older siblings who are big enough to handle the dog. Ask if you can help hold the leash. Some leashes, which can be found at pet stores or online, even have extra handles for this reason. You can also use 2 leashes — one for you and one for the adult.
Practice your dog’s obedience commands with them.You won’t be able to safely walk a big dog until the dog is willing to obey your commands. Dogs, however, may be less willing to obey kids. While training them to do tricks can help you get to know each other, the dog will only be willing to obey you once they know you’re in control. To help achieve this relationship, practice telling your dog to do basic obedience tasks, such as “sit” and “stay”.
- Talk to your parents about the way you should reward your dog for obeying you. With family dogs, it’s important that everyone is on the same page about the dog’s discipline and training. You want to make sure you're using the same commands as everyone else so the dog respects you.
- Before you will be able to safely walk your dog on your own, be sure that your dog obeys your commands to “leave it” and “come” as well.
Practice walking the dog somewhere safe.If there isn’t room in your yard, have someone take you to a safe, fenced-in area where you can practice walking your dog. Hold the leash firmly, with your hand in a "J" shape and the loop sitting in the bottom of the "J." Stand beside the dog and start walking forward. Stop walking and command them to “stop” or “heel,” depending on what they’ve been trained. This will ensure the dog is paying attention to you and that you’re in control.
- If the dog attempts to misbehave by pulling or ignoring your commands when you’re the one holding the leash, you need to practice more obedience commands with them.
- Ultimately, your dog needs to learn that they need to obey you before you can safely walk them. This is best established through patient and consistent training.
Use the right equipment to handle larger dogs.Big dogs need sturdier collars and leashes, and even adults often need harnesses to help control larger dogs. Specific devices designed to help control a large dog can be especially helpful during leash training, which should be done initially by adults only.
- When you do begin walking a large dog after it has been trained, use a body harness to ensure that you're physically able to control them if necessary.
- A specific example of collar that an adult can use to help train a larger dog is the Halti, which loops around the dog's muzzle and prevents them from pulling forward.
Playing With Big Dogs as a Young Kid
Accept that you may not be to walk your dog yet.You may not have the strength or physical presence necessary to control a big dog. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to realize that anyone walking a dog needs to be able to control the animal in the event of an emergency.
- If, for instance, another dog attacks your dog but is then restrained, you need to be able to restrain your dog as well. If you are not able to do so, you should not be walking a dog on your own.
Pet your dog every day.The more time you spend with your dog, the better your relationship will be, and the quicker you will learn how to behave around one another safely and lovingly. Petting and brushing your dog are both especially good ways to get to know them.
Positively reinforce friendly behavior.Help train a large dog to be calm and friendly around you by providing treats when the dog is gentle and friendly with you. Talk to whomever trained the dog about whether you can practice talking to the dog, petting them, and offering them treats.
- Note that this assumes that your dog already knows how to do things like “sit” and “stay,” which are important basics that the dog's adults owners should teach the dog.
- Don't give the dog too many treats or it may start acting aggressive when it wants more.
Teach the dog to obey your voice with active training.Once you and your dog are comfortable around each other and the dog does not try to take things from you, you can start to train them basic tricks. Shaking hands, for example, is a fun and easy trick that kids can teach a dog once the dog is obedient and well-behaved.
- Put a treat in your pocket and position yourself in front of your dog and have them sit. Give them the command to “shake” in a clear voice, and hold your hand low enough for them to reach it with their front paw.
- When they do, provide them with a treat and verbal praise. If they don’t understand at first, lift their paw gently off the ground with your hand, say “shake”, and pet them. Then try again. As soon as they shake, don’t forget to give them a treat.
Look for age-appropriate activities you can do with your big dog.Doing fun activities with your dog is a great way to bond and get used to spending time together. Sign up for a local obedience class or join an agility club where you can work on training your dog. In the end, the 2 of you will be closer, and your dog will be more well behaved around you.
Considering Important Factors for Families with Big Dogs
Select a big dog from a breed that is usually good around kids.Some dog breeds are recommended for homes in which kids live, in part because of a peaceful and otherwise friendly nature. Bringing any dog into a home with children is a serious endeavor, and this is especially true if you’re considering a larger than average dog.
- Those breeds that do have a favorable reputation regarding interactions with children include Bernese Mountain Dogs, Collies, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.
Never leave young kids alone with a dog.Note that any dog can become aggressive. For this reason and for the safety of the dog, young children should never be left alone with a dog, especially a large dog. Large dogs may be especially likely to physically exert dominance over a small child, and risk hurting them.
Go on walks as a family first.Once your kids begin to want to walk the dog, be sure to accompany them until you're sure that they are safely able to do so on their own. If your child is too small physically, allow them to hold the leash with you. Once it seems that a child is ready to walk a large dog on their own, accompany them as they practice walking the dog from start to finish.
Teach your kids how to act around big dogs.It's important that your kids know what to do and what not to do around your dog. Teach them dog body language so they can spot when the dog is feeling threatened or aggressive, and remind them to be gentle with the dog. Tell them that they shouldn't run or shout around the dog or they could upset it. Teaching your kids how to behave around big dogs can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Video: How to walk a big dog that pulls.
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