Your dog is going to be excited when he realises he is going for a walk. However, an excited dog will not be receptive to commands.
So, you must leave the house calmly with you in control.
8 Call the dog to you, do not go to the dog to put the lead on. Have him sit calmly then put on the lead.
8 Your dog has to go out the door and/or gate after you. If the dog leads you out of the house, he will lead you for the rest of the walk.
8 Take your dog to the front door and or gate and open the door. Make him sit quietly for a few seconds. You decide when to leave, not him. You exit first.
8 Until the dog is well behaved, the collar should be far up on the neck near the base of the skull, giving more control. Or leave the collar as normal and pass the clip end of a soft lead through its handle loop to form a sliding loop.
Use that as the collar-and-lead, keeping it high on the neck.
8 A body harness is not recommended for walking dogs.
The harness goes around the strongest point on the dog’s body making it difficult to control him.
The lead should hang short and loose. There should be no tension in the lead. Ever.
8 Pull your shoulders back, stand up straight and relax. Dogs can sense tension or lack of confidence.
8 Walk at a good pace.
8 If the dog pulls, tug the lead quickly up and to the side throwing him off balance, then loosen the lead immediately. If he pulls again stop, have him sit, take deep breaths, relax and then move on. Repeat as often as necessary. Persistence in the beginning will reap rewards.
8 Do not call to the dog when you start walking again, just start walking. Pack leaders don’t call.
They expect to be followed.
8 If you pass a barking dog or other distraction, keep moving forward. If your dog pays attention to the distraction, give a tug on the lead to avert the attention back to the walk.
8 If the tug does not work you can also use your foot, not to kick the dog, but to touch him on the rump enough to snap his attention back to you.
Or prod him in the neck with your fingers held like a claw. The prod is not to hurt, it is to divert his attention back to you.
8 Timing is everything. You must correct the dog at the moment his distraction occurs otherwise it escalates.
8 If you have a high energy dog or if the walk time is short, put a small weight in a dog backpack, equally balanced on both sides. The dog will get a better workout, and it will slow him down a bit.
8 If you are going off to work for the day, the dog should be walked before you leave the house. This will put him into a rest mode while you are gone. Dogs should also be walked before they eat, fulfilling the dog’s instinct to work for food.
LEAD OR NO LEAD
If there is a quiet, safe place to walk your dog off lead, that is the best exercise of all. Once the dog returns to you when you call and walks at heel without a lead, then you can give the ‘explore’ command and let him run off on his own. A happy dog is a loyal dog is a good guard dog.