If you decide to live with a dog, it is essential that you bear in mind that educating him is essential. It is not about training him to know how to do circus tricks, but he does have to know and execute some basic commands.
Learning facilitates coexistence and also helps the dog understand its environment more, which will reduce its stress. In this article we will focus on a very useful teaching: how to teach a dog to walk beside us without a leash.
Basic dog education
Regardless of how old our dog is, since adults can also learn, there are some basic commands that they should know and know how to execute, although they can also be taught other tricks, such as the typical one of giving the paw. These are the orders:
- Come, to answer our call.
- Sit down.
- Lying down
- Together, which is the order for him to walk by our side whether or not he is on the leash.
We can use these or other words in different languages. It is indifferent, since for the dog the important thing is to identify a sound, and if possible also a gesture, with the action that it must initiate.
How to better train a dog?
The key is to schedule a calendar. We must select the orders that we want it to learn and then order them according to the importance we give to each one. For example, “come” is usually the first to be transmitted, since it is essential that the dog comes to our call in any situation.
Once the teaching sequence has been decided, each day we must spend about 5-10 minutes showing the order and repeating it until the dog manages to internalize it. If we are going to encourage him with food, it is better that the class begins with the dog fasting. But remember that the prizes can never exceed 10% of the daily food ration.
Use healthy foods as a reward, especially if your dog is overweight. And although food is the best stimulus, it can be replaced by caresses and words of encouragement. It is also important to end the session positively, that is, always rewarding it. Below we see it in practice for the command “together”.
Get your dog to walk together
This exercise is very useful and, although it is normal to do it when the dog is not on the leash, it also works if it is on. For example, it is very useful to order “together” when on the walk we meet a dog and we want ours to stay by our side.
We do not need to have a large field to train. We can teach you this and other exercises at home. Of course, during the learning stage there can be no distractions. Little by little they will be introduced once the dog has mastered the command in order to ensure that it is capable of executing it in any situation.
If we choose to exercise outside, we must first let the dog take its usual walk. You need to be able to relieve yourself before you start teaching. Of course, we have to be calm and positive. We will not achieve results in haste or bad manners.
Walk “together” step by step
Once in the ideal conditions for teaching, we can start training. It is very important that we always follow the sequence in the same way, we are patient and do not want to rush, as it would be counterproductive. Follow these steps:
- This command begins with the dog on the leash.
- The starting position is with the dog sitting next to us, almost close to our leg and aligned with it. That is why before the “together” you must know the “sitting”. It doesn’t matter which leg you choose, but you must always keep it on the same leg. It cannot be crossed.
- At the beginning we will start the exercise in a straight line. It’s a good idea to do it next to a wall, so that the dog is between it and your body. This is how we help you maintain the correct position.
- Fix it in the desired position with the strap and glued to you with a piece of food in the other hand.
- Say “together” clearly and start walking at a leisurely pace. As it is convenient for the dog to learn the instructions with a word and a gesture, you can accompany the sound with a blow with the palm of the hand on the leg of the side where the dog is.
- If he does well after walking a few meters, ask him to sit down, reward him and congratulate him profusely.
- Resume the sequence like this until you complete about five minutes, at most ten, although if you see that the dog is distracted, do not force it. Reward him for what he has done or for making some other command that overpowers and ends the session.
Advanced canine education
Once we have mastered the simplest “together” we will proceed to introduce modifications. For example, instead of walking in a straight line, we will include obstacles and changes of direction in the route that will make the dog look out for us to follow us.
The objective is to attend to the “together” in any situation that later comes our way on a day-to-day basis. Despite the modifications, the sequence of the exercise, the environment, our attitude, etc. they must remain unchanged.
Other changes that add difficulty and that we must introduce according to the evolution of the dog include removing the food as a guide and incentive, walking at a higher or lower speed, removing the leash or repeating the exercise in crowded places or in the presence of other dogs.