The use of rewards and other positive reinforcement is the most effective method when it comes to training our dog to walk by our side.
You can make obedience training fun for the dog, and for you too, by making a game out of it. This makes both your dog and you, as the trainer, more willing and motivated to give it your all.
Incorporate a play period at the beginning and end of each training session to make sure the session ends on a positive note.
1- How to teach your dog to walk by your side without the leash
Teaching your dog to walk beside you is the most basic of all obedience commands. In general, it is the first obedience behavior taught to a dog, and it is easy to teach using reward training.
Begin training by putting a good training collar and leash on your dog. Make sure the collar is strong and fits the dog correctly. If you don’t know how to adjust the collar, ask a dog trainer or pet store owner when you buy your training equipment. This post has more information on how to get your dog used to wearing the collar and leash.
When you start walking with the dog, be aware of the dog’s position in relation to yours. If the dog starts to move forward, gently pull on the leash. This will engage the collar and provide the dog with a gentle cue to slow down.
You may need to apply more pressure at first until your dog learns to accept the discipline.
If the dog lags behind, slow down and encourage the dog to move forward. Use a lure or his favorite toy to teach him to walk beside you. If you keep the lure in the position where you would like the dog to be, he will quickly learn to walk in the correct position.
2- Positive Reinforcement
Always give your dog lots of praise, treats, toys and other rewards when he does what is expected. Dogs learn best when the desired behavior is rewarded in a positive way.
Positive reinforcement means that when a dog does what the trainer wants, the dog receives a reward. This can be a pat on the head or a treat, or toy of some kind. If the dog shows the slightest attempt to please you, especially at the beginning of training, you should reward him with positive reinforcement.
It is much less effective to try to train a dog through reprimands and punishments. Dogs become discouraged and confused by too much punishment.
You may have to reprimand the dog at times to correct potentially dangerous behavior. For example, chasing cars or biting should be punished, but reprimands should be direct, short and directly related to the misbehavior. Once the immediate danger is over, training should continue, following the reward method as before.
Dogs should learn to associate rewards with good behaviors and reprimands with undesirable behaviors. It is difficult to change any negative associations once they have become entrenched. It is easier to train the dog correctly in the first place than to try to retrain it later. You must teach your dog to associate behaviors such as coming when called, heeling and being on command with the happy and fun times you shared during training.