By nature, golden retrievers are affectionate and even-tempered. They love playing with children and other dogs. They are friendly to the point that they happily greet and expect belly rubs from strangers. In fact, they are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Alas, they don’t have any guarding instincts whatsoever but that’s ok because we still love these goof balls.
Despite having so many good traits, a golden retriever can develop bad habits if not trained well. If you don’t know what we are talking about then let us remind you of last week’s leash-pulling incident. Was that you who was comically being pulled behind your golden retriever as they dashed after a squirrel? The sight was… hilarious, to say the least. The bystanders had a great time and you probably set some of the golden retriever’s way back in their training. It’s alright though because this is bound to happen when you own a dog. The good news is that your golden retriever’s intelligence makes them very trainable.
Before we list down golden retriever walking tips, let’s take a look at what’s causing your dog to pull the leash:
Playing Tug of War With the Leash
While it’s fun to play tug’o’war with your golden retriever at the beach, doing this with the leash can create a negative impression on it. The more pressure you put on the leash, the harder they will pull. If you continue like this, your golden retriever will think that pulling is a game.
So, if your dog tries to dash away and pull on the leash, instead of pulling back, stand on the spot to show them that you are not moving. To bring them back, either use a clicker or call it by their name. No matter how far they manage to go, the moment they realize you are no longer following behind, they will come running back to you. In this scenario, patience is your best friend.
Using a Retractable Dog Leash
Some dog owners think that a retractable dog leash is the best way to train a dog to explore their surroundings without going far. However, if you think about it ― when the leash ends and there’s no more give, your golden retriever will try to go further and that will force you to pull them in. Using a retractable leash is great when you are in crowded areas but when you are out on a walk, a regular leash will work quite well.
Giving Into Their Demands
What do you do when your dog pulls on the leash? Pull or run after them? In both cases, you are encouraging bad habits. By doing the latter, the message you send out to your dog is that it’s ok to pull because you will follow. This game of pull follows into other things too. For example, your golden retriever might grab something such as a shoe and when you try to pull it from their mouth, they won’t give it up. This changes the way your golden retriever sees you as a leader and makes them think that they’re the boss.
Here’s what you will need to make your dog’s walk more enjoyable:
- A 4ft leash
- A collar
- A harness (one with a front, as well as back clip)
Let’s go ahead and take a look at our dog walking tips for your Golden Retriever.
Make the Walk a Lesson in Exercise
Whenever you take your golden retriever out for a walk, make sure that you use this time as a lesson in exercise, as well as patience. This will teach them manners on how to behave when out in public. A dog’s primary purpose is to please their owner and of course, being loved and showering you with their slobbery love.
Keep the walk long but the exercise and training session short so that your dog knows the difference. When walking and training, keep the leash tight but loose enough that your dog doesn’t jerk. This will tell your dog that they need to behave. If they try to wander away, use the clicker. On the other hand, when out for a leisure walk, give enough leeway so that your dog can explore and have fun.
Reward When It Doesn’t Pull
A golden retriever is gluten for praise. This is a great place to start teaching your dog how to walk by your side and not pull on the leash. Give them a treat every time they stop when you stop. Use the clicker if they get antsy. The moment they quiet down, give them a treat.
Use the Stop and Go Strategy
The stop and go strategy teaches your golden retriever what you don’t like. If your dog tried to pull on the leash, stop but don’t let go. Do this a couple of times even when they are not pulling. This will tell your dog that when you stop, they should stop too. If you give them a treat for this behavior, they are less likely to pull on the leash even when excited.
Know The Difference Between Heeling and Loose Leash Walking
The former is more like a command that tells your dog to stick by your side whereas the latter gives them leeway to walk with you and explore to their heart’s content. Don’t spend too much time trying to make your dog heel because that will make them less active and playful, and more determined to pull and run.
Never reward your dog for pulling! Keep in mind ― if you give your dog a treat after bad behavior, it will come a habit of theirs to repeat the same behavior again and again. Always use a bigger leash when walking your golden retriever because this dog breed likes to play. To prevent any choking accidents during training, make sure to fit them in a harness so that even the slightest of pressure doesn’t cause them harm.