Train with a Retractable Leash

Another option in your march toward off-leash cooperation is a retractable leash; however, it should never be used in a crowd or near a road. When used in an open environment, it allows your dog the freedom to explore, while still allowing you to reinforce your direction. As a training tool, you can use it informally during walks to reinforce the following commands.

Command Response

NAME Call out your dog's name enthusiastically. If he looks at you, praise him. That's all that is required—just a glance. If he ignores you, tug his leash, say NO, and then praise him once you have his attention.

WAIT Use WAIT to teach your dog to stop at a distance. Command your dog to stop when he is three feet in front of you. If your dog continues forward, snap the leash and say NO, WAIT. Praise his focus immediately. Increase your distance to six feet, eight feet, twelve feet, sixteen feet, and twenty-six feet.

SIT-STAY Use a retractable leash to increase your distance control. Increase your distance slowly.

HEEL Use this command to call your dog back to your side. Call out his name and then command HEEL as you slap your leg.

Praise your dog as he responds, and then walk a short distance before you stop to release him.

NO Whenever your dog is focusing on something he shouldn't be, call his name and run in the other direction, if possible.

If he ignores you, snap the leash and say NO. Immediately refocus his attention with a toy, a stick, or a command.

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