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5 Vital Strategies to Help Your Westie with Loose Leash Walking
If you own a West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, you know that these dogs have a lot of energy and can be quite strong-willed. This can make walking on a leash a challenge, especially if your Westie has a tendency to pull. Pulling on the leash not only makes walks less enjoyable for both you and your dog, but it can also be dangerous if your dog decides to dart off unexpectedly. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can try to help your Westie learn to walk calmly and politely on a leash.
1. Start with Basic Training for Your Westie
“But wait,” you say. “I just want my Westie to stop pulling on the leash! Do I really need ‘basic training’ too?”
The answer is: it depends. While its possible to train your Westie to stop pulling on the leash without training other commands, all training becomes easier if you start with a solid foundation, such as training your Westie basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” (as an aside, if you’re looking for a solid overall training program, we really like the K9 Training Institute’s program or SpiritDog’s program, both of which include modules on leash pulling)
Before heading out for a walk, spend some time training your dog inside your home or in your yard. Use positive reinforcement methods such as treats, praise, and affection to reward your dog for good behavior. This will help your dog to associate good behavior with positive rewards.
2. Buy a No-Pull Harness for Your Westie
A no-pull harness is an excellent tool for training your Westie to stop leash-pulling. Unlike a traditional collar or harness, a no-pull harness is designed to discourage your dog from pulling by gently applying pressure to their chest. When your dog starts to pull, the harness will tighten, and your dog will feel a slight discomfort that will discourage them from pulling. Using a no-pull harness can be a safe and effective way to train your Westie to walk calmly on a leash.
We love the Rabbitgoo brand no-pull harness on Amazon, which has almost 150,000 reviews.
3. Be Consistent: When Your Westie Starts Pulling, STOP Walking
Consistency is key when training your Westie to loose leash walk. It’s essential to use the same techniques every time you take your dog for a walk. For example, if your dog starts to pull, stop walking and wait for your dog to calm down before continuing. Be patient and persistent, and your dog will eventually learn that pulling won’t get them where they want to go.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement like Training Treats
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective training techniques for stopping leash pulling. When your Westie walks calmly by your side, reward them with treats, praise, and affection. This will help your dog to associate good behavior with positive rewards, making them more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. Avoid punishing your dog for pulling, as this can make the problem worse by increasing their anxiety and frustration.
Our test pups LOVE these bacon flavored Pet Botanics training treats. They are small enough size that you can give a lot of them, and not overdo calories.
We’d also recommend a handy training treats pouch you can wear on your belt during walks.
5. Try an Online Dog Training Course for Your Westie
If you’re struggling to teach your Westie loose leash walking, it may be time to seek professional help through and online dog training course. A professional dog trainer can provide you with personalized advice and techniques to address your specific issues. They can help you to identify the root cause of your dog’s pulling and provide you with effective solutions to correct the behavior. With the help of a professional trainer, you can teach your Westie to walk calmly on a leash, making walks more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.
Our 2 Favorite Online Training Programs for Westie Leash Pulling
- SpiritDog makes an excellent and affordable training course called “Loose Leash Walking” that’s an excellent resource for Westie owners. The course promises to teach your Westie to stop pulling in 10 minutes a day. You can also get feedback from real, professional dog trainers.
- K9 Training Institute Makes an Excellent, Well Rounded Dog “Masterclass” that includes modules on loose leash walking. While it’s a bit pricier than SpiritDog, it offers a solid foundation and solutions to nearly any behavior challenge you might face. The course uses the same material that professionals use to train service dogs, so the quality of the material is top notch.
In conclusion, teaching your Westie to walk calmly on a leash is a process that requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. It’s important to understand that pulling on the leash is a natural behavior for dogs, so it’s up to us as pet owners to teach them the right way to walk on a leash. By starting with basic obedience training, providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can help your Westie learn to walk calmly by your side. Remember to stay consistent and patient throughout the training process, and soon enough, your Westie will be happily walking by your side on a loose leash.