Walking our dogs is the perfect way to get quality time in with our pooches and ensure they’re getting their daily exercise. Dogs are happiest when exploring the outdoors, taking in plenty of new smells and walking alongside their best two-legged friend. But sometimes, it can all be a bit too much for owner and pup both, and some simple tips and training could be the answer you’re looking for to make walkies much more enjoyable.
You can find all the advice, key tips and tricks for walking big dogs in our guide at Poppy + Ted.
Which is Best for Big Dogs? Collars Vs Leads
The first step in making walkies with your overgrown pup simple and enjoyable for all is choosing the right equipment. You will see recommendations for both harnesses and collars, so here are a few things you should consider before deciding.
Harnesses for Big Dogs
For pet parents of larger dogs, harnesses are often the go-to choice. Not only do they offer more control, but they also provide a comfortable and secure option for those pups with boundless energy. Harnesses are designed to distribute the force of pulling across your dog's chest and shoulders, reducing strain on their delicate neck area. This thoughtful design ensures that your furry friend can enjoy their walks with optimal comfort and freedom of movement. Plus, with the wide array of harness styles and designs available, you can let your imagination run wild and choose one that perfectly captures your dog's unique personality.
You can also shop our 3-click tough harnesses at Poppy + Ted for even more security and comfort for you and your dog.
Collars for Big Dogs
A collar can be an invaluable tool if you have a strong puller on your hands. These collars provide effective control and guidance for dogs who tend to tug on their leashes with gusto. Head collars can transform those walks into enjoyable strolls without the struggle by gently redirecting their attention and controlling their head movements.
However, it's important to note that using prongs, choke, or any training collars that inflict pain is strongly discouraged. We firmly believe that positive reinforcement and humane training are key to a happy and well-behaved dog.
Why Do Big Dogs Pull?
The biggest bugbear we hear when owners complain their dogs won’t walk nicely is pulling! Now, we all know the reason behind this behaviour is simple: dogs just want to get to where they want to go and get there fast!
Imagine being tethered to someone who walks leisurely while you have a whole world of exciting smells, fascinating dogs, and intriguing humans waiting to be explored. From your dog's perspective, it's like they're stuck in slow-motion while their curiosity and adventurous spirit are in full turbo mode. So, what do they do? They pull!
But the major concern is that pulling on the lead can become a reinforced habit. When your pooch tugs and you follow their lead, they associate pulling with getting closer to the things they find oh-so-irresistible. That enticing smell? Pull closer. A playful pup on the horizon? Pull even harder. An intriguing new person? Well, you get the idea. And if you happen to have a larger or giant breed, walking them can turn into a not-so-pleasant and rather stressful experience.
So, to correct this problem, you need to take the time to train your big dog.
4 Tips for Training Big Dogs
Training your big dog to walk on their lead takes time and patience, but the reward is worth it for you both. To make the training as simple as possible, here are four tips for training big dogs to walk nicely on their lead.
1. Start Early
Teaching larger dog breeds to walk well on their leads while they are still young sets the stage for a lifetime of enjoyable walks. These furballs have the potential to grow into strong and powerful companions. Starting the training process early establishes a solid foundation for good leash manners, making your future walks together a breeze.
As your four-legged friend matures, they become more confident and curious about the world around them. You can guide their energy and enthusiasm into positive behaviour with proper training. By instilling lead manners from a young age, you'll have the upper paw in maintaining control and ensuring their safety during walks.
2. Correct Behaviour
To train your dog to walk well on their lead, you must first stamp out any poor behaviours they may have learnt. One technique trainers recommend is to stop on the spot when your dog starts pulling. It's a gentle way of conveying that pulling won't get them anywhere fast. By coming to a standstill, you're sending a clear signal to your furry friend that their forward momentum is hindered as long as they continue to pull.
Alternatively, you may try turning around and switching directions when your dog begins to pull towards something. This tactic reinforces the lesson that pulling won't lead them to their desired destination. As you change direction, your dog quickly realises that their pulling efforts are in vain, and it's only by walking calmly with you that they'll get to explore the world around them.
3. Recall is Key
We all hope it never happens, but what if your furry friend manages to break free from your grasp while out on a walk? It's a heart-pounding thought, but fear not, there are measures you can take to ensure their safety and peace of mind.
One crucial element is to have a reliable recall command in place. A recall is like a magical lifeline that brings your dog back to you with a simple word or signal. By dedicating time to train your pup on a strong recall, you're building a safety net that gives you a sense of relief. Even in those rare instances when they slip free, you can rest a little easier knowing they won't wander too far before responding to your call. It's like having a secret superpower that keeps your furry companion close, even when the unexpected happens.
4. Stick to 1
While training your big dog to walk nicely on their lead, you should limit how many pups you take out with you to just one until you are confident in their training. Walking multiple dogs at once can become hectic. Your dog may copy the behaviours of their walking companions, and you may get distracted by one of the other pooches on your walk and let your training regime slip.
However, that doesn’t mean that walking multiple big dogs is impossible. Once all dogs on your walk are appropriately trained to walk well on their lead, and you feel capable, walk as many pups as you can. We have a guide on walking multiple dogs at once to give you the tips you need to know, as well as split leads available that make walking multiple dogs at once a breeze.
Getting your Dog Walkies Ready
The importance of training big dogs to walk well on their leads is crucial for their safety, the enjoyment of walks, and the overall well-being of both dog and owner. With proper training techniques, patience, and the right equipment, walking these majestic companions can become a harmonious and fulfilling experience.
Explore our wide range of dog-walking accessories available at Poppy + Ted to help you achieve leash-walking success. From tough harnesses that distribute the force of pulling to collars that provide control, there are options to suit every dog's needs and preferences. Plus, you can shop for strong and durable dog leads that are as cute as they are practical.