Within the confines of the garden your dog will have learnt the basic commands such as walking, heeling, and sitting. You can put these into practice when you take the dog out on to the street. Do not expect too much in the early stages, even if your dog has become a model pupil at home. There will inevitably be scents and other distractions, including passing vehicles, which will affect the dog’s concentration on your commands.
For this reason, start by choosing a relatively quiet environment rather than a busy road. Be certain to keep the dog positioned on your left-hand side, away from the road at all times. If you walk reasonably close to the left side of the path there will probably be a natural barrier, such as a fence or wall, to reinforce the dog’s previous training routine. You may well find that you have to use the choke chain more than normal when you are first walking along the street as the dog will be more inclined to pause for scents than before.
Contact with other dogs may be a problem at first as well. Try to keep your dog walking in a straight line, so that it does not pull across you to reach another dog as you otherwise might trip over the leash. Again, if your dog seems keen to linger, give a gentle pull on the choke chain, with the command ‘on’, to indicate that the dog is to continue walking.
If you regularly visit shops in your neighbourhood where dogs are prohibited, it is a good idea to accustom your pet to waiting for you tied to a dog park. Never be tempted to leave the dog off the leash, hoping that it will simply sit until you emerge from the shop. A distraction may cause it to wander off into the road, with fatal consequences.
You should also make sure that the leash is tied firmly in place, so that the dog will not be able to wriggle free and disappear in your absence. Give the commands ‘sit and stay’ before leaving the dog, and check that it has remained in position before entering the shop. Again, plenty of praise at this stage will help to reinforce the desired response.
Never be tempted to run across a road if you are walking a dog. Your pet may be slow in responding, and this could easily result in a serious accident. Instead, cross at lights whenever possible or at a clear stretch of road where there is good visibility, rather than at a corner. While you are waiting to cross, encourage the dog to sit at the curb, and never allow it to wander out into the road on its own.
Sometimes, often because of a scent, the dog will attempt to stop while you are walking. Similarly the choke chain will again tighten, encouraging your pet to walk alongside you.
When the dog pulls ahead while on the leash, the choke chain tightens and it will experience discomfort. It will soon learn to walk at the right pace.