I agree, train the dog to walk on a loose leash. But, here's a tip. Tire him out first, than do a LITTLE bit of training. Throw that ball in the back yard for an hour if necessary, when the dog is panting (and you are not), then take the dog, put the leash on him and start training him to walk properly on lead.
When we teach STAY, we have the dog stay, say STAY, give a hand signal, and then we move right in front of the dog. And then we say STAY again and move back, praise and treat. We do this for a few days, and then we take an extra step or two away, and go right back. Eventually, we increase the time and the distance with the dog. Eventually we will be able to say STAY in a sit or down or standing position, next to other dogs, and then leave the room and go out of sight. But we don't do that on the first day -- obviously.
Why do we do that when we teach a dog to walk on a lead. We hook the lead to the collar and then expect the dog to go all the way around the block at our heel. That's nuts.
Instead, teach your dog the PLACE position, use a treat. Get him next to your side, Good give him a piece of that cheese. Good enough. After he knows he is going to get something awesome for finding the left side and sitting, then you walk three steps with that cheese in your hand, and treat him for staying in position.
Rome wasn't conquered in a day. Don't try to do it all at once. I do not expect perfect heel position on walks, except when we cross streets -- that is with trained dogs. But, when a dog tries to pull me, I dig my heels in or change directions. They don't have to be in heel position, but they need to leave the leash loose enough so that I am not being dragged. Because I won't have it. I determine where we are going, and if I have to turn around seven billion times, fine.
Rally Obedience is a great way to teach a new dog to heel. It starts out with a bunch of signs. Signs which change your direction or have you do a command. It is not boring walking at a slow human pace for half an hour. It is Walk five steps. Sit. Walk three steps spiral around these three cones. Walk seven steps, do a 270 turn. Walk 3 steps, sit Down Sit. walk five steps, Come Front, Sit, back one step. Sit, Back two steps, Sit, Back three steps, Sit, Finish, walk 8 steps and turn Right. Walk seven steps Come front, Finish around you, forward, Walk 5 steps and drop. walk three steps turn around in a circle. Walk four steps, 270 to the left, walk four steps, fast pace for 7 steps, than normal.
And so forth. The dog gets used to watching for what you are going to do next, and in training there is a lot of treats, and praise.
The way most people try to train heel or loose leash walking is akin to putting a dog next to a group of other dogs, saying STAY and then leaving the room for 5 minutes. And we wonder why too many people have trouble with it.
Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC