Learning how to leash train a dog is of the most important skills you should have as a dog owner. Not only does walking your dog provide the exercise requirement of a growing puppy, but it will improve its overall obedience and responsiveness. Consistency and patience are the keys to successful leash training. You may be thinking that dogs innately know how to walk politely on a leash, but the truth is this skill is something that needs to be trained. It’s an essential skill to teach, and one you’ll appreciate every time you take your dog out for a walk.
Introducing a Puppy to a Collar and Leash
- Be patient. It is the most crucial part of introducing a puppy to a leash and collar. No puppy has ever learned to be well-mannered on a leash in one day. The right way on how to leash train a dog involves confidence, calmness, and consistent practice.
- Develop a reward system. The simplest method is by rewarding your puppy with small, chewable treats. These tasty rewards also prevent the puppy from getting distracting while training. Playing simple games like tug-of-war also can be a form of reward to bolster positive behaviour. Some owners also employ the clicker system. Using a clicker allows you to communicate better and let your dog know what it is doing right by making a clicking sounds and giving a treat when it does what you tell him to.
- Choose the most suited collar and leash for your puppy. A flat, light collar and light leash are great options to begin with. They allow your puppy to get accustomed to having something around its neck. Getting crazy choker collars, especially while the puppy is small and timid is a no go.
- Allow your puppy to get accustomed to the collar. Puppies usually get nervous when attaching a collar for the first time. Some puppies even throw tantrums or try to chew on the collar. What you can do is to try distracting your dog. Put on the collar while your dog is playing. Use the reward system method. As soon as you put on the collar, give your puppy a treat. Loosen the collar. It should be snug enough, but not too tight around your dog’s neck.
- Introduce the leash to your dog. When you attach a leash, drop the end on the ground and let your dog run around. Play with the puppy while the leash is still dragging around. Make sure the leash doesn’t get tangled in this process. Pick up the leash occasionally and call the dog while offering treats when it obeys.
Leash Training your Puppy
- Create a relaxed environment. Many dogs get excited upon seeing a leash and will bark, whine, or spin around. If this is the case, stand perfectly calm with the leash in hand when your dog calms down. Remember to stay relaxed during your walks since the dog will pick up on your energy. So they are more likely to remain calm if you lead by example.
- Bring treats with you. Make it a habit to carry small and easily chewable treats for your puppy when practicing how to leash train a dog. Some examples of tasty treats for training are small chunks of meat or little pieces of cheese.
- Be supportive and patient to your puppy. A puppy needs to adjust to the idea of being on a leash. If your dog looks nervous, bend down and pet it. You can also offer small treats as you walk. Be patient with your pup as it gets used to leash training. Avoid rewarding bad habits, but there are practical and straightforward ways to deal with bad behaviour without getting upset.
- Stop bad behaviour. Prevent bad habits from developing by immediate action every time they occur. Don’t get angry and yell or hit your dog. There are more effective and positive ways to reinforce good behaviour calmly. Here are some common examples of bad behavior and how to approach them:
i Your puppy pulls the leash. When this happens, stop walking and stand firm. Don’t yank on the leash; just let your dog know that nothing happens even when it pulls. Call your dog back to you, and reward him a treat as soon as he comes. If you consistently do this, it will quickly learn not to.
ii Your puppy sits or lies down. When a puppy resists going for a walk, take a few steps away, call it, and offer a treat. Start walking, and when your puppy resists again, repeat the process. With consistency and calmness, your puppy will learn to enjoy walking and being on the leash.
- Consistency is the key. It is the most critical part of learning how to leash train a dog. Dogs are generally eager and happy to learn; all they need is for you to communicate your expectations properly. When you consistently reward positive behaviour and prevent bad behaviour, the dog will develop good practice. However, if you are inconsistent, the puppy will have a hard time recognizing what you want.
Continue Leash Training until Adulthood
- Walk your dog regularly. Continue to take your dog for walks whenever possible. It will reinforce good walking practice for your dog, so it doesn’t forget its leash training. Always be patient while not punishing negative behaviour.
- Take the lead. It establishes that you are in control, and develops the dog’s obedience on the leash. Try to shorten the leash and stop moving if your dog tries to pull it. Call it back and give it a treat until it obeys you. Continue to shorten the leash over time until your dog gets used to walking right at your side or just behind you.
- Choose proper leash for your dog. If your dog tends to pull a lot, use a short leash. No-pull harnesses can minimize pulling, while standard body harnesses usually encourage the dog to pull. Avoid using retractable leashes, since they make leash training significantly more difficult. Choker chains and prong collars often are not very useful unless used by a certified professional dog trainer.
Taking walks together as often as you can make a valuable bonding time for you and your pup. By learning how to leash train a dog, you strengthen and deepen your relationship with your favorite walking partner. It may not be easy at first. But with patience and determination, you can train your dog to improve leash behavior and obedience. Know more about pet training.