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- Dog leash training is very important as this teaches pets how to behave properly especially while wearing one. This helps dog owners control dogs during walks or visits to the vet.
- Before starting the training, introduce your dog to the collar first and then to the leash. Make them get know and accept these two first before even attempting to put these on them.
- Use plenty of treats and make the sessions short. Leash training involves loads of patience from the dog owner.
Here’s a digest on how to leash train a dog: Prepare a lot of treats in one pocket. Have your dog walk on on side while holding a treat in your hand from that side and the leash using the other. Take a step and reward your dog once he follows. Repeat this and then gradually add more steps.
Leash training your pup is one of the most important things you can do for her health and happiness. If you want to take her to the dog park, she should be leash trained. If you must take her to the vet, she’ll need to be on a leash. Even taking her for a short jog around the neighborhood requires her to be on a leash.
Why is it important for dogs to be on a leash? It’s really for your safety as well as your canine companion’s. Your dog should know how to accompany you while leashed so that she doesn’t wrap the leash around you. Her wearing a leash can prevent her from being hit by a vehicle, charging at another dog, and it can also protect her from more aggressive dogs (if you have control of her with a leash, it’s easier for you to pull her to safety if the occasion ever arose).
Therefore, you should commit to teaching your dog good leash skills when she is around three to four months of age and soon after, he’ll have to learn to walk on a loose leash too.
Things to Do to Prepare for Leash Training
If you do not already have Fido wearing a dog training collar, then now is the time to shop! You want your dog to have a collar that fits properly. You should be able to stick your index finger in between your dog’s collar and his neck. When your dog is properly trained, soon you may want to upgrade to a GPS dog fence to allow you the wonderful benefits of this technology.
You’ll also want to pick out a dog leash that allows for training. Most leashes are six feet in length, but you may want to opt for a four-foot leash at the training stage. The leash should be nylon and highly durable. Don’t be surprised if Fido doesn’t attempt to chew his leash on occasion.
Invest in plenty of treats to reward good behavior
Now, some dog experts would recommend you practice clicker training your dog to mark positive behavior. Others find that this complicates the process, and they will simply use praise when Fido does as expected. A dog training is easier with treats as dogs are motivated mainly by food. After some training time, your dog will get excited for collar and leash time because of positive associations built by the rewards.
How long should I devote to training my puppy?
This will depend upon your dog and his trainability. Some breeds take a little longer than others to “get” what you expect of them. Other breeds are intense people pleasing pups; they will catch on quickly.
I would advise starting leash training inside for a few different reasons. First, until your puppy vaccines are complete and he’s had all his shots against parvovirus, taking him out on the ground (or to the park, for that matter) could cause him to become lethally ill. Therefore, keep him indoors and work on leash training in the comfort of your home. It is also less stressful for him. Also, you’ll have more control over Fido than you will outdoors. There will be temptations, and sometimes it’s so hard to keep from running to other dogs or to greet a member of the family. Inside your home, you can keep him from injuring himself while training.
Most dogs take to leash training within about three weeks, but some will take more time than others. Remember to be consistent in order to foster the habits you want your fur baby to have.
Keep the sessions short; ten to fifteen minutes is a great start, and you can always work up to longer times.
Teach him to walk on one side of you
If you plan to enter your pup in dog shows or competitions, later on, you want to teach him to walk on your left side. However, if you have no intention of competing, you can teach him to walk on your right side. Just remember to stay consistent with the way you start.
How do I carry out a training session?
In the beginning, you may want to introduce him to the collar (if he hasn’t been wearing one) and allow time for him to accept the collar. Next, you’ll want to introduce the leash. Occasionally, a puppy will be frightened by the leash. Show it to him, let him sniff, and assess the leash. Some pet parents will actually rub the leash over their dog’s back to get him acclimated to the object.
Once your dog will allow you to put on his collar and leash, you can begin teaching him to walk by your side. Now, in a perfect world, that would mean that Fido automatically walks by your preferred side, stops when you stop or tell him to do so, and will heel when asked. However, training a puppy is rarely that easy! We’ll discuss some common issues pet parents encounter when training their puppy to wear a leash.
I like starting with a shorter leash so that I can keep control of the puppy and keep him close to my side. Use commands as you begin moving, saying “Come on” or “Walk” when you begin to move. Take a few steps and see how Fido reacts. The key here is to get him to walk at your command, and, when he’s successful, treat and praise him. Begin by going a few steps, maybe twenty paces telling Fido to “Walk” and to “Stop,” praising and treating good behavior. As the dog acclimates to your expectations, increase the lengths of your walks. If possible, have a friend bring over a dog and take them both outside to test Fido’s need to greet another pup while obeying your command at the same time.
Let’s talk about the common issues pet parents have when trying to teach a dog to walk on a leash.
Pulling can have hazardous effects on both you and your dog, and some breeds are more prone to pulling than others. Failing to correct pulling in your dog can result in his having issues with his esophagus and trachea. It can also result in injury to you if Fido can manage to pull you down. So, how do we prevent pulling?
Some dogs can be trained not to pull by using the “no progress forward” approach. When you sense Fido beginning to pull, simply stop where you are. Now, the goal is for Fido to turn and look at you, allowing the leash to go slack. When he does this, you are to praise and reward with a treat, then immediately resume walking. You may have to repeat this many times in order for Fido to get the idea, but, this usually works for those who want to get where they’re going a little too quickly. If the dog continues pulling, turn around and go the opposite direction so that he follows.
But what if my dog just keeps pulling and even appears to dance on the leash? Great question! When Fido tries this (and remember, some breeds that are born to pull — think Husky— may try this on you a few times), you are to turn and walk in the other direction. Do not talk, do not yank him. Your dog must learn it is his job to pay attention to his handler. However, when he capitulates and eventually catches us, praise him for good behavior and reward him with a treat.
“Ok, so I’ve done that but my dog still pulls!” Try changing your dog’s collar to a harness. This will give you more control over Fido’s upper body.
2. Dancing or weaving back and forth in front of you while you’re trying to walk
This is one time when Fido must be corrected. This could cause you to be injured, and Fido could possibly get away from you if he’s not properly corrected on this behavior.
Put on Fido’s collar and leash as you normally do. Let him see that you have a treat in your hand, and let him know it is in your hand, on your preferred side. When he moves to that side (and the treat) praise him and allow the treat. Do this over and over again, spacing out the time between asking him to come to a certain side and then giving the treat. You want Fido to go to that side willingly without your needing to treat him each and every time.
You may also have to keep the leash so that it draws him near your side. Always be careful not to allow this to choke your dog.
Let’s talk about loose leash training
You’ll need the same tools as you do for teaching your dog to walk on a leash, but make sure you’re not using a retractable leash. Choose a different command from the normal position, one that denotes loose leash walking is a more relaxed moving position. Allow Fido to go forward, sniffing and otherwise exploring. The biggest difference when you train your dog with loose leash walking is that you allow for Fido to mosey along at a leisurely pace, but you do NOT allow for pulling. Any time your dog pulls, stop, then call him back to you.
1. How long does it take to leash train a dog?
This really depends upon the dog! Some puppies take to leash training easily, and they rarely, if ever, pull. Other dogs, especially those whose ancestors were used to pull sleds and the like, may pull as if their lives depended upon it. This is why I recommend teaching how to walk on a leash at a fairly young age. It is very difficult for an older dog that has never worn a collar to walk on a leash. Some dogs who have never been on a leash may really throw a temper tantrum!
Most dogs are well-trained within three to four weeks.
2. How do I get my dog to stop pulling on the leash?
When your dog pulls, stop in your tracks and call the dog back to where you are. When he responds properly, praise and treat him for good behavior. Some dogs will continue to pull, even when you stop. In this case, you’ll need to turn and walk in the opposite direction, being careful not to drag your puppy. This usually gets the puppy’s attention and allows him to understand he should not be pulling while walking with you.
When your dog does come to you as you stop and call to him, or even if you have to turn and walk away in order to get him to come to you, then remember to praise and treat when he does what he should.
If you’ve done everything possible to stop your dog from pulling but nothing seems to work, investing in obedience training is an option as well.
3. How do you train a dog to walk on a leash?
Training a dog to walk on a leash is really not that difficult. You have to show your dog what you expect and always communicate clearly with him. Be firm and consistent. Never give in to tugging at your dog who is pulling away or dancing in front of you. Be calm. Stop where you are. If Fido, won’t come to you, then you may have to turn and walk in the other direction to get his attention. Remember praising and treats go a long way!
Begin when your dog is about three months old. Introduce him to the collar and the leash, and make sure he’s comfortable with these items before actually doing any training. Start with short sessions indoors. Invite a friend with a doggy pal to come over and test your own dog on pulling potential. You may be able to correct pulling and weaving before actually taking Fido out in public on a leash.
Remember to praise and treat good behavior, and don’t get too bent out of shape when it comes to bad behavior.
4. Is it too late to leash train my dog?
Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? No, you can still train an adult dog to walk on a leash (and some will take to it quickly and easily). However, if you notice the dog is nervous or agitated, you may want to seek some professional training or obedience classes with experts who know how to work with older dogs.