Taking long walks with your dog can provide excellent exercise for you and your pet. It also keeps your dog from becoming too bored. But, before you can experience this, your dog needs to be comfortable on a leash. A leash is an extension of the bond you share with your dog. Because walks should be an enjoyable treat, this blog will take you through everything you need to know about how to leash train your dog.
Where to Begin
You should begin leash training by introducing your dog to a well-fitting, lightweight collar. A comfortable fit is key: it should be not too snug, but not too loose causing it to get snagged. Yes, your dog will scratch at the collar, or roll around to remove it, but you should not give in to these behaviors. You should carefully observe your dog’s actions with the collar, and once he is familiar with it, attach a lightweight leash as well. Dogs tend to take longer to become comfortable with leashes. To help the process along, you can let your dog wear the leash around the house – but only under close supervision, so he doesn’t get tangled up with the furniture. You can stay on this step for as long as you dog needs, then slowly being holding the leash to engage your dog in “walking mode.”
You should always praise your dog for successfully wearing his collar and leash. This step is very important, as you want your dog to associate the leash with his walk, which means that as soon as the leash comes out, the two of you are preparing for fun. You should express your affection as you normally would: pet him, tickle him, or give him treats. You can also find a command that you’ll use consistently to indicate the two of you are headed out for a walk. You might say “Walk!” or “Go for a walk?” or even “Let’s go!”
Once your dog is comfortable wearing a collar and leash, it’s time to actually go for a walk. This is the most difficult part of how to leash train your dog; you should count on having your patience tested. Remember, your dog is learning a life-long skill. Because of this, a good deal of time and practice is needed in this phase to create pleasurable outdoor adventures. Each walk should reinforce these expectations.
A common problem is that dogs want to pull and go forward. However, the handler needs to have complete control over his dog at all times. The moment your dog begins to pull, plant your feet firmly and stop in your tracks. Wait, and ensure that your dog knows you are calm and patient. Yet you must remember to be gentle, as tugging the leash can be harmful to your dog. Once you stop walking, try changing the command and have your dog sit by your side. After he sits down and you have redirected his attention elsewhere, give a “walk” command to restart his momentum. Another way to redirect your dog’s energy is to turn around and walk in a different direction.
Practicing these leash-training techniques prepare your dog for social interactions. Small puppies grow into much larger dogs in adulthood, and an untrained, larger dog could easily overpower you. You should also always keep in mind that you might encounter other dogs and their owners during your walks. So, to ensure that your travels are pleasant and stress- free, you should continue to practice leash-training tips.
Now that you know how to leash train your dog, you’ll need to purchase a safe and effective leash. To do so, please click here.