What every dog owner should know about leash training a dog.
Leash training a dog is one of the most basic aspects of dog training, and also one of the most important. After all, you’re going to be walking your dog every day, and ideally twice a day. These walks will be much more enjoyable, for both you and the dog, if you have him under control, not dragging you around the neighborhood.
Leash Training a Dog: Introducing the Leash
Puppy leash training starts with introducing your new puppy to his collar and leash. A few days after he arrives in your home fit him with his collar and let him wear it for a few days to get used to it. Once he’s used to wearing the collar it is time to introduce the leash. Simply clip the lead to the collar.
Don’t hold the leash at this stage. The puppy will more than likely see this as a game and will check out this new ‘toy’ by sniffing it, chewing it and dragging it around. Keeping the puppy under supervision, leave the leash on for a few minutes. Do this several times a day, each time increasing how long the leash stays on.
Once the puppy is used to the leash and has worked out that it is not something to be scared of, you are ready to move on to holding the leash. Clip the leash to the collar as usual, but this time stand in one place holding the leash. The puppy is likely going to pull on the lead, chew on it, roll around and play with it. Let him! Do not tug back.
When your puppy stops pulling and stands with a loose lead, praise him, to show that this is what you want. Repeat this exercise two to three times a day for a few of days. Stick to short training sessions – no more than 5 minutes at a time.
Leash Training a Dog: Walking on the Leash
With the puppy now used to the collar and leash, you are ready for the next step. Teaching him how to walk on the leash. Here’s the basic method for leash training a dog;
- Stand on the right of the puppy and attach the lead to his collar. Hold the hand grip of the lead in your right hand and the middle of the lead in your left, keeping a loop in between.
- The dog should be on your left side. Align your left thigh with his shoulder. Do not put any tension on the lead.
- Say the dog’s name and begin walking, keeping him close to your leg. If he tries to pull ahead, correct him by pulling back gently on the lead and saying “Heel!” Give praise if he walks correctly.
- If the dog won’t walk, a gentle tug is normally enough to get him moving. Never drag the puppy or put tension on the lead.
- When turning left you should walk the dog when making a right turn he should walk around you.
- As you stop walking command the dog to sit. At first you may have to push down on his rump, but eventually, he’ll sit automatically when you stop. Praise him for a job well done.
6 Important Tips for Leash Training a Dog
- Start familiarizing your puppy with the collar and leash from an early age.
- Keep training sessions short and focussed – no longer than 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
- Puppies are easily distracted, so find a quiet place, with no interruptions for training.
- Always end a training session on a positive. If your dog is not succeeding with the new commands end the session. Then get him to obey a simple command like “Sit”, and give praise when he succeeds.
- Most dogs enjoy training but reinforce this by finishing the session with the reward of a game.
- Have patience. Most dogs are quick learners but every new skill takes a time to learn.
Leash training a dog takes time, but it pays off in calm, controlled and enjoyable walks with your dog.