How many times have you seen someone ‘walking their dog’ yet it appears that the dog is pulling their owner! I always think the owner is being walked…not the dog! Being able to teach your dog to walk on a leash correctly is one of the most important ‘good dog behavior skills’ especially a new puppy. It’ll make future walks with your dog safer, and more enjoyable for both of you.
Getting your dog trained to walk on a leash takes a couple of weeks, so don’t rush it. Each dog is different. Don’t panic if your dog doesn’t seem to “get it” at the start. It’s very important that you take the patience to ensure that your dog is leash trained. Follow these three simple steps to make your leash training easy.
- Ensure that you get your dog comfortable with its leash as soon as you bring it back to your house. A wide collar is best. Don’t buy a skinny one as they are not as comfortable when they pull against it.
- Some dogs will try to get the collar off by scratching it or rolling around. Distract your dog from the collar by playing with them. Even though you might be tempted to take off the collar, don’t! You should only take the collar off when your dog has gotten use to it.
- Once your dog is used to his collar, it’s time to add on the leash. It’s very important to get him comfortable with it. Your aim is to not to scare your dog with the leash!
- It’s now time to start training your dog with both the collar and leash. It’s important to note that these are general guidelines. No single technique works for all dogs so you might have to do some experimenting.
- Walk slowly with your dog around your house without pulling on it. This is to get him or her acclimatised to it. Once your dog has gotten use to it, step up the pace and do some slight jogs or runs, gently tugging along the leash. Tip: If your dog is extremely playful or active, consider playing with it before you do this activity to tire him out. This will make the training much easier.
- Mix it up. Do zigzags, unexpected left turns and right turns. Keep your dog guessing, and get it used to following your commands on the leash.
- To make your training smoother, it is always good to reward your dog for good behaviour. Perhaps use a doggy treat to help facilitate this.
- Before going out on a walk, you need to maintain control from the start. If your dog drags you behind when you open the door, you need to calm it down by standing there and doing nothing. This will help set the tone of the walk.
Teaching a dog to walk on a leash might seem daunting. However, it’s an invaluable skill that all dogs need to know. With time and patience, any dog can be trained, so make sure you start early. Remember! You are the one walking the dog…not the other way around! What techniques do you use? Leave your comments, or ask questions below!