Are you a new pet parent? Are you struggling to train your dog to walk on a leash? Don’t you get worried! We have got you all covered.
Puppies tend to drag you down while walking when they are pretty new to the idea of a harness or a leash. They need special training to get used to the drill. Several refresher courses or good dog training institutes teach such stuff.
But not all of you prefer leaving your pet away from yourself, right? Well, you don’t have to either.
Springs and summers are ideal times to train your paw friend or introduce them with reinforcement or start with walking your dog on a leash. And to your best interests, training your dog to walk on a leash or, as you may call it, loose-leash training is effectively doable inside your home.
This blog will shed light on some exciting tips and tricks gathered from certified trainers that help you best while training your dog to walk on a leash. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s WOOF it up!
What is Walking on a Leash? What is its Importance?
Training a dog to walk on a loose-leash walking is not the same as training a tame dog. It should not take away your furry friend’s freedom while also keeping it near you.
It is essential to let dogs sniff around even while they are on the walk. Dogs love to explore. Leashing them should nowhere take their freedom away from them. That is why you should teach your paw friend to walk on a leash so that they don’t get overexcited or pull away to escape.
Comfort, even while your pet is on a leash or a harness, is vital. If your dog is pulling or jerking, they are not happy, leading to an unpleasant walking experience. Moreover, this would also strain your arms and hands from all the pulling.
Safety is another reason why you should teach a doggy to walk on a chain. Often, it so happens that you may need to rush to the store, and you can’t leave your paw buddy alone. You cannot take them freely, can you? Well, only if they are thoroughly trained to behave outside.
These are the cases that require leash training. It ensures your dog’s safety. This way, your dog won’t venture into unsafe areas, say, in the middle of the road or the front of a moving car or a bicycle.
Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash
It would be wrong if you assume beforehand that your dog knows how to walk on a leash. It is a skill to be trained. Besides all the tricks you may teach your paw pet, walking on a leash or loose-leashing is crucial.
So, without beating around the bush, let’s start with your dog’s at-home leash walking training.
The Collar or Harness and the Leash for Your Dog
The foremost step would be to let your dog get used to a collar or a harness and the leash. Allow them to wear these regularly for short periods and indulge them in games and play. Offer treats when they perform well.
Your pup will eventually enjoy the collar this way. They would have the memory of fun times when you start with games. It even makes them excited to wear the harness and the leash.
You can start the drill inside your home. Make sure to choose a low distraction environment at home for this purpose.
To train your dog for leash walking, use a 4-6 feet non-retractable leash. When you feel the leash has tightened, hold your position as if you’re a tree or a pole. It would be best if you refrained from pulling or yanking the leash.
Ignore your dog when so happens unless they make a movement that loosens the leash. Loosening the rope is important to let them explore while being on the leash at a feasible distance away from you. Praise them for an excellent job and move on.
Repeat the same exercise until they know that they are supposed to stay at a considerable distance while walking on a leash without tightening it.
Follow a Cue
Introduce your pup to an exciting cue that encourages your dog to come to you happily. It can be a small sound with the flicking of your tongue or just the word “yes” or “treat-time.”
It can be anything but the meaning would be the same. Take your doggy to a calm area and leash them to the collar and make the cue sound. When your pup responds to the sound, reward them with a treat to set it in their memory.
After a few trials, your pup would know that the cue sound is like an invitation to a treat. So, the next time you make the noise, they’ll not only respond but also move toward you for the treat.
Let the Puppy Come towards You
As your pup approaches you while still wearing the collar and the leash, move backward and let them come towards you. Reward them with treats when they do.
Puppies have shorter attention spans. Thus, don’t drag the sessions and avoid getting your pup mentally exhausted. Yes, dogs get mentally exhausted as well!
Take the Pooch Outside
Finally, your pup is now ready to face the outside world on the leash. It would appear to be challenging at first. So many new encounters in the form of smells, sounds, or other puppies. It all may be overwhelming for your pup initially.
Make sure to keep an eye on your pooch. If they seem to lunge towards something new or tend to get distracted, make your cue sound. That would grab their attention as you move few paces backward. Reward them with treats when they come towards you, following the cue sound.
Things to Keep in Mind While Leash-Training Your Dog
While training your dog, there are few things to keep in mind to help you ease through the process.
Keep Sessions Short
Always begin with a short session of training for the very first time. This way, it creates a positive impact on your pup and does not exhaust them physically or mentally.
Mostly, sport dogs walk on the left side of the walker. But if you have no such plans, you can train your dog to walk on either side. However, it is best to teach them to walk on one side, not to trip you off as they run back and forth.
Capture your dog’s behavior when they’re on a leash. No matter if they whirl or are a significant puller. There’ll be times when they’ll look back at you to grab your attention.
The moment they maintain the pace and the distance, reward them with treats to learn the trick soon.
Rewarding your dog with treats is an appreciating gesture and keeps the mannerisms of your dog intact. If they are nice walkers and do not pull the leash, chances are, they’ll soon forget the manners. So, ensure to mark and reward them when they are back to polite walking.
If they are among the pullers, make sure to teach them the importance of a loose leash. Pulling the leash will not accelerate their pace to their goal. On the contrary, it will make you happy if they walk politely, and you can reward them for it.
Whether training a puppy or an adult dog, apply the “no forward progress.” Ensure to mark and reward when they learn that pulling the leash only slows down rather than speeds up their progress.
Let Them Walk by Your Side
It is crucial to keep your dog on one side. They tend to run back and forth, and this might be a disturbance for you. You might even trip and fall.
Also, if they keep going round and round in circles, the leash-walking won’t be much fun. Therefore, keep the leash short to an extent where they can be away on a loose leash but at a safe distance.
They’ll slowly get the idea of staying by your side. Make sure to reward them every time they do a good job.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
While it is highly essential to train your dog, you’ll indeed find it challenging for the first time. As a matter of fact, the dog breeds that you’re training may also influence the idea.
For instance, Golden Retrievers are smart and intelligent dogs. They can quickly grasp a concept and the pretty little tricks and tactics. On the contrary, Saint Bernards are not so easy to train as they tend to have an independent nature. Such considerations are important as well.
Therefore, here are a few solutions to the problems you may face while leash training your dog. Ensure to follow them precisely when you troubleshoot the issues.
Your dog enjoys pulling the leash and dancing:
When your dog starts pulling the leash, stay still and then turn around to walk to the opposite side. Ignore your dog for some time and wait for their response.
Your dog will follow you everywhere since they are so trained. When they reach you, express your excitement upon seeing them, and reward them with treats. This way, they learn to pay attention and avoid pulling soon.
Your pup that pulls doesn’t respond to your training tricks:
Make sure to provide them a suitable harness or collar which offers better control. However, it may so happen that even with the correct equipment, they keep pulling the leash. Chances are you may be walking too fast, and they just want to match pace.
It would be best to take the guidance of a professional trainer or obedience class that makes you fully equipped to train your dog.
Your pup moves round and round in circles around you:
Invite your dog near you, luring them with a treat. Reward them every time they move few steps towards you. Gradually, increase the treat time intervals to stop the process of rewards overall.
If they are too much of a puller, shorten the leash till they have no choice but to stay on one side. Reward them when they do.
Your pup lunges:
Try to redirect your pup’s attention to something else if he lunges towards another dog or animal outside. Maybe you can act more proactively? Increase the gap between your dog and their target before they even get the chance to lunge.
Stay cautious, and don’t let the target get too close. Generally, this type of behavior is observable in herding dog breeds. However, all dogs may panic when using a new gadget.
Your pup gets barky:
Often pups tend to bark a lot while outside or walking. It is primarily due to a lack of physical exercise. Make sure to provide ample mental and physical stimulation according to the age and breed of your pup.
However, if you still face any problems, follow the same tactic you did when lunging. Create a safe distance and reward them with treats before they get all barky. It ensures that the next time they see any targets, they draw their attention toward you.
Dogs are friendly pets. When you bring one home, you look after them like a family member and indulge them like others in the house. So, it is also your responsibility and concern to look after their mannerisms and safety.
While housetraining dogs can be easy or difficult depending on their age and breed, training all of them to walk on a leash is essential.
Now that you know how to train a dog to walk on a leash make sure you apply the methods to make your dog feel at home. Training them will also fantastically work for their safety.
Happy pet Parenting!