How does your dog walk on a leash? Is it pleasant or is your dog pulling you around? Who is walking who? Keep reading to find out how to teach a dog to walk on a leash.
From a dog’s point of view, walking on a leash is not natural. Unless your dog has received training in the past, you will have to teach your dog to walk on a leash.
Teach Your Dog
You will teach your dog what you expect from them when they are on the leash. Be patient and expect an adjustment period for your dog.
Keep your leash training sessions short and often, in the beginning. Carry some small treats along with you to reward your dog for their positive behavior. Soft treats work well as they are easy to eat.
Before you begin a leash training session, enjoy some playtime with your dog to allow them to expel energy. This will put your dog in a calmer state and ready for learning.
To be consistent, you will walk your dog on the same side of you every time you go for a walk. Decide which side you want your dog to walk on and stick to it.
When you are walking your dog, keep the leash short but not tight, with your dog beside you. Keeping the leash short will give you more control over your dog’s movements.
Don’t allow your dog to walk ahead of you, keep them beside you or behind you as you are the pack leader. The pack leader leads and you are the pack leader, not your dog. Be the alpha dog!
Because you are keeping the leash short, if your dog tries to go ahead of you they will feel the resistance of the leash.
Pulling on the Leash
If your dog pulls on the leash during a walk, stop immediately and be patient. Stand still until your dog allows slack on the leash. When your dog turns towards you and allows the leash some slack, give them a treat.
Then continue on your walk and repeat as often as necessary. Each time it happens, your dog is learning not to pull on the leash. Patience and consistency are very important.
Another method is to stop when your dog pulls on the leash and turn around facing the opposite direction. When your dog turns towards you and allows slack in the leash give them a treat and start walking again. Repeat as often as necessary.
Keep a Good Pace
Don’t walk slowly, keep a good pace with your dog to reduce the chance for your dog to stop and smell or relieve themselves.
Talk to your dog as you walk and praise them when they are walking properly. Keep a happy upbeat attitude and make it fun for both of you.
Allow a Sniff Session
Give your dog a break during your walk allowing your dog to sniff around and relieve themselves. Keep the leash slack during each break and allow them to investigate the area.
Puppies will begin by getting used to wearing a collar or harness first. Show your puppy the collar or harness and let them investigate it for a while. Then place it on your puppy while they are eating or playing, when your puppy is distracted.
It will feel awkward to them at first. If your puppy scratches at the collar, distract them with a toy so they will forget about the collar.
Once your puppy is used to the collar or harness, introduce them to the leash and allow them to investigate it. Then attach the leash to the collar or harness and allow your puppy to run around with the leash attached.
Supervise your puppy closely with the leash attached to be sure they don’t get hung on something and hurt themselves. Then, pick up the leash and call your puppy to come to you. Don’t pull on the leash, encourage your puppy to come to you on it’s on and give a small treat.
When going for your first walk, don’t try to get your puppy to walk by your side. They need to have time to process all of this new information. Be patient and remain calm.
Remember to take frequent short walks as training sessions and be patient, consistent, and have fun. Talk to your dog in an upbeat voice and give lots of praise when they are walking properly.
Feel free to leave a comment or share a story about your dog below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.