How To Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash
Learning how to train your dog to walk on a leash can make walks an enjoyable experience for you and your dog instead of a constant pulling battle. Giving your dog an incentive to walk calmly with you is the key to accomplishing this. Keep initial training sessions short but fun, and slowly build up the time your dog spends on a leash.
To train your dog to walk on a leash, you'll need:
- Pouch or bag of treats
- Select a collar and leash. Leashes that are four or six-feet long are the ideal choices when leash training. Don’t use extendable leashes or ones longer than six feet. Use a regular collar that buckles or snaps securely. Don’t use collars that cause physical harm, such as prong collars, choke collars or pinch collars.
- Introduce the leash. If your dog hasn’t walked on a leash before, you’ll need to let him become familiar with it before taking him out. Attach the leash to his collar, hold the leash loosely and let him sniff it. Don’t let him chew on it or play with it. Give him a treat if he behaves calmly.
- Use rewards and a verbal command. Keep a pouch or bag full of bite-size treats available when you go out. Have your dog stand to the left of you and hold several treats in your left hand in front of his nose. Say “walk” or “let’s go” and begin moving. Wait a few seconds then give your dog a treat if he walks at the same pace as you. Continue walking and rewarding him every few seconds as long as he doesn’t pull ahead. Stop walking and have your dog sit for a few seconds if he does pull.
- Increase leash time. As your dog gets used to walking calmly on a leash, have him walk for longer periods of time before being rewarded. Increase the time gradually. Let your hand rest at your side instead of holding it in front of his nose. When your dog can walk without pulling at all, you can stop rewarding him with treats.
Tips and Warnings:
Bring treats that are highly appealing for your dog. He might be too distracted to want regular dog treats. Try bite-size pieces of fully cooked chicken, hot dogs or cheese.
Exercise your dog before going out for walks. Letting him burn off energy before putting him on a leash will make him less likely to pull during walks.
Have your dog sit while you put on his leash. If you let him jump around, he’ll continue to act excited when you take him out.
No-pull harnesses and head collars or harnesses discourage dogs from pulling. Never yank the leash if your dog is wearing this type of device, since this could cause serious injury.
Don’t yell at your dog or use physical punishment, such as hitting or yanking the leash, if he pulls.