I remember how hard it was to teach my first big dog that walking on a leash was beneficial for both of us. I didn’t have to worry about him dodging out in front of a car and he was allowed to go in new areas that he normally would have otherwise been off-limits. These 7 tips on teaching your dog to walk on a leash should help you to avoid dislocated shoulders and from having your dog strangle himself as he tries to avoid being cooperative.
1. Give Him Time to Get Used to the Leash
Some dogs might take to walking with a leash as if they were born with one attached to their collar. There are always the few that freak out and try to lay down when a leash is being used to guide them. I had a puppy that would actually throw herself upside down, forcibly, each time I tried to get her to walk with a leash on. Thankfully we worked through this fiasco! Leave the leash attached to your dog in the house and monitor his behavior. Soon he will learn that if the leash is in your hand, he gets to go for a walk.
2. Don’t Yank on the Leash
I’ve seen people become overly frustrated with their dog and start jerking on the leash. This will only scare the dog and making walking on a leash a lot less enjoyable. You can give a light tug and say, ‘Let’s go’, so that he knows it’s time to quit sniffing the neighbor’s mailbox, but try not to quickly yank on his leash. Pulling him out from in front of a passing car is a completely different situation and might call for a quick pull on the leash.
3. Use Tasty Treats
Most dogs will do anything for a treat. My husky saw that the lab would get treats each time he sat down on command and began doing this all on her own. Treats can also be used for leash training as well. Keep some in your pocket when taking your dog for a walk. I put the treats in the pocket on the same side as my dog. This causes her to constantly smell the treats and stay close by. Offer your dog a treat whenever he is walking along nicely.
4. Try anti-pulling Devices
There are special leashes and harnesses made for dogs that constantly pull against the leash when they are taken for a walk. One type of leash attaches to a loop that loosely wraps around the dog’s muzzle. When the dog begins to pull too hard on the leash, this causes his snout to be pulled to the left or the right. Dogs like to look straight ahead, so having their head pulled off to the side is often irritating enough to make them learn that pulling on the leash equals irritation for them.
5. Use Commands when Walking
To keep your dog from pulling you down the road, teach him to not begin walking until a command is given. I use the command ‘Let’s go’ when it’s time to start walking. The same command is used when she begins to dally too long in the grass. If I feel her start to slow down and she acts like she is about to begin sniffing something, I say ‘On by’ and give a slight tug. These both are commands used in dog sledding and I’ve gotten to respond to them nicely, even though she doesn’t pull sleds.
6. Practice Daily
Like with most things, teaching your dog to walk with a leash can take time. You can start off with a little bit of walking each day, in order to ease your dog into this new experience. The more your dog walks with a leash, the easier it will be. My mom’s dog knows he can’t go outside without a leash, so he will fetch the leash on his own when he wants to go out.
7. Don’t Let Your Dog Walk You
Walking the dog and being drug around the park by him are two different things. One method can be enjoyable for both of you while the other is only fun for one; your dog. Try taking unexpected turns when walking or turning around and walking in the opposite direction. It’s best for your dog to learn to walk wherever you go, instead of thinking you are to walk where he wants you to.
These 7 tips on teaching your dog to walk on a leash can prove useful over time. Hopefully you are having success with leash training your dog. I’ve been lucky enough to have very responsive dogs and little difficulty. Can you think of another useful tip to use for training dogs to walk with a leash?