Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

Perhaps you’ve just welcomed a puppy or adult dog into your home, and you’re excited to have a walking buddy. You and your new companion will both benefit from the daily physical activity, but the harsh reality of dog training or puppy training can set in fast when you realize your four-legged pal was not innately equipped to walk politely on a leash.

If you’ve ever seen a dog lose itself in excitement over the jingle of a harness or the sight of a leash, you may have assumed that all dogs just “know” how to walk on-leash, at least to some extent. While some may pick it up easier than others, the best approach to achieving enjoyable walks with your dog is to train them as soon as possible. In this post, we’ll help you learn the basic methods of leash-training your puppy or dog. While it may be easier to teach a puppy, the fundamental tips should work for dogs of all ages if you are patient and persistent.

Pick An Appropriate Collar (Or Harness) And Leash

To begin, determine the best collar and leash combination for your dog. Make sure the collar or harness fits correctly with the help of a dog trainer, online resources, or a knowledgeable pet store associate. You may find that a harness distributes weight more appropriately on your dog’s body; if your pup turns out to be a puller, it can be a good choice to lessen the strain on his neck and throat.

Ensure the leash is of the appropriate style and length for your dog’s breed. Pick a reliable material with a sturdy attachment hook. It may be a good idea to avoid retractable leashes due to reliability risks, such as the thin cord breaking or the lock mechanism failing. A traditional leash is the safest choice.

Gently Introduce The Collar/Harness And Leash

Start by letting your pup wear the harness and leash while indoors. This allows them to get familiar with the sensation of wearing the harness and feeling the slight weight of the leash. Practice getting your pup to come to you, and reward them when they arrive. Keep sessions short, and be sure to end when your dog is still a willing participant, not after they become disinterested or frustrated.

Follow A “Slack Or Stop” Approach During Walks

When you first venture outdoors with your dog on-leash, setting the standards early will make all the difference in how quickly your pup picks up walking etiquette. Your main goal is to teach your dog that walking calmly by your side is the best experience for both of you.

To do this, remember “slack or stop”: if at any time your dog pulls, lunges, weaves, or does anything to remove the slack in the leash, stop dead in your tracks. Don’t pull back, yank the leash, or react to your dog’s behavior; you should act like a statue.

Stand your ground, but again, don’t pull back on the leash. After a bit, your dog should realize that a tight leash means the fun is over. When they return to your side, reward them with a treat and praise.

Be Persistent And Consistent When Walking Your Dog

Your dog isn’t the only one who can get burned out from training. It can be frustrating if your pup isn’t picking up walking on-leash easily, but try to stay positive and intentional with the training. If you find yourself scrambling to get a walk in at the end of the day, creating a schedule can help both you and your dog ease into a routine. The more consistent and patient you are with your dog, the more likely it is that they will learn that a polite walk is a fun walk.

Helpful Tips

  • Avoid pulling or yanking on your dog’s leash even if they pull forward
  • If your dog pulls, stop where you are until they return to your side
  • Consistently reward good behavior (walking calmly by your side)
  • Hold the leash low by your hips
  • Be mindful of the temperatures of the surfaces your dog walks on
  • Bring water and clean-up bags for your dog

Final Thoughts On Teaching Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

Consistent training is an integral part of caring for your dog. When your dog behaves well, both of you can enjoy a more positive relationship with each other. It can be tempting to allow your dog to indulge in poor leash behavior, or simply to give up on walks altogether. If you’re struggling to leash-train your dog or accomplish other obedience training goals, call the experienced trainers at 360 K9 Training in Dallas. We help take the stress out of training your dog by guiding the process and giving you the tools you need to continue enforcing positive behavior in the long run. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!