Leash Training: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk Without Pulling?
Many people think that dogs naturally know how to walk obediently on a leash. However, the reality is far from the truth! Leash training is one of the basic puppy training skills you need to teach your dog. It is challenging but definitely worthwhile and fun in the end.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Before You Begin
Having the right Dog training aids is essential when it comes to training your dog to walk on a leash. Once you get the equipment, it is also a good idea to let your dog get accustomed to wearing the same around the house before taking him outside.
The basic items you will need to train your dog includes a collar and a leash. Keep a good supply of special treats ready to praise good behaviour when you start walking on the leash training.
Collar for Leash Training
Most dog owners begin with a standard collar. This is your basic style of collar and is a great fit for all breeds. However, certain varieties of collar and harness come in very handy during the training period. This includes:
- Back Harness – Specifically developed for small breeds, the back harness restraints the pooches from slipping out of the collar. If you have a very feisty dog, we recommend getting this style to prevent airway damage if the dog pulls on the leash frequently. See below for details, click image for more information.
- Martingale Collar – Another collar for over energetic dogs, the martingale collar, has a double loop. When your four-legged companion pulls when walking on a leash, the loop tightens – preventing it from escaping. And don’t worry; it only tightens just enough to make them uncomfortable. See the demo below and check out the link to buy.
- Head Halter – A collar that you don’t see every day is a head halter. The collar comes with a special strap that fastens around the dog’s nose, while another one goes around its head. This keeps the dog from following its nose and keeps them under your control. See the details below and click image for more details.
The leash can be either rope styled or like a flat band. They are available in different colours, sizes, and materials.
When picking out a leash, the main thing to remember is that the leash should be sturdy and durable. Your grasp on the leash should also be firm so that it doesn’t slip from your hand if the dog pulls.
Walking on a Leash
As we mentioned above, begin leash training the dog by giving him time to get used to the collar and leash. Let him wear it around the house – under supervision of course. Give him lots of treats and praises alongside.
Teach a Cue
If he’s not familiar with cues, introduce your dog to whichever cue you’ll be using. The cue will get his attention and knowing the cue will not only help while walking outside but also encourage good behaviour.
When leash training a dog or puppy, most people use different methods for the ‘cue.’ Most people just cluck their tongues in a way that is specifically targeted for their furry friend while there are some that use words like ‘yes.’ Clickers are also available at the local pet store and work for dogs of any size and age.
Take your dog to a distraction-free area and make the ‘cue’ sound you decided on. As soon as your dog turns to look at you, reward him with a treat. Constantly practice the same in different areas until you find your dog mastering the skill.
Take a Walk Indoors
Now that your dog understands when to look or come to you, so practice walking with a leash inside the house. This will help your dog become familiar with the leash and collar in a familiar and non-distracting environment.
If your dog behaves while leash training and doesn’t pull, reward him with treats.
Continue this for a few days or until you feel your dog is comfortable and is used to the equipment.
Move Outdoors to continue Leash Training
Finally, you are ready to take your dog outside. This will be a great challenge as your four-legged companion will encounter new sights, sounds, and smells in the great outdoors. So keep your walks short and in your local area initially.
During the walk, if you find your dog pulling or lunging towards something – don’t reciprocate the same way by pulling the dog back. Instead, just give a quick pop on the leash and make the cue sound. If your dog stops and turns towards you, give him a treat immediately and gently pat him.
Continue taking your dog for walks in different areas. In the beginning, keep the walks short and in a location with fewer distractions before gradually going to populated places. As the dog becomes accustomed to the walks, slowly replace the treats with praises and more pats.
Things to Remember when Leash Training your puppy
Here are some final tips to help you overcome any problem you may encounter and make the leash training a breeze.
- Stay alert during the walks and keep your focus on the dog at all times.
- Dogs often bark at passing dogs, cars, and even people. This behaviour sometimes indicates that your dog is nervous about his surroundings and is feeling insecure. Try changing your location until he becomes used to going outside. Sound out the cue to make him stop. You can even challenge the dog a little closer to the other dogs to see if they are playful or aggressive through the barking.
- If, when leash training your dog he starts to lag behind you on the walks, don’t pull or try to drag him along. Instead, pause and offer words of encouragement, and then continue talking and confidently begin to walk. Distracted by your voice and confident manner he should start to pick up the pace. However, if your puppy is unusually slow, do check if he is feeling alright.
- Walk at a quick confident pace.
- This should go without saying but don’t be aggressive with the dog, never shout or lose patience with him, he’s still a learner.
Above all, show leadership by letting the dog know that pulling is not acceptable – even the first time, but that walking well at your side gains rewards.
Ready to start Leash Training your dog?
As you can see, leash training your dog or puppy is not that difficult. All you need is some patience and a consistent routine. Keep encouraging the dog and reward good behaviour. With time, the dog will learn how to walk on a leash and make your walks fun and enjoyable– as they should be! You can start your puppy recall training.