I love working out, and part of that involves walking my dog. However, it’s been difficult trying to get my dog to stop pulling the leash. Although I got a few pointers from a dog walker, I decided to do some more research, and here’s everything I learned on how to leash train a dog.
Dogs travel hundreds of miles during their lifetime responding to such commands as "come" and "fetch." Stephen Baker
How can you leash train a dog? You can quickly master the art of leash training a dog is to commit yourself. Reward the dog for walking straight on a leash. Understand that this won’t happen within a day. You need to exercise patience.
When training your dog to stay under leash, it’s essential to introduce some rewards. Give your dog some treats when he does what you want to mark his good behavior. The longer your dog keeps the leash during the walks, the more rewards he gets. Allow the dog to sniff items that interest him to reward good behavior.
Read on to learn what factors make leash walking difficult, and some tips to consider to make leash training simpler.
What Makes Leash Walking Difficult?
It’s unnatural for dogs to get used to walking on a straight line. Dogs want to smell different things and chase after squirrels on the road. Another reason is that dogs oppose restraint. That means when you tighten the leash, and the collar pressed against the dog’s neck, the dog will naturally pull harder.
Random variable reinforcement may be another factor that could make leash walking difficult. That means a dog will practice the same habit repeatedly, and he may not give up even after some time.
Tips On How To Leash Train, A Dog
When learning how to leash train a dog, you need to:
Choose the right leash and collar
You need the right tools to get your dog walking on a leash. Most dog owners do not realize that there are various types of harnesses. Find a collar that fits your dog correctly. Understand that some collars are to discourage your dog from pulling. Some harnesses can hurt your dog if you misuse it.
Get a six-foot leash and collar. A regular flat buckle collar won’t work if your dog is in the habit of pulling. With this, you can be sure that the dog won’t slip out of the collar.
Allocate Enough Time for the Walk
You’ll notice that the first few minutes start disheveled as most dogs are excited about the walk, and do not have a long attention span. Allocate at least thirty minutes for each walk. Puppies need at least an hour outside to get used to the leash. If you don’t have enough time during the week, you can make time during the weekend.
Understand the Basic Commands for Leash Training
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Before you begin leash training, it’s essential to understand the basic commands like stay and come. Using these two commands will help your dog walk nicely on a leash. Stay allows your dog to stay calm and stand still for sometimes as you put on the leash and collar. You can also use “stay” when you want to wait somewhere before crossing the street.
Come means that the dog stops what he is doing and getting back to you. The command comes in handy when you need to prepare the dog for a walk if he’s somewhere else.
Keep it Short and Simple
After getting the right equipment, you need to get your dog accustomed and familiar to leash training. One way to do that is to attach the collar whenever your dog is in the garden. Try placing the collar when playing some games or performing some basic training.
As your dog gets used to wearing the collar for a shorter period, he may end up loving the leash time as it represents fun and rewards. What’s more, your dog will get used to the feeling of the leash. Make sure that the collar isn’t tight as this could irritate the dog and make it uncomfortable.
Expend the Dog’s Energy
You’ll realize it’s easier to leash train a dog that has less energy. Most dogs pull as they have energy, which makes them difficult to control. You can expend the strength by playing tug on your backyard or allowing the dog to run free in the park. A game of fetch will also exhaust your dog.
When playing in the park, you may want to put in a GPS to track your dog if he isn’t well trained. Your dog will enjoy having fun and will be more cooperative when leash training.
Bring Some Rewards
Training a dog to walk without pulling requires patience and rewards. Feed your dog a treat every time he masters the leash walk. Getting your dog’s favorite delights motivates him to talk more walks. Reward him every few steps at first. Increase this distance between treats until the dog gets used to the habit of walking without a reward.
Keep the Dog at Your Side
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While some people prefer to keep the dog in front, it’s best to keep him at your side to control direction. Dogs that walk behind or in front tend to sniff everything or wander off. You’ll notice that the route also prevents the leash from tangling underneath. Keep the dog close when training, but give more freedom as he walks in line frequently.
Most people prefer the left side, but you can choose what you’re comfortable with. The dog’s stride should follow yours, and not the other way. Remember that walks are also for socializing, consider it a success if your dog walks on a specific side for some minutes.
Integrate Short Training Sessions
Your dog doesn’t have a long attention span, do not expect to pique his interest for long. You can start with short walks around the yard or a park he knows. Later you can explore new areas after he’s mastered the leash. Short sessions in familiar places will nurture the habit.
When doing this, allow him to do his business. You’ll notice him wanting to relieve himself when going for a long walk. Give him more leash as he does his business, and reward him with treats or praise.
Find a Pace that Works for Both of You
Dogs are curious and want to explore different spots as you walk. They may also linger in their favorite places for a while. You need to find a pace that works for both of you. Remember that you don’t want him to lag or pull behind.
If your dog is struggling to get to keep up with your space, wait for him to get to you, and find a comfortable pace.
Understand that leash training takes effort, time, and patience. Be patient when training your dog, but be persistent in getting the results you want. Taking smaller steps will get you towards what you want to achieve in the end.
Leash Training Troubleshooting
You’re likely to run into some problems if this is the first time leash training your dog. Fortunately, these handy tips will come in handy when learning how to leash train a dog.
If the dog pulls in the opposite direction, stand still and do not move until he comes back. Avoid jerking or yanking the leash. Also, do not drag him along. You can opt for head halters or front-hook harness as they work well for dogs that tend to pull.
Sometimes the dog may bark when you’re taking a walk with him. The behavior may be due to lack of exercise before the walk. Ensure that you play some games on your backyard to make sure that the dog receives the right amount of physical and mental stimulation. If this doesn’t work, give him some treats to prevent barking. Reduce the treats you offer and watch how your dog behaves during the walk.
Some dogs have a habit of lunging when going after a specific target. You can prevent this by offering a treat to redirect his attention. It’s essential to be prepared before his target gets close to keep him on the leash.
Avoid reward pulling or loose lead walking. Only reward him when he’s walking nicely by your side. Also, do not punish him when he pulls. You should focus on positive reinforcement to make leash training effective. Do not forget to be consistent and follow-through. With time, you’ll have an enjoyable time with your dog.
To get your dog to walk on a leash requires patience, consistency, and rewards. You can start with regular short walks with different directions and routine. Once your dog gets used to the leash, you can take him on a loose leash in places with more distractions. With time, you’ll enjoy having a dog that doesn’t pull and walks on a leash.