There are occasionally dog owners that do not need to leash train their dog because they live in such a remote place. But generally, even well-behaved dogs need to be leash trained. Being leash trained is important for things like going on walks, going to the pet store, travel with your dog, visiting a friend’s home, or more. Many new dog owners mistakenly think that leash training your dog is as simple as attaching the leash to your dog’s collar and heading on your way. The reality is, it is far more complicated than that but proper leash training early on can lead to a happy dog and dog owner down the road.
Any time you are approaching training of any kind with your dog, it is important to do so with patience. For some, leash training is very easy and for others it can be a challenging and occasionally frustrating experience. One of the most important things you can do is choose the correct collar and leash for your dog. Head to your local pet store and you will see what we are talking about – there are tons of options! What you choose will depend on the size of your dog, age of your dog, and personality type. If your dog is a puppy, get an adjustable collar that can grow with them. A basic, flat collar is great for dogs but if you have a dog with a short-nose such as a Pug, Boston Terrier or other small breed, you may want a harness collar to prevent damaging your dog’s trachea. Next, invest in either a fixed-length leash or an adjustable-length leash in a material of your choosing. Generally, a fixed-length leash is ideal for initial leash training and once your dog has learned how to properly loose-leash walk, you can introduce the adjustable-length leash.
When training begins, most dogs are prone to pulling on the leash and dragging the walker but that is not ideal for your dog’s health. It may be tempting to yank your dog back by the leash but do not do this. Walking on a leash goes against a dog’s natural instinct so to prevent a dog from pulling on the leash while walking, it is important that you do not allow your dog to pull at all. Even if your dog is a young puppy, do not allow them to pull on the leash. First, do not use leash training time as part of your dog’s daily exercise. Until your dog learns to walk on a leash without pulling, any time on the leash should be training time. Make sure you exercise your dog thoroughly so that they do not have boundless energy once they are on the leash. Walk at a brisk pace or consider jogging at the beginning so that your dog will be less tempted to tug on the leash. Carry small rewards with you so that when your dog is successful on the leash and does not pull, you can give them plenty of rewards. If you teach your dog from the outset that pulling on the leash will not get them where they want to go, they will learn quickly to be patient. Attempt to have them stand next to you and wait to take a single step until you take a step. If they do this with control, reward with praise and treats. In the process of training, if your dog tries to get ahead of you or pull on the leash, come to a complete stop until your dog returns to your side. Remember, it takes baby steps and lots of attention to achieve proper leash training but the end reward will be profound!