Many people believe that dogs are born to walk politely on a leash, but this is a skill that they must learn. It’s a crucial ability to instill and one you’ll appreciate every time you take your dog for a walk. If you want to know how to train your dog to walk on a leash, the following steps will help you get started:
Step 1: Introduce the Collar or Harness during Puppyhood
Begin by allowing your dog to become accustomed to wearing a collar or harness as well as a leash. Allow your dog to wear a collar around the house for brief amounts of time while you play with them and give them goodies. Because food and enjoyment are associated with collar-and-leash time, your puppy will learn to be excited at the sight of it.
Step 2: Create and Reinforce a Cue
Introduce your puppy to a sound cue that says, “pay attention!”. Some people use their hands or cluck their tongue, while others use a verbal cue like “watch”. Associating a certain cue with a reward will help your puppy become alert and give you all their attention.
The method is the same regardless of whatever approach you use: Make the sound in a quiet, distraction-free place with the dog on a leash and collar.
Reward your dog with a goodie the moment he turns toward you or looks at you. After a few repetitions, your dog will not only stare at you but approach you for the treat.
Step 3: Practice the “Come” Command
Now that your puppy knows when you want their attention, practice “come”. While you hold their leash, back up a few feet as your puppy comes to you and then reward them when they arrive. Continue the progression until your puppy comes to you and walks a few paces with you after hearing the cue noise. Over time, your dog will grow familiar with the leash and associate it with rewards.
Keep in mind that puppies have a limited attention span, so keep training lessons brief and end them when your puppy is still ready to learn more, rather than when he is mentally exhausted.
Step 4: Start Practicing With the Leash Indoors
Now, it’s time to practice with the leash. Affix the leash to your puppy’s collar, and practice taking a few steps in a room with little distractions as your puppy comes to you. It will be enough of a challenge for them to feel and see the leash around them. Reward your furry friend with treats and praise as they become accustomed to approaching you while on a leash. Practicing both with and without holding the leash can be beneficial as it’ll train your puppy to come even when you aren’t on the other end of the rope.
Step 5: Take the Practice Outdoors
Finally, it’s time to put your puppy’s skills to the test in the great outdoors. This step will present new obstacles for your puppy because all of the sounds, scents, and sights they see will be fascinating and unfamiliar to them. Be patient and take short walks at first.
Make your cue sound and move a few steps away if your puppy appears to be going to lunge toward anything or is about to become distracted while you’re out walking (you’ll notice this since you’ll be keeping your eyes on them). Then, reward them for a treat for following you.
Don’t Be So Hard on Your Dog! Take One Step at a Time!
Whether you’ve recently adopted a puppy or need to retrain a pull-happy dog, it can take some time for your companion to walk alongside you. That does not, however, imply that training your dog must be a chore. Leash training may be a fun way to bond with your dog as well as a comprehensive training experience.
Learn more about dog obedience training on our website. Check out our blogs, stay diligent with our tips, and you and your dog will be able to walk side-by-side in no time!