Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Anonymous, Lynn, Alma and 1 other

One of the primary tasks of dog owners is to teach their dogs to walk on a leash. This is a major step in promoting discipline in the life of your furry companion. The leash should not be seen as a constricting, abusive tool. It is merely used to control your dog. When you walk your dog, you should walk primarily with the help of a leash do that your dog can immediately recognize that you want him or her to be by your side at all times. Mastering the dog walk takes effective leash training. Once you train your dog to walk on a leash, you will be able to walk anywhere without the leash anymore. While still on a leash, you should always be in control, for your safety and for your dog's safety. Just remember that during any kind of training, you should have patience and persistence. Let your dog know that you won't give up and you will earn their respect.

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Significance of Leash Training

The leash is often seen as a tool for making your dog a better companion during walks. It helps you control your fur baby. However, it should not be limited to keeping your dog close to you and just letting your dog walk in any manner. Leash training involves manners. Once your dog recognizes the manners of walking with a leash, they will be able to obey you more and become safer while you venture outside your home. You should always keep in mind that your dog should not take over by pulling on the leash. Pulling can be a detrimental habit, especially if the handler is disabled or if there are obstacles such as stairs and ongoing traffic.

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Basically, leash training is a primer for walking your dog without a leash. When your dog is off leash, you can very well say that you have done your job at making your dog well-mannered, leash or no leash. By then, you will be able to bring your companion to dog parks and dog beaches. You can enjoy your dog's company without the fear of having a runaway or a lost dog to worry about. It all starts with proper leash training. Start as early as two months and you will be all set.

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Considerations in Training your Dog to Walk on a Leash Without Pulling

Keep in mind the following considerations when it comes to teaching your dog to walk on a leash without pulling:

  1. 1
    Methods of training vary for every dog.
    There is no fixed method in teaching your dog not to pull.
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  2. 2
    Think of your walks as training sessions.
    Make your walks daily and fun.
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  3. 3
    Subject your dog to other forms of exercise until walking on a loose leash is learned.
    You should do this to drain your dog's energy before your loose leash training session. Pulling is mainly caused by pent up energy. So help your dog release that energy first before you conduct your loose leash training.
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  4. 4
    Be ready with treats that your dog loves.
    Healthy and delicious treats are very helpful in making loose leash walking a positive experience for your dog. Make your treats small and easy to dispense and consume.
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  5. 5
    Make sure that you walk quickly.
    When you walk fast, your dog will not have the chance to explore the ground, stop, or do anything else. If you move quickly, your dog will find you more enticing to follow.
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  6. 6
    Relax before the loose leash walk or training.
    Pulling is also caused by over excitement. To prevent this, you should relax your dog and yourself first. Do not put on the leash or start the session until your dog's paws are on the ground and ready.
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How to Train your Dog to Walk on a Leash without Pulling

Below are effective techniques to train your dog to walk on a leash properly without pulling:

  1. 1
    Start training while young.
    If you are fortunate enough to acquire your dog as a puppy, start immediately. It is best to leash train as you potty train. Place a leash on your puppy when it is time to go out for bathroom duties. Remember to give a treat for each step taken with the leash. Bathroom time is also associated with the leash and this is a positive thing. The reward for walking on a leash will be the bathroom break.
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  2. 2
    Familiarize your dog with the collar.
    Give a reward to your dog every time you put on or remove the collar. This will help your dog think that anything around the neck is a good thing and not something that restricts or gives pain. Never forcefully put on the leash.
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  3. 3
    Familiarize your dog with the leash.
    Present the leash properly by allowing your dog to smell it before you attach it. Once your dog is done smelling the leash, attach it to the collar. You should not force the leash onto your dog or you will have a hard time walking your dog with it.
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  4. 4
    The "Stop and Go" method.
    This is simple and effective. It's a method wherein you can train your dog to walk with a leash without pulling you.  
    1. Put on the leash on your dog calmly.
    2. Walk in the direction you want. When your dog starts to walk ahead and pull, stop immediately.
    3. Wait for your dog to stop, turn, and come back to you. This will give the leash the slack that you want. Reward your dog once this is done.
    4. Make sure that your dog always walks along your side (left or right).
    5. Repeat this every time you walk. Have patience.
    6. You will notice that your dog will be stopping frequently each time you walk with the leash. Give treats every time your dog does this so that he won't pull. This is only during the early stages of the training. Eventually, your dog will learn not to pull by forming habit and not because of the treats.
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  5. 5
    Entice and Walk Method.
    This technique needs you to have a ton of treats and great timing.  
    1. Load your left of right hand with treats cut up into small pieces.
    2. Position your dog on your side and let the nose sniff on the treats.
    3. Tell your dog your signal for walking ("Let's go", "Come on"). The moment your dog walks, pop a small treat into his or her mouth.
    4. Repeat this for a few days or a few weeks. Be patient. Make sure you always load up with treats.
    5. Eventually, stop dispensing treats from your hand. Just stand with your arm and hand loose on your side. Then, tell your dog to walk.
    6. Give treats for walking from your treat pouch or pocket.
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  6. 6
    The Return Method.
    This method should only be used if your dog is not wearing a prong collar, a pinch collar, or a choke collar.  
    1. Attach a gentle collar and leash to your dog.
    2. Start walking.
    3. Once your dog pulls, turn back to where you started. This could take a long time, so you have to be patient and persistent.
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  7. 7
    Correcting the Collar Method.
    Jerking your dog's collar can be helpful in correcting the pulling habit while walking. Make sure that your dog is wearing a regular collar in this method.  
    1. Walk your dog.
    2. When your dog starts to walk head or pulls, jerk the leash back. Do not pull it.
    3. Use quick force to do the jerk.
    4. If you have a big dog, use more force. Use less force if you have a small dog or you'll end up with a flying lure at the end of the leash.
    5. Reward once your dog heeds your correction.
    6. Careful with the jerking or you will damage your dog's neck.
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Choosing the Appropriate Walking Tool

Before you start walking with your dog, it is best for you to find out which tool could work best for the two of you. Here are some of the choices to consider:

  • Snap or buckle collar
  • Harness (anti-pull)
  • Head collar or head halter (also called a snoot loop)
  • Martingale collar (also called a greyhound collar or limited slip collar)
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You should use these tools in teaching your dog not to pull while walking. They should be associated with not pulling you while they walk. If you just use them on your dog without training, then they will be as ineffective as letting your dog pull on the leash each time.

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Undesirable tools would be the regular body harness (encourages your dog to pull), a prong or pinch collar, a check collar, or a choke collar. However, these tools may be effective if they are used by a professional dog trainer.

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What if Your Dog Refuses to Walk on a Leash?

Not all dogs are accepting of the leash while walking. They could just stop in their tracks or turn back home. These dogs are fearful and it's your responsibility to make walking on a leash a positive experience. Below are tips on how you can deal with dog that refuses to walk on a leash:

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  1. 1
    Entice your dog with treats.
    Your dog's fear of walking on a leash can be overcome with your delicious morsels, which can help make the experience easier.
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  2. 2
    The moment your dog stops walking, stop in front and wait.
    The moment your dog moves towards you, reward it with a treat. Move some more and when your dog follows you, reward your dog again. Keep doing this until your dog becomes comfortable walking on a leash with you.
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  3. 3
    If your dog refuses to walk continuously, a harness will be helpful.
    You can carry your dog a few feet to help your dog walk a few feet with you. When your dog moves, reward with a treat.
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  4. 4
    Choose a quiet path to walk with your dog.
    When your dog becomes confident enough, you can then start walking on busy streets.
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  5. 5
    Make your dog forget about the fear of walking on a leash by performing tricks.
    Your dog will eventually move forward. Reward when this happens.
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  6. 6
    Hang out in public places with your dog.
    Comfort your dog by talking and giving treats before finally walking with the leash.
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You can walk with your dog on a leash no matter how difficult it may be. Just have the persistence and the patience to do so.

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Tips

  • Know the treats your dog likes the most.
  • Practice walking on a regular basis so that your dog can be conditioned to walk on a leash.
  • Never pull your dog to walk using the leash. This will hurt your dog's neck and he will refuse to walk again.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Alma, Lynn, Anonymous

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