The dog leash. When used properly, it can be a very functional tool used with your four-legged family member. For new and old dog owners, how to leash train a dog the right way is a basic and useful skill.
Dogs are not aware of how to initially walk properly on a leash – but with a little time, effort, and consistency, it is very possible to leash train a dog the right way.
It’s vital to put in the extra work in the beginning to reap the benefits of taking walks with your canine best friend. Whether you’re about to become a puppy parent or need some guidance on leash training, let’s dig into how to leash train a dog the right way!
Go Shopping For the Right Leash
The first step in leash training a dog the right way is to go shopping. The leash aisle may seem a bit intimidating with the many options that are out there today, but don’t be discouraged! Here are a few different types of dog leashes you may want to become familiar with before you make the decision.
- The standard dog leash. This type of leash is your basic, run-of-the-mill dog leash that you probably think of when you imagine a dog walking beside its owner. The standard dog leash is sold in a solid or braided piece of material, which is typically nylon, and a range of length from 4 to 8 feet.
- Retractable dog leash. This type of dog leash is known to be controversial due to the limited control it offers. The retractable dog leash is not recommended for dogs who are not properly leash trained; however, they can be a good fit for dogs who are well-behaved on the leash.
- Adjustable dog leash. With a range of 3 to 6 feet, the adjustable dog leash is ideal for people who crave the desire for the flexibility of retractable leashes and the control of a standard leash.
There are a few types of materials to consider when deciding the right type of dog leash. What does this exactly mean? While nylon is the most popular dog leash material due to its inexpensive and durable nature, it’s not the only type.
For dog owners willing to shell out more money and who seek a higher-quality material, a leather leash may be the right fit. There are also chain leashes, which can be used if your dog is a real heavy chewer, but it’s best to make sure that your dog is first properly leash trained.
- 6 ft. leashes are the most common size – this is perfect for those neighborhood strolls and less traffic areas. It also allows your canine best friend the opportunity to explore and doesn’t leave so much slack.
- 4 ft. leashes are ideal for high traffic areas – in situations where you know the area will be highly crowded, the 4 feet leash offers your dog the ability to roam while remaining safe.
- 8-10 ft. leashes are perfect for training – with the ability to allow more distance between you and your pup, this leash size is recommended for training.
The Helpful Harness
Instead of your pooch wearing a collar, you may want to consider a harness as a way to maintain more control.
Aside from a harness being a smart training tool for puppies, it is also great for large dogs to gain better control and is also easier on your arms and back, according to American Kennel Club.
Other benefits of a dog harness include:
- Less pulling
- Reduces pressure on small dogs – which results in less strain on their neck and back
- Pulls up a dog gently after they get up – doesn’t cause any unneeded pain or discomfort
- Perfect for dogs who wiggle out of their collars!
How To Leash Train A Dog The Right Way
Now that you went shopping for your properly fitted leash, you can begin to train your dog how to walk on the leash the right way.
- Introduce your dog to the harness/collar and leash. Let your four-legged pal know that the leash is a positive experience; put it on for short periods while in the house while you play and give her treats.
- Practice inside first. Along with introducing the leash indoors, it’s ideal to practice inside the confines of your four walls, first. After your dog graduates walking a few steps indoors on his leash, it’s time to venture outdoors.
- Teach your dog a cue. Cues such as telling your dog “yes”, clicking your tongue, or by using the click and treat method, choose a cue that will help you and your dog communicate while she is on the leash.
- Take the leash outdoors. Make that first walk short – there will be a lot of distractions so be patient and observe your dog. If she is about to lunge for something, use your cue, move a few steps back, and offer a treat.
- Walk right by your side. Make sure your dog walks right on you one specific side. A dog that consistently weaves back and forth makes a walk a little less fun!
The Ultimate Leash Troubleshoot
It’s not always fun and games when it comes to leash training and you’re bound to run into a hiccup or two. As reported by the AKC! GoodDog! Helpline, here are a few tips on what to do if you experience trouble while leash training.
- A pulling pup. Possibly the most frustrating problem of walking a dog is the pulling that can coincide with it. When your dog pulls in the other direction, try the “tree method” – stand very still and refuse to move until your dog comes back to you.
- Do not yank or jerk the leash. It can seem tempting as a way to direct your dog back to you but resist the urge to yank or jerk the dog leash. As recommended by American Kennel Club, front-hook harnesses and head halters are alternative training tools designed for dogs that tend to pull.
- A lunging pup. If your dog insists to constantly lunge at distractions while on a stroll, be proactive. Before the lunge happens, distract your dog with a treat
- A barking pup. A barking dog on a leash can be slightly unnerving. Insistent barking while on a walk may be the result of a lack of stimulation – either from physical or mental – so make sure your pup is getting the proper amount for its age and breed. Before your dog begins to bark, create distance and offer a yummy treat.
- A pup that weaves back and forth. If you find your dog won’t stay on one side, lure her with a treat. The moment your dog takes a step in the right direction, offer praise and reward; you will want to repeat this every time while slowly increasing the time between treats. Eventually, he will no longer need to be rewarded.
With The Right Tools, It’s Possible To Leash Train A Dog The Right Way!
Walking your canine companion in peace is what every dog parent longs for. It doesn’t have to be all pulling, barking, and frustration – your dog can learn to walk alongside you in harmony.
With the proper leash, training, and some patience, how to leash train a dog the right way can literally be a walk in the park!