When you take your dog out for a walk, you would want them to be well behaved and easy to handle. Learning how to Leash Train a Dog can address this concern for you. Dogs do not naturally know how to walk on leash and you need to teach them this skill. Most dogs can learn good ‘leash behaviour’ with the right training. Let’s learn how to Leash Train a Dog and explore the hidden learning potential of your dog.
Introduce the Collar & Leash-
Once you decide to Leash Train Your Dog, start with the introduction process a few days or a week before. You need to create a positive environment so that your dog does not feel any stress. Before you put a collar and leash on them, let them sniff those well. Dogs do not identify an object by its name. They identify by the smell, the touch and by their experience whenever a new object is introduced to them.
Once you introduce the collar and leash to your dog and they sniff them curiously, praise them and offer a treat. Before putting on the collar on your dog make sure to repeat this exercise 3-5 times on the day of introduction. ( Continue this for 2-3 more days if needed).
When your dog is comfortable around the collar and leash, gently put the collar on them. Offer a treat again to build a solid foundation of positive reinforcement.
Start with Practicing Indoors-
After the introduction process is over, you need to begin with the next step i.e to make your dog walk on leash. Daily around a fixed time or during the playtime, put the leash on your dog and sit at a few metres distance. Call your dog by name or show them the treat in your hand. Once they approach you,offer a treat. Repeat this exercise for 2-3 times. This will tell your dog that whenever they are on leash and they respond to your call, a tasty piece of food comes their way.
Next step is to start walking a few steps inside the house. You can use a clicker training method here. Take small pieces of treats in hand and start walking with your pup on leash. As they take a few steps successfully, use the clicker and offer them a treat.
The next day when you start with this training exercise, do it in a different room or living area. This will make your dog comfortable in different environments and set ups. Try walking a few more steps and in different directions. Repeat the same exercise for 2-3 days to make sure your dog is comfortable walking on a leash inside the house.
Go for a Short Walk Outdoors-
Finally after about a week’s hard work, now it is time for you to test the progress of leash training while out in public place. Please remember that you may need to go slow here. Take small steps and offer treats frequently to encourage your dog to keep walking.During initial days of outdoor walk, try to avoid crowded places as it can be stressful for your dog. Try to explore your neighbourhood or a relatively quiet parks to begin with it.
Please remember that your surroundings in public places are not as calm as it was indoors. Your dog may feel some level of anxiety in such situation. You need to be very calm & careful here. Assure them with lots of praise and shower your love for every small step they take. Take a pause if it becomes too stressful.
Why Is It Important to Leash Train Your Dog?
The most important reason to Leash Train your dog is when you are out in public places there can be many restrictions. In some places,there can be rules that you cannot bring your dog along if they are not on a leash. The reason behind this is of course the safety of other people around you. Every dog is different and so is their temperament. Any unpleasant sound or event may trigger their behaviour. So to ensure the safety of both you and your dog as well as others around you, leash training is important.
How to stop leash pulling?
Many dogs especially the large breed dogs can be difficult to handle if they start pulling while walking on leash. It is not only an unpleasant experience for both of you, but also can be risky in crowded places or while crossing the road. So you need to learn how to discourage such behaviour. You need to be very firm and patient here. Stop walking the moment your dog starts to pull. Refuse to move at all start walking only once they calm down.
Dogs can be very stubborn in such situations and you need to be very firm with this. If you give up and start going with the flow then your dog will quickly learn that they just need to be stubborn to make you do what they want. Beat them in this to teach your dog that you do not appreciate such behaviour at all.
If your dog is larger in size and if they tend to pull on leash, you can consider using a Dog Harness instead of simple leash. It will help you to have a better control on you dog. It will also prevent your dog from getting hurt around their neckline due to excessive pressure from pulling.
How to avoid distractions?
There can be many distractions in public places. Your dog may get distracted with all those noises, people and other pets around them. You need to make sure that they stay focused by offering them treat after every few steps. This will encourage them to focus on the treats instead.
Remember: Whenever you start to teach anything new to your dog, it will take a good amount of time and efforts. They can not learn it overnight or just after a few repetitions. Get ready to devote sufficient time in the training process of your dog. Every dog (Be it a puppy or an adult dog) can learn new things with the right training and a positive approach. Please be patient with them throughout the training process. If you adopt an adult dog than it can be relatively difficult to train them. It may not necessarily be about their learning potential but about their past experiences, unidentified trauma or due to some other factor. Carefully study their behaviour if you face any difficulty while training them. Build a solid connection with your dog to have a better understanding of their behaviour. Success will be yours with a lot of patience and consistency.