How to Teach Your Dog to Walk with a Leash
Although it’s easier to teach a puppy to walk with a leash, adult dogs can learn too. In either case, the important thing is to have lots of patience and to not give up. Successful training depends on the owner’s constancy and commitment, rather than the pet’s abilities. Learn more in this article.
Steps to teach your dog to walk with a leash
It might take you some time, and you should practice every day until he learns. If you only do it once per week, the animal might forget the previous lesson. Pay attention to these steps in order to teach your dog to walk with a leash:
1. Choose a leash and a collar
Don’t take this fundamental task lightly. For starters, opt for a flat and light collar and a light leash. That way the animal will get used to having something around his neck and stay a certain distance from you. Do not over-tighten it, (you must be able to insert two fingers between the neck and the collar without difficulty).
2. Put the collar on him
Your pet needs to get used to wearing the collar when he’s at home, and not just when going for a walk. At first, he might try to remove it. If he succeeds, just put it on him again. He may try to bite you or fidget a lot, but he will accept it little by little.
3. Show him the leash
Just like he must get used to the collar, he’ll have to do the same with the leash, since it’s only used for going out and not for wearing indoors. Let him sniff this new object and play with it a bit. Later, attach it to his collar.
4. Train him in a calm environment
To teach your dog to walk with a leash, try to choose a time of day or a place where there are no other animals, children running around, or too many people. The idea is that your pet pays attention to what you are telling him to do, and is not nervous. Also, this will help you to stay calm, and your dog can follow your mood and your example.
5. Bring some treats along
Choose the reward system you want to put into practice with your furry friend. You can buy small treats or take some food in a bag. You can even give him small pieces of sausage or cheese (if the vet gives you permission to give him that food). The important thing is for it to be a snack that he can eat while walking. That way, nothing will interrupt the training process.
6. Correct bad behavior
Just like you should reward the dog when he is good, you also have to tell him when he doesn’t do the right thing. There’s no need to yell at him, let alone beat him to make him understand. There are other, more “peaceful” ways to correct him that are more effective.
For example, if the animal pulls the leash, stop walking. He’ll notice that no matter how much he pulls, he isn´t going anywhere. If he sits down, lies down or doesn’t want to walk, take a few steps (the distance that the leash allows), call him, and offer him a treat.
7. Take control of the situation
The owner must be the one in charge at all times and, above all, especially when you’re out on the street where many things can happen. Try to stay a bit ahead of the dog, so that he treats you like the leader of the pack.
In addition, pay attention to his behavior when there are other dogs nearby. Do not change your attitude or get nervous, because the animal will feel and act accordingly. If you stay calm while walking, your pet will know that there is nothing to worry about, and that he should not attack or be on guard.
8. Keep training
Once you’ve taught your dog to walk with a leash, you mustn’t stop taking him out. If possible, go out several times a day. Not only does it provide excellent exercise for you both, but it will also help you to remember to keep training.
Main image source: Carlos Varela