Not all dogs wear leashes all of the time, however, all dogs should be leash-trained regardless! It’s important for dogs to learn basic leash training and obedience skills to allow you to comfortably walk them in public areas. You may have all of the trust in the world in your furry friend, however, that does not mean that strangers your pop encounters feel the same. Good leash skills are important for the safety of your dog and others as well.
Teaching your dog good leash skills can be a fun bonding experience for you both! To help training go smoothly, ensure you have the right collar for your pup, a suitable leash, and a reward or treat. Ready to get started? Read on to learn how to teach your dog good leash training skills in just three steps.
1) Keep Leash Training Lessons Short
If your puppy or adult dog has never been leash trained before, it’s important to keep training sessions short, sweet, and positive. This is an exciting time for your dog because they have a chance to spend time with just you! Make it fun and educational for them. If you are just planning to take leisurely walks with your dog, you can have them walk along your right side.
Dogs that participate in sports and more serious activities often walk on the left-hand side of their owner. Although it is ultimately up to you to choose which side you’d like your pup to walk on, once you do choose, teach your dog to stick to only that side.
2) Prevent Pulling Habit From Developing
Many dogs develop a habit of pulling on their dog training leash during walks. As exciting as it is for them to get outside and explore, you have to remind them that pulling forward will only delay the walk. According to Sarah Fraser, certified dog trainer and co-founder of New York’s Instinct Behavior & Training, “if your dog is walking nicely on a leash, it likely means that your dog is paying more attention to you, making it easier for you to provide direction and guidance as needed along your walk.”
To prevent your dog from pulling on their leash, try the following:
- Reward Slacking: Your dog may be the most excitable dog on the planet and that can make leash walking difficult. However, even the most hyperactive dogs will allow the leash to slack at some point. Take advantage of this by marking and rewarding your dog for slacking on the leash.
- Reinforce Calm Behaviour: Some dogs may naturally adapt to leash training and pull very little. If this is the case with your pup, ensure you reward them every so often to encourage this calm behaviour. Your pup may at times forget to be calm, especially when seeing another animal or human. Just reward them when they resume calm behaviour once again.
- Stop In Your Tracks: Some dogs may become too comfortable with leash walking too soon and start taking the lead. Any time your dog tries to pull you forward or toward something, stop right in place. Once the leash goes slack and your dog notices that you have stopped in place, reward them!
3) Train Your Dog To Walk Alongside You
Whichever side you want to have your dog on, it’s important to teach them to stick to that side. If your dog is taking the lead and pulling the leash all over in circles, this does not teach them obedience and makes walking much more difficult. A part of the leash training process could be tiring your pup out before your walk.
Steven Marrujo, manager of Pawfection, a Pasedena, CA doggy daycare, states that tiring out your pup prior to the walk, via fetch or play, can help them focus during your stroll with them. Marrujo also says to carry your pet’s favourite tasty treats as rewards to encourage good behaviour for next time.
As important as it is to teach your dog obedience, it’s equally as important to have fun with them while doing so! Leash training is a fun part of bonding with your pup and is a great form of exercise for you both. If you’re in the market for a trustworthy dog training leash, you can always count on SmellyDogz dog gear. Happy training!