Have you ever thought about how to train a dog on a leash so that he can walk by your side and stop when you ask him to and walk on your orders? Leash training is vital for all dogs, not only for their safety but also for the people around them.
As you know, dogs have a natural prey drive, and if they are not trained, they will run away every time they see a cat or squirrel. Dogs love to run off-leash, but you can't allow them if they aren't trained. Here in this article, we will discuss how to leash train a dog. What is the equipment used for the process, and the tips to keep in mind?
How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash?
Before We Begin
Training your dog to walk on a leash will need a few tools. Some essential tools to use for leash training are:
Select a leash that is 10 to 15 feet long and feels good in your hand. Generally, the leash should be long enough so that you won't feel any burns on your hand even if a dog pulls. For training purposes, you will also need a 30 to 50 feet long leash that will be used for safe exploration by your furry friend. However, do not use retractable leashes as they can cause severe burns to animals and people.
Use a smooth collar that fits the size of your dog's neck. The collar should be fit enough that you can put 2-4 fingers between the collar and his neck. Don't use a wide collar that can slip over your dog's head. If your dog is a strong puller and pulls so hard that he starts coughing or breathing loudly and causes an imbalance on walks, then a collar is not perfect for your dog. You can choose a harness instead of a collar.
Teaching Your Dog to Walk on a Leash: Step by Step
Begin the leash training process by training your dog to wear a collar and making sure he gets used to it. Take your dog for training in your backyard or at the park. Begin by holding the treat in your right hand and leash it in your left hand. Use the treat to lure your dog to the right side, and his face should be in the same direction as yours.
When your dog reaches the right side, please give him a treat. This is the first step; maybe once your dog eats the treat, he will walk away; if that happens, lure them back for the treat in the same spot. If you want your dog to walk with you on the left side, hold the leash in your right hand and treat it in your left hand.
Once your dog is used to the treats, take him to the starting position and let him sniff the treat in your hand. When he smells the treat, raise your hand over your shoulder, give a command like "with me," and start moving forward. If your dog starts moving with you, reward him with a treat. You can use any command word, but once you choose it, follow it.
Now repeat step two before moving on to the next step. If your dog pulls away from you when you are walking, stay still and try to lure him back into position. Do not pull or punish your dog; stay still in the starting position, and lure your dog by giving him a treat.
Practice the step above every time you start your workout and increase the number of steps you move forward. Your goal is to take more steps without reward.
If you are doing this training indoors, take your dog outside to a park. When you start training your dog in a distracting environment, be sure to use treats repeatedly to keep your dog motivated.
Loose Leash Vs. Dog Pulling
The main goal of loose leash walking is that your dog should walk at the same speed as you. Your dog should walk in a relaxed position with no tension on the leash. Some people have no preferences for their dog to walk on either side, while others prefer their dog to walk on the left or right side. It all depends on the owner's personal preferences; there is nothing right or wrong about it.
Some people do not like their dog walking in front of them because they believe that the dog is trying to dominate them, but that is not true. If you have any preferences, start training your dog from a young age and be consistent.
When your dog walks alongside you on a loose leash, it means that he can move forward, but it does not mean that a dog should start pulling. Whenever your dog begins to pull on the loose leash, stop immediately and stay still until the pulling stops. No need to pull on the leash or punish your dog; just calmly stand up and wait for your dog to come back.
How Long Does It Take to Leash Train a Dog?
Leash training is a separate exercise and should be practiced separately before allowing your dog to walk in public. Leash training will take time and depends on different factors such as your skills, understanding, training ability, and communication. Also, it depends on your dog; you may be asking him for more than he can do. However, regularly training 3-5 minutes in one session to 2-3 sessions a day can help your dog learn.
The important thing in the progress of leash training is how long you have been practicing and your dog's learning status. Leash training a puppy is far easy than training an adult. For example, a 7 month old puppy may learn faster and show more progress compared to an 8 year old dog.
This does not exactly mean that an older dog cannot learn to walk on a leash. A senior can remember, but it will take time. Taking all of these factors into account, a dog can learn to walk on a leash in a few months to a year.
Is It Too Late to Leash Train My Dog?
The best time to start training is right after bringing a puppy home. Dogs learn easily and almost everything at a young age, and some breeds are so intelligent that they socialize in no time. However, there are certain tricks that you cannot train them as soon as they open their eyes. Puppies also have short attention spans but can still learn obedience commands such as "stop," "sit," "go" around 7-8 weeks of age.
Commands and tricks can be altered during the puppy stage. If you have taught your puppy any skill incorrectly, you can re-teach him at any time as he is truly capable of re-learning it at a young age.
The best age to start leash training for your dog is around 7-8 weeks. You can also use the positive reinforcement method during this stage. When leash training your puppy, keep in mind that his attention span is short, so training sessions shouldn't be as long.
Tips After Dog Training
While training your dog, keep these tips in mind:
- Always begin training when your dog is relaxed and fully focused on you. There will be no stops or breaks to go to the bathroom.
- Don't let your dog pull where he wants to, instead stop, don't move, and wait for him to stop pulling. If you let them walk as far as they want, it will be difficult for them to learn.
- If you are training a puppy that has never been trained before, start with short training sessions. Most handlers like their dog to walk on the left side, but if you want them to walk on the right side, teach it from a young age as it is your choice. But teach your dog to walk only on one side. Otherwise, he will stumble and run from one side to the other.
- If our dog cannot concentrate during training, it means that the situation is too difficult for him to understand. So take a step back and start training from step one. For example, your dog walks by your side when you are at home, but your dog gets too excited when you walk out the front door. At this stage, practice leash walking inside the house with the door open. When your dog gets used to it, practice two steps outside and walk inside. Continue with this until your dog calms down.
- Practice regularly, and if something goes wrong, don't punish your dog. Instead, use positive reinforcement for training. Reward your dog with a treat each time he follows your commands.
Leash training is vital for all dogs and should be taught from a young age. Training your dog can be difficult, but your dog can learn in no time with continued efforts and proper methods.
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