Dog Care 101 Tip #197: Leash Training Your Dog
It’s a sunny day and you want to get outside. Why not take Fido? BestBullySticks.com knows a walk with your dog not only clears your head but is great exercise for both of you! However, if your dog isn’t leash trained, walking your dog can be a pain more than a pleasure. Best Bully Sticks can help! January is not only National Train Your Dog Month, but also National Walk Your Pet Month!
Before You Walk
Before venturing out in your neighborhood, to the dog park or on an outdoors adventure, make sure your dog is:
Comfortable with the Equipment
Your dog’s collar and leash are obviously very important, but you must make sure your dog isn’t nervous or scared around them. If your dog seems skittish around these objects begin by simply placing them in the same room and letting your dog become comfortable with the objects themselves. Once your dog seems relaxed and can approach the collar, lead or harness without fear, move on to putting them on your dog. Let your dog wear the collar, harness and leash around the house with a loose leash. As your dog becomes more comfortable, start picking up the lead while your dog is eating or playing. Then take short walks around your house, but never pull or restrain. The point is to get your dog to understand the feel of the equipment.
When you’re ready to walk, your dog might be really excited! That’s great! However, make sure your dog is relaxed and still when you “suit up” for your adventure. When Fido realizes a walk is coming, train him to have all four paws on the ground before you attach his harness and lead. This sets a precedence of you being in charge before the walk even begins.
Tips For Training Success
- A tired dog is a more relaxed dog. If you have a good amount of playtime before you start a training walk, your dog will be more willing to follow your lead. One reason dogs are rowdy and pull on a leash is because they have excess energy. Expel that energy before a training walk and you’ll be sure to have an easier training session.
- Dogs respond to rewards. Make sure you pack plenty of highly desirable training treats before leaving for your walk. Small, soft treats work best, like Bravo! Trail Mix Training Treats!
- Walk in a quiet, non-distracting place or walk at a fast pace. Both of these will deter your dog from stopping to explore. Either there won’t be much to react to or they won’t have time to react.
- Always have your dog wear a collar with identification.
Ways To Train
There are many ways to train a dog to be well behaved on a leash, but we’ve chosen a great positive reinforcement technique that is sure to work!
Red Light, Green Light Technique
If your dog has already mastered “Sit” and “Come” commands, this might be the best training technique for you. Start walking with your dog at your side but after a few steps, stop walking. If your dog keeps walking and reaches the end of his lead and pulls, don’t move (red light). When your dog stops moving and leaves slack in the leash, use your “Come” and “Sit” commands, give praise and reward with a treat (green light). Immediately begin walking again. If your dog looks up at your wanting a treat, give praise and reward. If he pulls again, repeat the “red light” process above. If your dog ever pulls to chase a scent or use the bathroom, repeat the “red light” process, but when you call your dog back don’t reward with a treat. Instead, release your dog to locate the scent as his reward. Make sure you follow your dog so he doesn’t have to pull on the lead again. Note that rewarding your dog when slack is in the leash is important, or he’ll simply start pulling again.