Using a leash with your dog may seem pretty intuitive. Clip it onto their collar or harness and you’re ready to go, right? Sure, that gets the job done, but did you know there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to leash train your dog? Holding it correctly to prevent injury and teaching your dog to stop pulling are two great benefits of training!
Leash Training 101
- The right collar. If you’re starting your leash training with a puppy, it’s pertinent to get a collar that fits. Since puppies grow, be aware that you need to check the collar sizing regularly and upgrade as needed. Check out this link for tips on measuring your dog’s collar size!
- Learn how to hold the leash. Here is where some human training comes in. Knowing how to hold the leash properly will help you keep steady control of your pet, without risking injury to yourself. This is particularly important during the training process when your pet will be pulling and jerking the most. Proper technique, as described by Wikihow:
“Slip your thumb through the loop at the end of the leash. If you hold your hand upwards in front of you (like you’re giving someone a high five), the leash should dangle off your thumb. Then close your hand around the loop. The rest of the leash should come out the bottom of your fist, beside your pinky finger.”
- Start with a short range. Keeping your dog close to you can help them learn which side they should walk on and what an acceptable pace is. This also allows you more immediate, easier control during the early stages.
- Trial and error. Now comes the training part! With a pocket full of treats head out the door! As your pet walks calmly beside you, praise them and offer a treat. If they pull or dart about erratically exercise patience and reward them when they stop this behavior and return to polite walking. If they remain walking with you, stop and reward them every so often.
- Deal with pulling. If your dog is trying to pull you toward a goal, stop. Wait until your pet stops tugging and then slowly walk toward the object of their interest, rewarding them if they walk calmly with you. Your dog needs to understand that misbehaving will produce the opposite result of what they want. If their behavior persists, calmly walk away from their goal. Don’t ever jerk the leash, just apply enough steady pressure that they must follow you. And again with the training mantra, once he stops and begins following you at a normal pace, reward him!
Remember to always be patient and gentle with your dog. Use your stubbornness and leadership to command your pet. Dogs are smart and most pick up on leash training fast!