How to train a dog to walk on a leash
Have you wondered how to train a dog to walk on a leash? Although dogs are one of the easiest pets to train, this kind of training is always quite challenging. Nevertheless, the benefits of the training are certainly worth the effort. This because once your dog is well trained, they will all the instructions you will be giving them. Read on to start to make this vision an actuality.
Step 1: Walking with him.
- Begin by fastening your dog to a leash or rope that is about 10 to 20 feet long. Always do this while he is wearing a usual harness. Find some pea-sized bits of fresh cheese or meat to apply in rewarding your dog. Subsequently, go to a casual outdoor place such as your backyard. You can carry some delicious canned dog food for rewarding him.
- Determine whether you would like your dog to walk on your right or left (the latter is traditional). Regardless of the side you will prefer, you will give him his treat reward just by your thigh on that particular side. Ordinarily, he will quickly start to stay close to that side because that is where delicious treats appear!
- Walk randomly and briskly around your yard. Any time your dog chooses to walk alongside you, reward him with a treat and praise. Remember to give him the reward to your thigh on your chosen side. If he keeps walking beside you, reward him for each and every move you take together. Actually, as he improves on this, you will have to reward him regularly as before. In some cases, you may realize that your dog is not interested in you. In that case, you need to take him inside then try the exercise later when he feels a bit hungry.
- Repeat this exercise to the point that your dog starts to stay alongside your frequently than not.
Step 2: Teach him to watch your moves and follow you.
- Start moving around your yard. Pause for a moment when your dog is wandering off. Alternatively, if you can pause when he is lagging behind to either go potty or sniff. With an upbeat voice, say “let’s go” and spank your thigh the first two or three times. This is to ensure that he sees you and turn and step away from him.
- If he catches up with you, instantly reward him with applause. Also, you can go ahead and feed him with the treat just beside your chosen side. Afterwards, feed him a treat every few moves in case he keeps staying with you as you walk. In case he catches up to you pretty swiftly, give him an additional reward.
- In an event that the leash is tight and he does not approach you, take a unique approach. You will need to pause and use a moderate leash pressure. Usually, the leash pressure is intended to be your presence reminder and to discourage him from ignoring you. However, it is for forcing him towards you. Once he starts to come towards you, hail him and reduce the pressure. Again, reward him with the treat next to your chosen side as he catches up with you. Continuously, feed him the treat every time he keeps staying with you as you move.
- Keep practicing this step within your yard until you realize that he stays by your side nearly every time. You will notice this if he will come back to the same side as you shout “let’s go!”
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Step 3: Introduce the authorized sniff break.
Generally, your dog requires time to sniff and even relieve himself as he is on the leash. Notwithstanding, it will assist him to learn important manners if you determine when that should happen. You should do this after some chosen time intervals, say after 5 minutes. This could be the time you would normally give a treat. Try to say something like “go sniff” then allow him to sniff around. He can also go potty as he is on the leash. This is a reward or privileges hence if he draws on the leash say “let us go”. After that, walk in a different direction, consequently terminating the free time.
Step 4: Repeat the steps above as you introduce some hurdles.
- Keep practicing leash walking within your yard as in the initial step to step 3 but use a shorter leash. Ultimately, decrease the leash length to about 6 feet.
- Try to practice moving faster or slow as well as checking and alternating directions. If he can remain by your side at the time of these hurdles, reward him.
- Start to reward him less regularly for walking by your side in ordinary circumstances. Keep rewarding him for remaining by your side as you walk in a strange manner than usual. You can also reward him if he remains consistent even when there is a distraction.
Hopefully, this guide on how to train a dog to walk on a leash has made things easier. As a matter of fact, you should realize that this can take as short as three weeks. Nevertheless, everything will depend on how you do it. While this guide is comprehensive, you should pay attention to how your dog responds to the training. This way, you will determine if you should go the next step on something should be emphasized.