How to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash

Becoming a dog parent is not an easy job. Having a dog can be fun most of the time. However, there are certain times when you might face some difficulty. But having a trained dog can save you from a lot of unwanted worries. The joy of having a constant four-legged companion becomes even more.

But not all dogs are trained to walk on leash. As a dog parent, it’s important for you to know how to train a dog to walk on a leash. When you take your dog for a walk and it runs everywhere, it certainly becomes a nuisance for every pet parent. You must know how to train a dog to walk on a leash beside you. When you have a puppy, you can start from the beginning, but if your dog has grown up a little bit, it might need some time to walk on leash.

How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

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Let us look at the various techniques on how to train a dog to walk on leash.

Few things to remember before you start training your dog to walk on leash:

  • Get a collar and a leash for your dog, that fits him perfectly. A wrong-sized collar and leash can make him uncomfortable. And that will not help in training your dog.
  • You have to start with rewarding when you start training your dog to walk on leash. Since this is going to be a new activity for him, he needs to be feel appreciated for putting in the effort. So always keep some treats ready or his favorite toys in front of him.
  • Always encourage your dog. The initial days will be hard for him. But always cheer him up and encourage him to do more. He needs to see your love and support for him and that will motivate him even more. This will in turn quicken the training of your dog on leash process.
  • Never force your dog. Give him his own time to get accustomed to this new way of walking. If your dog is unwilling to walk more, give him rest and start on the next day. When you start forcing, he will dislike the entire process and won’t be interested in learning at all.
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** In case your dog gets exhausted after a short walk or hike, you can use dog carrying backpacks or dog strollers while going for a walk with your dog.

How to Train Your Dog to Walk on Leash

Start with a Collar

Before jumping straightway to a leash, train your dog with a collar. Also, if you’re planning how to teach a puppy to walk on leash, starting with a collar will be super helpful. Make him wear the collar when he is having food or when he is playing in the garden. This way he will get used to the collar and won’t feel too much discomfort when it will put on a leash.

Have Shorter Sessions

Keep your sessions in the beginning for ten to fifteen minutes. Do not go beyond that especially in the first week. Longer sessions will make him tired and he won’t enjoy the sessions anymore. Rather keeping a short one will keep him energized and he will actually be looking forward to the next session. This trick also works when you don’t know how to train a stubborn dog to walk on a leash.

Keep Your Dog on One Side

It’s usually recommended to keep your dog on your left side. However, if you feel that the right side suits you, you can keep that too. But maintaining one particular side helps both you and your dog. When he is running on a leash, he won’t run on you or hurt you if he is kept on the left side. If you are facing difficulty in how to train your dog to hold their leash, keeping them on one side will help a lot.

How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

Use a Sound

To keep your dog interested and motivated, use basic commands. Sounds work great for dogs. You can clap your hands, or click your tongue. You can also opt for words like “good job”, “come on”, “yes”, “bravo”. The process of how to leash train your dog becomes quite easier when you use such cue words or sounds.  So, whenever you put on a leash on your dog, say words like these or use cheerful sounds. Also, keep some treats ready for him. He will run towards you and reward him with a treat.

Begin with Indoor Sessions

If you’re wondering how to leash train a dog that won’t walk, then you should always start with indoor sessions. Taking your dog on a leash directly outside can be intimidating for him. Use cue words so that he understands when to come to you and then walk with him a few steps inside your house. This way, he will get used to walking with you on a leash and when you will step out with him, he will be quite free to do it on his own.

Walk Together

When he knows that his master is around, he will be more confident. Also, rewarding your pet dog is extremely important. So, after a few sessions at your home, take him to your yard or to the nearest dog park. Often dogs start running back and forth or circling around you. This can be a disturbance and you might even hurt yourself. Keeping the length of the leash short can help keep him closer to you.

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Whenever he tries to run away or change his direction, use those cue words to direct him towards you. Make sure to reward him with tiny treats so that he knows that he is doing a good job and you are appreciating him for that. Don’t keep the length of the leash too short as it can result in dragging and pulling.

Give Him Sniff Time

As you slowly progress towards how to train a dog to walk on a leash, you must allow him some free time or sniff time. Walking for long at a stretch can be tiring for him. So allow him some relaxing time. After walking for 5-6 minutes straight, use words like “go sniffing” or “pee time/poop time”. Let him sniff some bushes or anything that is around keeping him on leash. He will be trained to use this time for poop or pee also, making it less tedious for you.

Use Different Techniques

You won’t always be able to maintain the same speed. So train your dog to walk on leash at different speeds. Sometimes go fast, sometimes go slow. Also, stop in between and move towards a different direction. Let him accustom to various techniques while walking on leash. Keep a watch if he can maintain being by your side. When he successfully does that, don’t forget to reward him.      

Be Cautious on the Road

Walking your dog on leash in your yard is easy. The real task begins when you take your dog on the road. There will be people, other dogs, or any animals, which are major distractions for your doggo. By now he is mostly trained, so he is used to walk with a leash on. However, to prevent any kind of trouble it’s better to head-collar or front attachment harness. These will allow you to have extra control over your dog.

Don’t Let Him Pull

One of the major problems faced by dog owners is that they don’t know how to train a dog to walk on a leash without pulling. As soon as he starts pulling, you should stop walking. Don’t go along with him. He will stop seeing you. Also, let him know that when he walks without pulling, it makes you happy.

Never become aggressive or shout at your dog when he is pulling. It will increase his uneasiness. Rather, whenever he walks calmly, give him treats. He will know that a reward is coming for him and that will eventually stop this behavior.

Make him understand that whenever he starts pulling, you will stop walking and he won’t be able to reach his destination.

Few Tips when You Train Your Dog to Walk on leash:

  • The standard length of leash is 6 foot, so use a leash of that length.
  • Throw balls or treats at a minimum distance of 20 feet while he is on leash.
  • You can start with a longer leash to make him comfortable with the training.
  • Stop whenever he tries to pull.
  • Apply gentle pressure on the leash when he is lagging behind.
  • If he is very slow at his walk, check whether he is feeling unwell. Give him rest for that day.
  • Keep encouraging him. Even if he walks only 10 minutes with a leash on, encourage him by giving him treats or toys.
  • If you are training a dog to hike off leash, make sure to choose safe areas which are not so rugged or do not have rough edges. Also, make sure that your dog responds to your call always. Have cue words for him, so that he can be safe even if he is off the leash.
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Tips to Train Your Dog to Walk on leash

Some Common Problems when You Train Your Dog to Walk on Leash 

How to keep your dog from Pulling:

Pulling the leash is a very common problem among dogs. So, whenever he does that, stop and change the direction. Go in the opposite direction and he will also be compelled to follow your steps. Show your happiness when he follows you by patting his back, or using encouraging words, or simply rewarding him with treats.

When your dog is barking:

If your dog starts to bark hearing a loud noise or seeing any other dog, check his health. He can be unwell or frightened and that’s why he is barking so much. Lack of exercise can also lead to unusual barking. Try to divert his attention by taking him to a different place altogether.

When your dog is after something:

If your dog is chasing something like another dog, a car, or any other object, change his attention immediately. Turn around and take his attention to somewhere else. So, as a dog parent, you have to stay always alert while walking with your dog. You can’t let your dog be close to the object he is chasing. Maintain a safe distance between your dog and the desired object.

Final Words:

Follow all the above tips if you are a new pet owner or when you don’t know how to train a dog to walk on leash or how to train a puppy to walk on leash. When you know the right steps, training your pet dog won’t be a hard task. Be patient and enjoy a wonderful walk with your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What dogs are easy to train on leash?

Ans– Poodle, Pumi, Collie, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd are some of the dogs which you can easily train on leash.

2. How do I train my dog to walk beside me?

Ans– Start walking with him inside your house and for short sessions. The left side is the preferred one, so call your dog and move him towards the left side. Use cue words to make him understand the correct side while walking beside you.

3. How long does it take to train a dog to walk on a leash?

Ans– It usually takes up to 4-6 weeks when you start to train a dog to walk on a leash.

4. Why is my dog so stubborn on a leash?

Ans– Your dog might be bored walking on the same path every day and that’s why he is being stubborn. He can also be afraid of any object or sound, he can be stubborn on a leash.

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