Leash Training Basics

It’s not much fun to walk your dog when he is pulling or running circles around you. Yet most of us have to use the leash to walk our dogs all the time. You may have to walk your dog so he can potty. We have to use the leash when we take dogs to the vet or the pet groomer, or anywhere else. It’s important for dogs to have good leash manners, both for their own safety and for ours. Here’s how to teach your dog leash training basics. It’s easiest to teach a puppy these basics but you can teach your dog to walk politely on a leash at any age.

Choosing a collar and leash
Leash training basics begin with choosing a collar and leash for walking your dog. A flat buckle collar is a good choice for your dog. Choose a collar that is comfortable for your dog. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck once you put it on your dog. A nice nylon collar is suitable for most dogs or you can use a leather collar. Do not buy an expensive leather collar for a puppy as he will quickly outgrow it. You can buy a leash to match the collar if you like. Small dogs usually take a four-foot leash while medium and large dogs will take a six-foot leash.

Walking politely on leash
To teach your dog to walk politely on leash you should choose an enclosed area to practice at first such as a fenced yard. It’s best to go to a place where there are fewer distractions so your dog can focus on you. With the leash attached to the collar, set out with your dog for a short walk with the dog on your left side. Hold the leash in your right hand. Many dogs will soon start pulling or running ahead of you at this point. When your dog starts to pull, you should come to a complete stop. Freeze. Become a statue. Do not take another step. Your dog will not be able to go very far if you make yourself dead weight and he will quickly turn to look at you. When he comes back to you, to see what’s wrong, then you can start walking forward again, with your dog by your side.

No doubt your dog will pull and run ahead again, so when he does, you should once again freeze and come to a complete stop. And your dog will stop and come back to you again to see what’s wrong. Then you can start moving forward. If you repeat these actions every time your dog starts pulling on the leash or getting ahead of you, your dog will soon figure out that if he wants the walk to continue, he has to stay by your side and walk politely.

Eventually you can take your dog out in public to test him and try his leash training with more distractions, but once he learns that he has to walk politely by your side if he wants to go anywhere, dogs are usually much better behaved anytime they are on leash.

Walking politely on a loose leash and knowing the basics of leash training are not the same as heeliing which requires more precision and asks for the dog to sit by your side when you come to a halt. That lesson requires a little more training. But if your dog knows leash training basics, he is well on his way to being a pleasant dog to take for a walk.

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