Puppy Biting on a Leash in Grass

A Quick Guide on How to Leash Train a Dog

Leash training can be a pain, especially if you have a really stubborn dog on your hands. But it is very much worth it to do it so that you can have more enjoyable walks with your dog. Read our short guide to get a few tips on how you can effectively leash train your dog.

Why You Should Leash Train Your Dog

For some, it can feel like too much work for too little reward. Sure, the pulling is a problem but maybe your dog isn’t large enough to actually risk pulling so hard you fall down and drag behind him.

Bulldog on a Leash

However, no matter how big or small or how small the problem may feel, it is very important to leash train your dog. Here are some of the benefits you may not have thought about:

  • More enjoyable walks. Going for a walk is much more pleasant for both of you if you each walk at an easy pace and don’t feel strained.
  • Teach your dog self-control. Pulling and other bad leash behavior is usually caused by your dog’s inability to control his impulses. He wants to chase after and sniff everything that catches his eye. In the process of leash training, you are teaching your dog to control those impulses. This will help him become a much more self-controlled and obedient dog in general.
  • More security. Pulling behavior shows that your dog is not always thinking before he acts. This kind of behavior can put him in dangerous situations (such as getting hit by a car). A leash trained dog will be safer because he will be patient and take the time to think before he acts.

Use Positive Reinforcement

The goal is to associate the leash with good things. Punishment based techniques will only work to give your dog even more negative associations with the leash. So skip that spiky collar that digs into his neck when he walks and opt for a normal collar or even harness that makes wearing the leash more comfortable.

Start Small

If you have a puppy or a dog that has never been on a leash before (or has negative associations with it and refuses to even wear it), start by simply putting the leash on them and letting them wear it in the house for a while so they get used to it.

Dachshund Being Leash Trained

To make this first step even more effective, put the leash on before play time so that your dog starts to make the connection between leash and fun.

Stick to a Schedule

When you start going for training walks, create a schedule that includes multiple short walks per day. These should be at the same time every day. If that’s not possible, try to keep the schedule as consistent and predictable as possible.

It’s better to schedule multiple short walks (5 to 10 minutes) rather than one or two longer ones because no matter how positive and fun your training method is, it can get frustrating for you and your pooch if you are out there too long.

Treat Every Walk as a Training Session

Until he is fully trained, every single walk you go on is a training session. He needs to get it into his head that pulling and other bad behavior are never tolerated.

Dog Walking Another Dog With Leash

Use the Stop and Go Method

This is one of the simplest ways to leash train a dog. Here are the steps:

  1. Start walking your dog.
  2. As soon as he starts to pull, stop immediately and stand in place. Call him to you.
  3. When he comes to you, command him to sit. When he obeys, give him a treat and praise him.
  4. Continue walking.
  5. If he starts to pull again, repeat the process.

To motivate your dog to stop pulling, you can also feed him treats while you walk. This encourages him to stay by your side.

If you don’t want to use this, there are other methods you can try.

Final Word

Patience and consistency are key. Your dog will learn, no matter how stubborn he is. You just need to give it time and really stick to a consistent schedule.

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