Between man and his best friend, one of the most beautiful bonding experiences can be a walk or two every single day. Different dogs walk around in different ways and have unique personalities just like their human friends.
For example, some puppies want to just run around excitedly, whereas others want to take their time and examine every little thing on the road. Because leash training isn’t a natural instinct for dogs, you’re gonna need all the help you can get!
What is leash training?
Leash training is a process using which you can train your little puppy to trot alongside you when you’re out for a walk. The central theme and purpose of the exercise is to make it so the dog learns to walk beside you without pulling on the leash itself.
The benefits of leash training
You might be wondering, what do you stand to gain by training your dog or puppy to walk with a leash? Well, as a pet owner, you could definitely use these upsides to this process:
Ease in behaviour training: When you can control your dog on a leash, the overall training process for your dog becomes much easier.
Exercise: With most dog breeds, other than the need to relieve themselves, dogs also need a regular walk to stay fit and healthy.
Bonding: One of the most important ways that you can create a strong bond with your furry friend is by a regular walk with your puppy.
Exploration: You and your dog can discover the world together, which gives you the unique opportunity to let your dog explore while still being observed.
Socialisation: A regular walk in the neighbourhood is a great way for your dog to socialize with other animals under your control.
So now that we all that covered, on to how you can exactly leash train your dog.
Leash training your dog
So how can you actually leash train your dog? The process is one that will require a lot of patience, time, and most importantly, love and care.
To train your dog, you will also need to consider the kind of gear that will work best for your pet. According to most sources, your best bet is using a front attachment harness, which will help you walk your dog without pulling. In the situation that your dog is aggressive, you may need to use a head collar.
The leash that you use with the harness is also equally important. Making sure that the leash’s length doesn’t exceed 6 feet so you can allow your puppy to roam around but still have control over his or her whereabouts.
Before you get started on the actual training, you might want to take some time out and decide on the kind of treats and rewards you will give your pet. Rewards are vital in helping your dog’s new learned behaviours stick around, so make sure you choose something that’ll motivate it to adapt to this new process.
The process to train your dog consists of a couple of steps.
- Let the puppy get used to the harness and the leash.
- Call your puppy using a selected cue and on turning, reward it with a treat.
- Keep moving backwards and calling for the puppy for some space.
- At first, try inside, and then gradually take the puppy outside to a familiar space.
Keep on repeating the leash training until you are confident that your puppy is familiar with the process. Give good rewards and stay patient, and you’ll get amazing results! Remember, the process of training your dog isn’t going to be done in a day. This whole process takes time to manifest in your dog’s behaviour.
Each step may take a couple of days, so be patient and loving and let your dog adjust to the new circumstances each time. It is important that you keep in mind that using a leash is not instinctual for dogs and so they may take their time getting used to the process, the equipment, and even the outdoors.
Chances are, at some point, your dog may try to pull on the leash and go out ahead of you. This can prove to be a challenge during walks, so you will need to train the dog to stop carrying out this behaviour.
If at any point during the training, if the dog starts pulling on the leash, stop walking and exhibit the “tree” behaviour. What this means is that you stand completely still until your puppy stops pulling on the leash. This helps the dog understand that pulling will not make you move and eventually he or she will drop the behaviour. A choke chain can also be used to rule out the pulling behaviour in dogs but it should not be used in long-haired breeds.
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Tips for good leash training
Want to make sure your dog learns to walk on a leash quickly and well? Here are some tips.
Keep things interesting
Dogs are full of boundless energy and are easily distracted. This can prove to be a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to focused leash training. To make the process worthwhile, make sure the training session is fun and short, to make a lasting impression.
Play before the walk
Unless you want to deal with a ton of energy when you go out with your dog, try having play time before the walk! You can try using toys and games inside the home, and make it so your puppy is tired before you leave, making the walk easier for you both!
Make it worthwhile
When you are training your puppy, you will get best results if you give him or her treats that are suited for the job. You’ll want to look for treats that are easy to chew and that the dog doesn’t have access to all the time, to make this special.
Keep the dog calm
Even before you get started on your walk, make sure that the dog isn’t overly excited. Most times, your dog will start running around excitedly at even a mention of a walk. If that is the case, let him or her calm down before you go out.
Dealing with lunging
Don’t panic if your dog lunges at something at the side of the road – curiosity is natural to a dog. This can happen with incoming cars, other dogs, and even people. However, to stop anything amiss from happening, try and distract your dog from the object in question.
First and foremost, create some degree of distance between the object in question and your dog. Next, you will need to distract the dog. You can do this using treats and a command. Eventually, your dog will learn to listen to your command.
Controlling exploration and sniffing
Chances are, your dog is going to want to walk around and explore the area around him. If that is the case, you shouldn’t stop him or her, but you need to let it know that sniffing is reserved for special times. Make sniffing into a “reward” or “privilege” and don’t allow it all of the time during your walk.
Use all of these tips to make that time during walks fun for both you and your furry best friend!
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