Learning how to train a dog to walk on a leash is something that isn’t just an option in today’s day and age but a necessity, especially if you want a dog that you can bring anywhere that listens and is respectful of other people, dogs, and animals when on a walk!
So if you just brought home a new pup or want to teach your old pup some new tricks, we dive deep into how to train a dog to walk on a leash in this article. The complete guide!
Why Train Your Dog To Walk On Leash?
You might be wondering why even train your dog to walk on a leash in the first place?
Well, the simple answer is this, when you train your dog to walk on a leash, you can bring your dog more places because your dog knows how to behave on a leash.
Dogs that don’t know how to walk on a leash will likely do one of the following behaviors; bite the leash, pull on the leash, bark on a leash, dart left and right, stop on a walk, and much more.
Having a dog with a clear understanding of how to walk on a leash makes everyday life easier because you can enjoy yourself more together without the stress of your dog’s behavior on a leash.
How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash
Training a dog to walk on a leash takes a bit of consistency, patience, and a few little tricks. First, we’ll go over the equipment you’ll need, how to train your dog to walk on a leash, and then ensuring that your able to create reliability with your dog walking on a leash
While the equipment list isn’t vast, it is essential, especially to make it as easy as possible, for the pup to quickly pick up on the concepts!
The Specific Leash we want to use is a short 3 to 4-foot leash as it just provides enough slack for a walk and not too much extra leash to “run” or go to sniff every scent that their nose catches.
We also recommend avoiding any leash that has a bungie or stretches; these leashes reinforce pulling, and we’re aiming for the exact opposite.
A standard dog collar can work just fine for learning how to train a dog to walk on a leash. If you have a heavy puller or a pup that needs extra guidance, feel free to read some of our articles regarding training collars
Of course, whenever we are going over how to train a dog to walk on a leash, one of the most important things we’ll need is some good treats!
You want to use treats that are soft, and small not big or hard; that way, when you give your pup a treat, your dog doesn’t spend 10 minutes chewing before your able to continue training.
The ones I recommend are Happy Howies Meat Rolls. These treats are my go-to as they are soft, come in a variety of different flavors, and your able to cut them into cubes that are sized to your dog. I also forgot to mention my dog and my client’s dogs go crazy for these meat rolls. I’m sure your pup will agree!
Begin Teaching Your Dog To Walk On Leash
Now that we know what equipment you’ll need let’s jump into how to train a dog to walk on a leash.
To begin, Be dire to have your dog’s collar on and the appropriate leash through the whole process.
Understanding What The “Heel” Position Is
Before we jump into the practical application on how to get your pup to walk on a leash, you first have to understand what the “heel” position is.
The heel position is essential whenever your dog walks with his/her paws at your heels or behind.
If your dog is walking ahead of your heels, then your dog is in a position to pull and lead the walk.
Lure Your Pup Into The “Heel” Position
To begin training a dog to walk on a leash, you first want to get your dog’s treats and use the treats to guide your dog into the “heel” position.
When your dog gets into the “heel” position, you reward your pup.
You want to repeat this a few times. Then once you begin noticing that your pup is getting good at getting onto the heel position, you can begin to “name it” and essentially put the behavior of your dog going onto the heel position on command “heel!”
Naming The “Heel”
To put your dog’s behavior going into the heel position on command, you want first to say the name of the command “heel” then lure your dog.
The process will be. “Heel”→ Lure→ Reward do thing consistency and you’ll notice there will come a time when you say “heel” that your dog will do the behavior without you having to lure your dog. (Make sure you say the word “heel” then lure into position NOT at the same time)
To learn this step by step check out our A-Z go how to train your dog as we dive deep on how to train your dog from start to finish!
Building Duration With The “Heel”
Once your dog can get into the “heel” position on command, now it’s time to begin adding some duration so that your dog doesn’t just get into the heel position and leave but wants to stay there instead.
To accomplish this, all you have to do is get your dog into the heel position; when your dog is in the correct position, you’re going to say good and take a step. Then, if your pup is still in the “heel” position, you say “good” and give your dog a treat for staying there.
Initially, when building duration so that your dog can stay in the heel position while walking on a leash, you want to gradually increase the number of steps you take while your pup is in the heel position.
Ex at the beginning, your dog may only stay in the heel position for five steps as he progresses; you’ll go from 5 steps to 7 to 15 and so on.
If Your Dog Pulls On a Leash
If your dog begins to pull on a leash because of a distraction or due to your dog just walking fast, you want to stop entirely and guide your dog back into the “heel” position.
We want to teach your pup that the only time he gets what he wants “to move forward” is when your dog is in the “heel” position. If your pup is not in the heel position, then you don’t move in the direction your dog wants.
To create reliability with your dog staying in the heel position, you want to be consistent and not give your dog an inch.
When going over how to teach a dog to walk on a leash, you have to understand that dogs are creatures of habit, and if your dog has had bad habits of pulling, then it’s our job as their owners to stay consistent so that “heeling” when on a walk becomes your dog’s new habit.
Learning how to train a dog to walk on a leash doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s all about consistency, patience, and ensuring you and your dog are having fun while learning new things!
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