Taking a dog for walks is one of the most satisfying experiences a dog and master can share, but some breeds of dogs have a predisposition to either pull the leash or behave poorly on a leash, and getting rid of this behavior early on is important if you want to be able to enjoy walks with your dog. There are several leash training techniques you can use, and some are more appropriate for certain breeds than others. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common forms of leash training, and see which is right for you and your dog.
First, you’ll want to see how your animal behaves simply when on a leash. Attach the collar and a leash to your dog, and see how he reacts. If he seems excited and happy, or simply sits and waits for you to move, then you can move on. If he begins to chew or pull at the leash, however, you’ll need to discourage him. Most leash training books will tell you to simply scold the dog if he tries to chew on the leash, although if this does not work you can try spreading a bitter solution on the leash to further discourage chewing.
Once your dog has been accustomed to being leashed, you can try taking him somewhere in your home or back yard where there are few distractions. This will allow the dog to focus on following your lead. If your dog wants to stop and smell things, this is fine – most dogs can get overwhelmed by new smells, sights, and sounds on walks, and your animal may pause to “check his messages” or explore something new. During leash training, try and allow your animal to explore, but do not allow him to pull excessively on the leash.
If your animal does pull during leash training, a slight jerk on the leash and a sharp sound like “hey,” or even a brief hissing noise, will call the animal’s attention back to you. Repeat this until your pet realizes that he should stay by your side, and if necessary, you can try tightening the leash. Once your pet is walking by your side, try loosening the leash until it remains at your side but there is enough slack for it to move away. Keep repeating this technique until you no longer have to tighten the leash.