Leash Training: How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

leash training how to train your dog to walk on a leash

9 Tips to Properly Train Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

All dogs should be taught basic leash skills regardless of age, size, or lifestyle. As a dog owner, you should be able to easily take your dog out for a walk around the block or into a vet office without tripping over the dog leash or having your legs wrapped up.

Dog leash training can be challenging. We’ve provided six step-by-step guidelines and methods below. These step-by-step guides and methods will make it easier for you to leash train your dog. You can use the various methods below to leash train your dog. Please note that no single method works for all dogs. It is important to have proper leash skills to ensure safety for both you and your canine companion. 

1. Pick the Right Dog Collar and Dog Walking Leash 

Before you start walking your dog on a leash, you’ll need to pick the appropriate dog walking collar or dog walking harness that properly fits your dog along with the right dog leash. You may choose to go with a retractable dog leash or a rope dog leash. Whichever type of dog leash you choose to use, make sure to introduce it to your puppy first. This way, they will get used to it and will feel comfortable with it.

You’ll also want to bring enough treats with you to reward your dog while leash training. If it’s helpful to you, it may be a good idea to get a training treat pouch. This way, you’ll be able to store the treats in the pouch instead of holding them constantly in your hand. You won’t be inconvenienced with having both hands occupied during training. Additionally, you’ll want to use a clicker or a marker for good behavior. An emphatic “yes!” works as well. 

2. Basic Commands for Dog Leash Training

There are a few basic commands your dog should know before you start the leash training. Two basic commands include “come” and “stay” when you want to teach your dog to walk properly on a leash. “Come” means your dog should stop what he’s doing and come towards you. The “come” command is important when you want to prepare your dog for a walk when he or she is somewhere else in the house. The “stay” command teaches your dog to stand still for a short time, allowing you to put on the collar or harness and the leash or before crossing a street and you have to wait for the walk sign.

3. Keep Sessions Short and Simple

Before any training, allow your dog to get familiar and accustomed to their collar or harness. Start small and simple. If you have a backyard, any time your dog is going outside to the backyard, attach the collar or harness. If you are doing basic training, you can also put the collar or harness on your dog. If your dog is wearing the collar and leash for short periods of time while you are playing with him or her and offering treats, then your pup will get accustomed to it and love the collar and leash time because it is associated with food and fun. Through the short and fun sessions, your dog will get used to the feeling of the collar and leash quickly. Please make sure the collar isn’t too tight around your dog’s neck as that can be uncomfortable and irritating. If your puppy or adult dog has never been leash trained, it is best to begin with short, positive sessions. Training around the house should be fine. Later once the leash-walk improves, the sessions can be longer and more difficult.  

4. Less Energy Before Leash Training

how to train your dog to walk on a leash less energy before leash training

If you find a way to tire your dog out before the training walk, you’ll find that dog leash training may be easier. Energetic dogs may have a tendency to pull so it is a good idea to expend that energy first prior to leash training. Ways to expend that energy includes playing fetch with balls or frisbees in the backyard or dog park. This allows your dog to run freely and use up some of that pent-up energy.

Some dogs may resort to biting the leash during leash training or leash walking if they have pent-up energy. If this is the case, it is a good idea to get your furry friend some indestructible dog toys or dog bones. Chewing on indestructible dog toys or dog bones satisfies their innate nature to chew without resorting to bad chewing behaviors. Unsurprisingly, chewing on dog bones can also tire a dog out so it is best to have them chew on the bones prior to the training session.

5. Leash Training to Walk by Your Side

While walking, it’s important that your dog learns to stay by your side. Whichever side your dog stays on, keep it consistent and always stay on that side. Traditionally, dogs walk on the left side of the owner. If you prefer that your dog walks on your right, that is fine as well. This also helps avoid tripping or injuring yourself or your dog. It’s not fun if your canine companion weaves back and forth constantly. You’ll want to follow the following steps.

  • Keep your dog’s leash short enough to prevent easily leaving your side, which models the walking position you want him to be in. However, don’t keep it so short that you’re dragging him. 
  • At the same time, lure him into the correct area and space by your side with soft tiny treats. With a clicker or praise, you can mark his or her correct behavior.
  • You can stop luring once your dog starts to get the idea and learns the correct walking habit. Do continue to reward for staying by your side.

6. Treats and Rewards When Leash Training Your Dog

Plenty of treats and rewards are required when leash training your dog. Each time your dog masters the leash walk even for just a few seconds, make sure to reward him or her with praise and give them a treat. You may want to bring your dog’s favorite treat with you to continue the leash training. In the beginning, give a treat for every few steps and then gradually increase the distance you walk between treats until your dog forms the habit of walking at your side without treats. It is a good idea to bring soft treats with you so your dog can eat them quickly and continue the leash training.

7. Gentle Leash Pressure

If your dog stops walking or won’t continue walking with you, you can apply a gentle leash pressure. This will remind your dog of your presence and control and make it a little bit unpleasant for him or her to ignore you. Please never force or drag your dog towards you. If your dog is behind you and begins to walk towards you, make sure to praise, reward and release the leash pressure. 

8. Puppy Leash Training

puppy leash training corgi

When you’re leash training your puppy, make sure to take baby steps. Start by attaching the leash while indoor and play with your puppy to keep him occupied and distracted from the leash before going out and leash walking. To avoid irritation and discomfort, make the lease loose enough. The next step would be to practice putting your puppy on a leash in your backyard. If you’re afraid that your little furry friend will run and escape your backyard during leash training, you’ll want to install a wireless dog fence to keep him safe. It is important that your puppy slowly becomes familiar with leash training indoors and outdoors. With consistent practice, your puppy won’t notice the leash anymore and you can increase the length of your walks with him or her.

9. Be Patient 

Time, patience and effort are required during dog leash training. It is best to stay calm and patient. Always take your time and stay calm and collected, but also be persistent during the leash training. Even if it’s a small achievement, praise and treat because these small steps add up in time. Through persistent leash training, your dog will accept the leash and will eventually walk properly on it. 

The Zuke’s Mini Naturals dog treats are soft and small, which makes them great for puppy training. Each bite is wholesome and tender and your puppy will want more of it. The small treat size allows your dog to focus on the training instead of focusing on chewing her food. Thus, the treat is not distracting her from the training. Each treat is less than 3 calories so the reward is guilt-free. No matter which flavor you choose for your puppy or dog, each of them is made of real ingredients with whole food berries.

Zuke’s Mini Naturals Key Features:

  • Comes in various flavors: Chicken, Peanut Butter, Duck, Peanut Butter & Oats, Pork, Rabbit and Salmon
  • Comes in 3 different sizes: 5 oz, 6 oz, and 16 oz pouch
  • Made of real ingredients and whole food berries
  • Less than 3 calories per treat
  • Wholesome, small, and tender bites

Zukes Dog Treats Reviews:

Pros

  • Many owners said their dogs loved all the flavors of Zuke’s Mini Naturals and were happy with the small size of the treat during training.
  • Owners noted that these treats are great for dog training and teaching their puppies tricks.
  • The majority of the customers’ dogs love and are crazy about these treats. The owners recall every time they hand out the treats, their dogs and puppy get very excited.
  • Almost every positive review said they love how these quality training treats are made of natural ingredients and that there are no artificial colors or flavors.

Cons

  • While some customers noted how strong the treats smell, they did point out that this powerful scent makes them a strong food lure during training and a rewarding, healthy treat for their dogs.
  • A few customers pointed out that if you leave the treats out on a table for a while, the treats will easily dry out. If you aren’t careful and the treat bag isn’t sealed properly, the entire bag can dry out in days.

The PetSafe Treat Pouch provides pet owners with the convenience of storing dog treats during training sessions or out for a walk. The dog treat bag comes with multiple dividers to separate multiple treats and offers dog owners an easy way to grab treats and reward their dogs. There’s also a front pocket where owners can put in their keys and phones. A detachable belt and belt clip are included with the pouch.

PetSafe Treat Pouch Key Highlights:

  • The pouch comes with multiple clips and loops to attach whistles or poop bags.
  • Versatile pouch with a front pocket for keys and phone
  • The pouch is waterproof, machine washable, and stain-resistant
  • Ability to store multiple different treats with the help of divided inner pockets
  • The hinged opening provides convenience. The opening stays open and closes with a touch

What customers are saying:

Pros

  • One customer who is raising future Service Dog puppies for Service Dog organizations praised the pouch for bringing convenience to her everyday training sessions.
  • Many owners said the hinge and closing features are great. It eliminates dogs that nose dive into the treats and the hinge is long-lasting.
  • Owners love that the pouch has large pockets with dividers, which allows them to separate the low and high-value treats. The pouch size is also perfect for them.
  • A lot of the owners love the front pocket feature that allows them to put their phone and keys inside.

Cons

  • A few customers said it was a bit difficult for them to get the treat without having to fumble or look for the correct pocket, but that they will get used to it.

If you’re looking for a positive form of training with your dog, implementing clicker training is very useful. The Downtown Pet Supply Dog Clicker with Wrist Band ensures that you only hold the clicker when needed. When your dog accomplishes the commands, you can reach for the treats and drop the clicker and it will hang beautifully on your wrist. When you’ve finished training, you can wear the clicker on your wrist and not worry about losing it. The big button provides you easy clicking and the loud sound is great for training your dog.

Downtown Pet Supply Dog Clicker with Wrist Band Key Features:

  • Comes in different bright colors: Red, pink, blue, black, and green
  • Sturdy clickers come with a wrist strap
  • Clicker fits in the palm of your hand and is comfortable
  • Big button provides easy clicking
  • Loud sound for training
  • Comes in 4 Pack, 5 Pack, 12 Pack, and 25 Pack

What customers are saying:

Pros

  • Many owners love how the button is very easy to click and the sound is just right – not too loud and not too soft. The sound does not startle other pets in the house.
  • Some happy owners noted that they would use the clicker whenever their dogs are distracted. Once their dogs hear the click, they immediately stop what they were doing and paid attention to the owners.
  • Owners mentioned that the clicker works beautifully and gave them immediate positive results.
  • The majority of the owners said they were happy with the clicker’s functionality as well as the bright colors.

Cons

  • Some customers said the clicker wasn’t as loud as they had expected.
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