Training - Walking a Dog On A Leash

Easy to use steps that will help you train your dog to walk properly on a leash

See also dog training collars and lead and teaching your dog to be off leash

walking a dog on a leashIt is not rare to see a dog owner being pulled wildly around on the end of a leash while on the other end; their dog is charging ahead into the great outdoors, oblivious that he’s doing anything wrong.

Taking a walk with your dog should be an enjoyable experience for both of you.

More frequently it becomes a tug of war between you and your dog that is frustrating on both ends of the leash.

Training your dog walking on a leash is very important for every dog.  Allowing your dog to pull you around is not only uncomfortable for you, but it can be very dangerous for your dog and it only reinforces his bad walking behavior. 

When you start training your dog for walking on a leash, you'll find that walks are much more enjoyable for you and your pooch.

Equipment for Dog Training Walking on a Leash

When you train your dog to walk on a leash, it’s important to use the correct equipment. There are two main types of leashes that are widely used. One is a retractable leash and the other is a plain leash made of nylon or leather.

While teaching your dog how to walk on a leash, you’ll want to use a plain leash. You can use nylon or leather, but leather will give you the most control. These leashes come in a variety of lengths, for a large dog, you’ll want a leash no longer than 5 feet. If the leash is any longer than that, it will be difficult to maintain control of your dog. Once your dog is adept at walking on a regular leash, you can try walking him on a retractable leash.

Retractable leashes are nice to use once your dog can walk properly on a leash. Don’t use a retractable leash to teach your dog how to walk because it gives him mixed signals on how far ahead of you he can go without pulling. Also, retractable leashes by their very nature give you less control of your dog. Save this type of leash for when your dog is well behaved while walking.

Communication is Key to Dog Behavior Leash Training

Leash training is the ultimate in communication with your dog. When you’re on a walk together, you and your dog have the different goals – your dog wants to collect new smells and chase squirrels and birds, while you just want him to get some exercise and use the bathroom already. Training your dog to walk properly on a leash means that your dog will do what you want him to do and he’ll see that he can still get some smells in along the way.

How to Train Your Dog Walking on a Leash

training walking dog on leash

To train your dog to walk properly on a leash, use the following methods:

Part One: Prevent Pulling

1.       Take your dog to an open area and place your dog on his leash.

2.       Begin walking with your dog.

3.       When your dog begins pulling you in a particular direction, give your dog’s leash a little tug and begin walking in the opposite direction of where he’s pulling you.

4.       When your dog comes easily in the opposite direction and he doesn’t pull you forward, reward him with praise.

5.       Continue walking and do the turnaround whenever your dog begins to pull.

6.       The first time you do this with your dog, it will take him a little while to figure out that pulling gets him nowhere. When you walk your dog after this exercise, do the turnaround whenever necessary.

Additional Methods for Dog Walking on Leash

Part Two: Stay on Track

This part will help you when your dog sees something worth chasing and he pulls you off of your course toward an object.

1.       When your dog pulls you off of your path, say “No” while using a firm voice.

2.       At the same time, sharply tug your dog’s leash to place him back on the path.

3.       When your dog moves forward or looks at you or looks forward on the path, reward him with praise and a treat.

4.       Do this every time your dog attempts to derail you from your path while walking. Over time, it will only take you saying “No” for him to ignore the distraction and continue walking forward. 

Part Three: Stop and Start

While walking in your neighborhood or anywhere else, you’ll probably need to stop and start a few times through the walk. That’s where this part of the method comes in.

1.       When you need to stop at a traffic light or for another reason, stop your dog with a tug on his leash and say “Wait.”

2.       Give your dog the Sit command.

3.       When it’s okay for him to resume walking, say “Let’s go” and pull his leash forward while you walk.

4.       Your dog will quickly learn what the spoken commands mean, and over time he will immediately hesitate at street crossings or other places where you normally stop and start.