A very common question, dog training leash walking – where to begin? that nearly all dog owners will ask. Leash training should begin as soon as possible so your dog gets used to the idea and wearing a collar.
Leash training your dog begins with getting the correct collar type for your dog and getting the right leash that suits your dog and that you can use comfortably. Begin the leash training right away so the walks will be a pleasure and not dreaded.
In this article I’m going to go over dog collars and leashes and choosing the best ones for you and your dog, which is the key to having success right away. Next I’m going to go over how to train your dog to walk with a leash. As well I will look at various problems you’ll have and how to deal with them.
Choosing Your Dogs Collar and Material
The secret to dog training leash walking is have the right collar and leash; begin by determining what the collar needs to do for your dog. Is the collar going to be worn all the time? Is it going to be used for training, or only used when you’re taking your dog for a walk?
Many dog owners use their dog’s collar as a means of identification in the event your dog gets away. Some dog parks and day cares may have some requirements as to type of collar you dog can use while there.
The 6 Types of Common Dog Collars
Number 1] Buckle Collar… This is very similar to a belt buckle most folks wear and has several holes so it can be adjusted as your dog grows. This is a good option for your dog if you’re going to be keeping their collar on most of the time. Very often leather and other strong materials will use the buckle up collar.
Pros and Cons of the Buckle Collar
– Very easy to attach tags.
– Works well for dog obedience training.
– Many different sizes and is easy to adjust.
– Good choice for a puppy that will be growing.
– Can cause a dog to pull if the leash is held too tight during walking.
– Excessive pulling from your dog can put pressure on their neck and trachea.
– Fairly easy for the buckle collar to slid off during walking, especially if your dog is excited easy.
Number 2] Quick Release Collar… This type uses a male/female connector which is faster to put on your dog then the standard buckle collar.
– Easy and fast to install and remove.
– Very easy to attach tags.
– Many different sizes and is easy to adjust.
– Can come off when tightened.
– Very easy to remove.
– Not as secure and the dog can get loose in stressful situations.
Number 3] Center Ring Dog Collar… Also known as the safety ring collar, the extra ring that’s located about half way between the buckle end. You’ll be using this type if your dog is going to be used in hunting activities.
– Fully adjustable.
– Protects dog from choking if collar gets hung up.
– Center ring can be used to attach the leash.
– Keeps the collar facing forward when using leash.
– Easier to connect leash without having to spin collar.
– Not a good choice for a working dog or one that spends a lot of time outside, there’s a higher risk of the extra ring getting caught on something putting your dog at risk.
Number 4] Martingale Collar… This dog collar has 2 loops, the larger loop goes over your dog’s head, and you then attach your leash to the smaller loops ring. There are some martingale collars that use a small chain.
When you dog pulls the smaller chain loop gets tighter which brings the larger loop tighter on the dog’s neck. This is very similar to a choker chain type collar.
– Quite easy to put on and adjust and your dog will feel comfortable with it.
– To prevent accidental choking the martingale collar will have limited room to tighten up around their neck.
– More secure from preventing your dog from slipping out during walks. A good choice for a dog collar when they easily get out of a buckle type when excited.
– Doesn’t help a lot with a dog that pulls.
– Not designed to be used on your dog if left unattended for the higher risk of choking. There is a chance the smaller loop can get caught on objects so supervision is necessary.
Number 5] Chock Type Collar… I’m not a fan of dog training leash walking using a chock type collar. While they may be necessary with a large breed dog most dogs can be controlled without using these.
– When used for teaching a dog they bring very fast results.
– Often used incorrectly which can injure the dog.
– Also can cause serious injuries to the dog especially to the trachea and in some cases vertebrae injury.
– Not correctly used could have the dog have negative experiences that may lead to the dog being more aggressive.
– Strangulation can occur as there’s no built in safety to prevent the chock chain from causing injury or even death. If you choose this type of collar you dog needs to be under constant supervision.
Number 6] Dog Harness… This may be a good choice if your dog is always pulling when going for walks. A harness can assist with teaching your dog good walking habits.
– Great for walking several dogs at the same time.
– Provides much better control and is a good option if you have to walk your dog on a busy highway or somewhere with lots of distractions.
– Helps eliminate pulling because there’s no advantage to pulling as compared to a regular collar which gives the dog some freedom forward when they pull.
– Works good for a dog that likes to jump, the harness allows for greater control for you without having to be concerned about choking your dog.
– A good choice for teaching puppies to walk.
– Works wonders on dogs that get distracted easily.
– A poorly fitting harness can allow for chest and neck injury.
– Can lead to hard breathing and skin issues if not used correctly.
Choosing Your Dogs Leash
You’ll have various types and styles and lengths to choose from and it’s important to choose a leash that’s going to be right for your dog breed. There are even leash’s make for training purposes, all have the purpose and that’s to keep your pet safe while out for walks. I’m going to look at the 2 basic leashes:
Number 1] Regular Dog Leash… Used for walking your dog and for training your dog. Typically constructed from nylon material and leather, you can get leashes made from cotton and those that use rubber, however not as common and not a strong and long lasting.
The nylon and leather leashes are good choices for use with adult dogs and can also be used for training your puppy. Depending on your needs you can get these leashes in lengths from 4 feet and longer. I personally like a 6 foot leash which allows room for my dog to move and the right length for excellent control.
I’m going to recommend the “ADITYNA Heavy Duty Leather Dog Leash” A great leash that’s strong and soft. And it has a 2 year guarantee… Check it out here on Amazon.
Number 2] Retractable Leashes…While retractable leashes let you adjust the length of the leash and lock it to the length and you can release it any time you need to. These retractable dog leashes have become rather popular, there are a few things you should know about them before buying one.
– With the large amount of line it can be easier for your dog to get tangled up and be at a higher risk of strangulation.
– Despite the popularity of retractable leashes it can promote your dog to pull on the leash, and if you allow them to have more leash line they can go where they want and this can lead into a bad habit.
– If for some reason you need to keep your dog at your side you will call them and lock the leash at a shorter length. Now you’re confusing your dog, usually when they pull on the lease they get more line, and then at times you shorten the lease and keep them at your side.
I don’t like to use a retractable leash, especially when you’re starting your dog training leash walking. Once you have trained your dog to behave while on their leash you can go to the retractable leash for certain occasions. You can see Amazon’s line of retractable leashes here.
Training Your Dog to Walk On a Leash
Ok…Let’s get into how to leash train a dog. In this section I’m going to give you some tips for leash training a puppy, in the next section I’ll go over how to leash train an older dog.
Number 1] Begin by getting your puppy used to their collar and leash, put the collar on for short periods on time, this will help your puppy get used to the feel of the collar. Do this for a few times and then attach the leash to the collar and reward good behavior with a treat.
Number 2] Now it’s time to use a sound or word as a cue that there treat is coming, you can use a dog clicker or a sound you can make or a simple word like “yes” or “good boy/girl”. Take your puppy to a quiet area without any distractions having them wearing their collar and with the leash attached.
Now make the sound you’re going to associate with the treat, when your puppy turns to see you give a treat. This may take a few times to get your puppy to pay attention to you when they hear the sound. They may begin to come to use for the treat when you make the sound.
Number 3] Using the sound and while there on the leash and your puppy is coming to you for the treat take up the slack and take several steps in the direction and then stop and reward with a treat.
Keep practicing making the sound and getting your puppy to take several steps with you while you’re walking. Keep in mind that puppies don’t have a long attention span so keep these training sessions short. It’s better to end the session while the puppy is still eager rather than wait until they are tired of it.
Number 4] Practice indoors, and continue to praise your puppy and reward good behavior with a treat. This may take a few times of practice until your puppy is content to wearing the collar and walking with you with the leash.
Number 5] Now you’re ready to put your skills to work by going outside and practicing the steps you used indoors, remember that there will be more distractions outside, so be patient and only practice for short periods.
Here’s a good video on dog training leash walking:
Training an Older Dog to Walk On a Leash
Many folks believe it’s going to be difficult to leash train and older dog, while it can be much easier to leash train a puppy. Leash training an older dog is going to need more patience, kindness and love.
For whatever reason you have decided to take on the responsible of caring for an older dog, if you’re ready to get your new dog leash walking you’ll need to give some extra time and effort. Your efforts will pay off and you’ll have a dog and friend who will enjoy walking with you.
Just like leash training a puppy you need to make sure you have the correct harness and that it fits your dog correctly, as well get the leash that suits you and your dog. Have some treats on hand to reward you dog for good behavior. And remember to keep encouraging and praising your dog during the training process.
Leash training an older dog will mean you may have to deal with some habits they already have, so it’s vital that you and your dog work out issues with “leash pulling” which is a common habit with older dogs. While training and your dog begins to pull on the leash, just stop walking and wait for them to calm down.
If your dog waits calmly be sure to praise them and reward them with a treat. Begin the leash training with several shorter walks during the day; this might take a few days and being an older dog they will quickly learn that pulling on the leash doesn’t help matters.
Leash Training Your Dog to Walk By Your Side
While your training your dog to walk behaved on his leash you should be teaching them to walk by your side. As a general rule of thumb dogs are typically kept on the left side of the person walking them.
The secret to keeping your dog on your side is using a leash that’s short enough which keeps them close to you on the side you want. To shorten the leash just wrap it over your wrist several times. Make sure that’s is not to short so your choking or dragging your dog.
If you’re having a difficult time getting your dog to stay on the side you want you can use treats to encourage them. Your dog will begin to learn by repetition, so be patience and kind and keep praising them for good behavior.
How to Stop Your Dog From Leash Pulling
This is a very common problem when dog training leash walking and not being able to teach your dog to stop pulling on the leash has made many dog owners give up their dog. Leash pulling can become a big issue that can result in injury to you or your dog.
For whatever reason your dog pulls on the leash you’re going to need a plan and the correct equipment to help your dog overcome the leash pulling. There is an assortment of leashes, collars and harnesses that can be used to help you.
Please don’t use “prong collars” or a “choke chain” these types of collars will just make matters worse and your dog will just get used to the pain they give. There are milder shock collars if you have to use this degree of enforcement.
One option is using a front clip harness which will mean when your dog pulls they will go to the side and one leg if lifted higher than the other. Great option for a dog that pulls hard, make sure it is fitted correctly and used correctly. You can get more information here on Amazon.
Not for full time use, I recommend you use it as needed for training as it can cause long term issues from having their weight moved off center. However if you’re working with a dog that pulls a lot you can consider a rear clip harness or halter for training them.
Training your dog especially for leash pulling will require you to have lots of patience and kindness. There will be times that you’re going to be frustrated, don’t give up teaching your dog will pay off.
Dog training leash walking may seem overwhelming at times, this is a commitment to your beloved pet and well worth the effort required. I hope you have found this article helpful training your dog to walk on a leash. Thanks for reading and give it a share.