Let’s face it; dog leash training can be a real headache for many dog owners. This is especially true if you own a strong and active breed like a Pitbull Terrier or Boxer. Both of these breeds are infamous for their dog leash training pulling habits when you’re attempting to instill a good walking technique.
Leash training adult dogs can be harder than a puppy simply because of their sheer size and strength. However, the proper dog leash training techniques are effective regardless of your dog’s age or size. If you have a new puppy or even an older dog that needs to learn new tricks, these dog leash training tips can make your life much easier.
Why is Dog Leash Training Important?
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you understand that they don’t just naturally walk with a leash. The proper dog leash training techniques will help ensure the proper understanding of being led without pulling.
Besides giving your arms relief, what makes dog leash training so crucial?
- Many owners get frustrated when their dog leash training tips they’ve learned don’t work. Leash training adult dogs is especially frustrating. When a dog begins to pull, some owners result to pulling back or even other forms of punishment that can be traumatizing to dogs. Understanding the proper dog leash training techniques will avoid the possibility of suddenly losing your cool and getting frustrated at your dog.
- Dogs get just as frustrated as we do when they’re pulled on. Usually, pulling from an ower during dog leash training warrants a pull right back from your dog. This breaks the ranks of the dog/owner dynamic and can cause substantial amounts of stress in them. These types of events can cause further behavior issues in the future.
- Dog leash training pulling from your dog will also lead to negative health consequences. When a tug of war ensues between you and your dog, there’s a significant amount of strain placed on their joints. This can be very detrimental to their physical health.
- Once the proper dog leash training techniques are employed, this creates a means of communication between you and your dog. A tight leash will demonstrate to your dog that you mean business. A tight leash on their end means they are scared or ready to engage in defense or attack mode.
- One of the most important elements of dog leash training is avoiding the chances your dog escapes your clutches and runs free. Nobody wants to end up with a lost dog, and obtaining the right dog leash training tips will avoid a runaway.
Is My Dog Too old for Dog Leash Training? Leash Training Adult Dogs
Your dog is never too old for dog leash training. Alternatively, a puppy is almost never too young to learn this crucial skill, either.
The more important question would be, “Is my dog too young for dog leash training?” Ideally, you want to start dog leash training around the ages of four to six weeks.
However, it’s understandable not everyone gets to raise their dogs from a puppy, so we make do with our situation the best we can.
What Do I Need for Dog Leash Training?
You won’t need many supplies for dog leash training, but the ones that are required are extremely vital, and you MUST ensure you have them to employ the techniques correctly.
- A leash. We recommend a quality leash that doesn’t pull or pinch and can withstand high amounts of tension.
- A collar or harness
- Dog treats
Assuming you’ve acquired the necessary items, you can begin training after you introduce the leash to your dog. This step is very important. We recommend completing this step even if you don’t have a puppy and your dog has been on a leash before. To correct challenging behavior, sometimes, you must restart the entire process.
Dog Leash Training Techniques: Introducing the Leash
Anything new in your dog’s life must be properly introduced. Let your dog get familiar with the leash for a day or two. Just leave it out somewhere in the open and allow them to smell it and get a feel for it.
After a day of familiarizing, you can attach the leash to their collar or harness. It shouldn’t be too big or heavy, because we don’t want to distract them with it. Allow them to walk around with the leash on inside but guided by your hand. Never let them run or walk freely without you holding the leash.
Dog Leash Training Techniques: Learning the Process
Use the following steps to properly employ the right dog leash training techniques. These steps should be followed the same whether you are leash training an adult dog or a puppy.
1. Let Them Walk on a Loose Leash
We don’t want to incorporate dog leash training pulling from the start. First, we’re going to practice with no leash.
- Let your dog walk with you in the home. Call your dog to your side, and once they complete this command, give them a treat. Continue to walk a few steps, then call them back to your side, rewarding them each time.
- Now apply the leash and repeat these steps, ensuring they receive a treat each time they successfully return to your side.
- After you feel this is successful inside the home, it’s time to move outside.
2. Training to Heel
Essentially, we’re going to repeat the process from Step 1, but we’re going to incorporate the “heel” command to train them to do it when we say.
- Come to a dead stop and call your dog to your side. Once they successfully complete this, give them a treat.
- Take a step or two forward, calling them back to your side. Repeat the rewarding process.
- Now, we’re going to continue moving at a slow pace. Don’t stop when you call your dog to your side. Continue to walk, only rewarding them when they return to your side. Even if they don’t complete the command, continue to move and attempt to guide them to your side without rewarding them. Only give them a treat when they successfully complete this task on your first command.
- After your dog consistently stays by your side, you can start using the “heel” command. It’s more effective if you teach the dog the act first, then incorporate the name of the command. This is less confusing for them.
- Continue to practice this until your dog easily responds to the “heel” command.
Now, let’s examine some of the more common problems experienced during dog leash training.
Common Dog Leash Training Problems and How to Fix Them
- Pulling on the leash. When your dog pulls on the leash, don’t pull back on them. Stop walking immediately and hold the leash with a tight grip. Calmly call them back to you, and praise them once they return to your side. Sometimes when your dog pulls during a walk, it’s a sign they need more exercise. This is a common issue with high-energy breeds.
- Lunging after other dogs or birds. Take back your dog’s attention with a treat. If you know your dog well, it’s possible to prevent lunging when you see them take a certain stance. Keep a considerable distance between the dog and the object they’re lunging toward.
- Excessive barking in public. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Play games with them and teach them new commands. Any activity that stimulates their mind and body will correct this issue.
When Should Your Dog Be on a Leash?
There are certain times when your dog MUST remain on a leash. This is either a matter of being a responsible owner. In some cases, an ordinance in the area you’re in requires your dog to be on a leash.
- If they’re untrained
- During wildlife breeding
- If they show aggressive tendencies
- In areas of high traffic
- If they are prone to running away
In areas where the law requires your dog to be on a leash, you could face a fine if you don’t adhere to these regulations.
Additional Dog Leash Training Tips
Leash training requires a lot of positive reinforcement. Don’t get angry or frustrated, and avoid yanking on their leash at all costs. Use the following dog leash training tips to effectively complete their training.
- Leash training increases the bond between you and your dog.
- Training may begin as young as four weeks
- Never pull on the leash
- Begin the training indoors before you move outdoors
- Always let your dog get familiar with the leash first
- Remain calm and positive to instill this same attitude in your dog
Additional Dog Leash Training Resources
If your dog is especially challenging when it comes to dog leash training or for extra help with leash training adult dogs, there are resources online that are very effective.
To leash train our rescue dog George, we used this training program, which was incredibly effective. The program uses positive reinforcement and behavior replacement techniques to correct challenging habits in dogs.
When we got George, he was almost two years old and came from an abusive environment. On top of that, he weighed nearly 100-pounds and is a Pitbull-Mastiff mix, so he’s incredibly strong. If this program worked for us, it can definitely work for you!
Remember, maintain that positive bond between you and your dog regardless of what you’re training them to do. Your attitude goes a long way in determining the way they feel, and it’s important to remain calm!