Training a dog to walk on a lead comfortably and safely is one of the most critical skills that you will teach your dog as a responsible pet owner.
Before you start, make sure you have the right equipment for training your dog. We recommend that you speak to your vet about the best type of harness and lead suitable for your dog’s breed. By getting the right equipment, you will ensure you get off to the best start and make the training much easier for your both.
Basic steps to lead training your dog
These steps follow guidelines from the Dogs Trust, an animal welfare charity and humane society which specialises in the wellbeing of dogs.
Allocate sufficient time for training your dog, as patience is essential. When you start walking with your dog, the second the lead starts to tighten, stop walking. Simply stand still and don’t move forward again until the lead is slack, then walk onwards.
Think of ways to reinforce positive behaviour whenever they are walking next to you on a loose lead. Keep some treats handy but out of the way. As your dog gets better, you can cut down on treats and phase them out completely. Remember to keep walking forwards as you give your dog treats to avoid stopping and starting. Consistency is key.
Train in a quiet and peaceful area. Walk up and down with no distractions so that your dog can get the hang of it quickly. It’s much easier for your dog to learn new behaviours in quiet places where they won’t be easily distracted.
It’s advisable not to take your dog out for training if they are agitated.
There are no shortcuts to training
Remember that the best advice for training your dog is consistency and patience. Some dogs master lead training quickly while others take their time. There is no right answer to how long it should take to train your dog. The important thing is to stay calm and collected. By doing this, your dog will gain confidence in you and is likely to accept walking on the lead more quickly.
If you are having some issues in lead training your dog, give your vet a call with the specific problem, and they will be happy to provide you with a few tips. Good training will make daily walks more fun for both ends of the lead.