Dog Leash Training
Dogs are free-spirited animals. They love to walk around carefree and play as long as they want. Their energy level is so high that humans can’t match their spontaneity and activeness.
So when you bring a dog to your home, your priority should be to control its hyperactive behavior. It doesn’t mean you should always keep an eye on your dog.
You should be with your dog until it learns the rules you have set and then follows it whenever you ask it to do so. One of the ways to teach your dog to behave is to put it on a leash.
Every dog should be made to undergo dog leash training. The training makes the dog get accustomed to the leash and stops it from straying when you take it out for a walk.
Loose leash walking should be a routine for your dog. It ensures that the dog remains calm under any circumstances. It also helps you to strengthen the bonding between you and the dog.
People assume that dogs are wired inherently to walk properly on a leash. But they need some time to get accustomed to the leash and understand that it is there for its protection.
Leash Training your Dog
You shouldn’t try to force the leash on your dog if it is resisting it.
Most of the dogs take time in learning about the leash and its significance in their life. You should take it slowly and follow certain steps while leash training your dog.
1. Introducing your Dog to the Leash
All dogs react in a certain way when you introduce them to new things. They may bark, yelp, show resistance, or run away when you put something new before them.
The key is to take it slowly.
Putting a collar or harness around the dog’s neck or body and allowing it to roam around without a leash should be the first step.
Make sure that your dog is comfortable in the collar. Once it gets accustomed to collar or harness, tuck the leash in it and make your dog walk or run around.
Don’t immediately start pulling and dragging your dog using the leash. Also, don’t take your dog out immediately after introducing it to a leash.
Let it roam around your home and backyard freely. A few such sessions would make the dog comfortable on a leash.
2. Familiarizing with Commands
Familiarize your dog with commands that ready it to get leashed. During the initial period of training, the dog may not immediately get ready to be leashed.
Preparing it to get ready to be leashed using certain commands would help the dog make up its mind.
Commands may be a clicking sound, cluck of the tongue, or a short instruction.
Asking your dog to come to you and sit still, for a few seconds before you leash your dog, settles its nerves. Repeat the process a couple of times a day to familiarize your dog with commands.
3. Walking with Leash on your Dog
Once your dog gets accustomed to the collar and leash, start walking in your home with your dog for a few steps.
Don’t hold the leash while you are walking along with the dog. Let your dog get the feel of the leash around its body.
This allows the dog to learn how to manage the leash and get the sense that you are dog-training lead.
Repeat the process a few times a week and keep increasing the duration of the walk according to the response of your dog to the leash.
4. Indoor Practice
The dog slowly but surely gets the hang of the leash with all the practice and commands. At this stage, you should start teaching the dog to walk with the leash indoors.
The walking sessions should be short in the beginning but gradually increase in duration. Keep the leash loose so that the dog understands that a leash is not some tool, which hinders its movement.
After a few sessions, try to control the movement of the dog by tightening the hold of the leash.
Mild jerks and drags should be employed to teach the dog that you are not satisfied with its movement. Use commands if necessary to discipline your dog.
5. Outdoor Practice
Taking your dog outdoors on a leash is the last step in dog leash training. By this time, your dog should be thoroughly accustomed to the leash and the commands associated with it.
Taking outdoors will allow you to sense the response of your dog to the leash. Socializing your dog with other dogs on a leash would ensure the dog that it’s not the only one on a leash.
Start with short walks and keep increasing the duration and distance of the outdoor walks until your dog gets comfortable on a leash. If the dog lunges, drags, or gets distracted, use the commands to calm your dog.
How to Handle an Erratic Dog on a Leash?
You may face some difficulties or encounter sudden behavior of your dog in the initial period of leash training. This usually happens when you take your dog out on a leash.
Your dog may lunge, bark, or pulls due to the outside distraction. You should handle such situations with ease and remain calm.
If your dog starts pulling you in a different direction, you should not try to yank or drag the dog.
You just stand still until your dog understands that its behavior is not acceptable.
You can use head halters or front-hook harnesses if your dog doesn’t stop pulling.
Your dog may lunge when it sees some object or other dog. In such cases, try to distract the dog using an object like a toy or stick.
If that trick fails, try to grab its attention with a treat.
All dogs bark when they go outside. If your dog has a habit of barking excessively, it means it is not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation.
Playing with your dog whenever you get time would make the dog get the required exercise.
Keep your dog engaged as much as possible so that it forgets barking unnecessarily.
Pampering with treats and showing lots of love whenever your dog obeys a command would make the dog learn everything in a quick time.