Date Published: January 13, 2018, Updated: February 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm, Author: Alice
Despite having a reputation as one of the most domesticated animals on earth, dogs are not really born ready for the things pet owners expect them to do. Being leashed is one of these. Walking on a leash is not exactly harmful to the dog (provided that you do it correctly,) but dogs are not instinctively aware of how to act while on a leash. You have to train them. Here is how you can start:
Before you go ahead with the leash, you first need to make him comfortable wearing a collar. Make him wear the collar for gradually increasing periods of time. Make sure you keep playing and giving him treats in order to associate “collar” time with positive experiences.
You can use any sound cue (like a word or a click of your tongue) to call your dog’s attention. Once he does, reward him with an awesome treat, such as a monster size bully stick. Over time, the dog will associate the cue with the treat, and you can use it to make him come over and put on the leash.
This should be done while wearing the collar and leash. Call him with the cue, then back up a bit when he gets to you. When he finally catches up, give him a treat. Repetition and progression is key. Just keep in mind that dogs have short attention spans, so the sessions should be short but frequent.
By the time the dog finally learns how to come to you, you can practice walking a few steps but try to do it at home at first, so that he will be in a familiar, comfortable place. Minimize distractions because the leash alone will be distracting the dog at first.
Once the dog finally gets the hang of walking on a leash, it is time to take him outside. There will be new challenges as the outdoors will come with plenty of distracting sights, sounds, smells. Just remember all the principles used in the earlier steps. It all boils down to rewarding your dog with treats when he does the steps right, and calling his attention when needed.
Should you need leave your pet for a longer period of time – check out these handy tips to help his overcome separation anxiety.