It’s a beautiful morning out at the local park. It’s all shiny and effervescent. So, you decide to take a leisurely stroll with your furry friend.
Unfortunately for your beloved dog and you, the leash is barely enough to restrain his excitable senses. Every minute, he stops to nudge or smell the surface of an ordinary rock or take a leak near the occasional fallen tree branch.
Although the first few times you let it slide, you slowly grow tired of your dog continuously straining against his bounds.
This is where leash training comes in handy.
Luckily for you, we have put together all relevant information regarding the subject in this article so you can leash train your dog in the comfort of your local park. No fancy gadgets or trainers required.
Stuff You’ll Need to carry out the Training Session
When leash training, go for a harness no longer than 6 foot, somewhere between 4 to 6 foot should be fine.
Before you get to the actual techniques, it would be immensely helpful to you if you keep the following in mind:
Ensure that your training sessions are short and frequent until your dog is fully accustomed to walking without straining against his leash. Dogs are easily excitable and not focused enough for longer sessions.
Now onto the how. The following are the techniques to follow for a calmer, more poised dog so both of you can enjoy your walks.
Keep in mind that the last 2 techniques involve minor punishments and should only be used if the former two haven’t been successful. Pay special attention to the safety of your dog while doing them.
Look for signs of cowering, whimpering or any scared behavior. If the punishment methods frighten them or don’t work for long, discontinue immediately.
1. Play a Game of Statues
When you’re out walking your dog and he begins yanking his restraints at the end of his leash, become a statue!
Once he calms down, call him back to you and order him to sit. Say “yes” and hand him a treat.
As you resume walking again, whenever he looks at you or stays nearby, give him a reward. This ingrains the thought that the aforementioned behaviors are positive and will get him rewarded.
If he begins tugging again, repeat the pattern above.
In the event that he pulls against his leash out of curiosity for a roadside object, become a statue and do as said before. But, if he comes back to you, give him the object he desires to satiate his wonder.
2. Entice with a Tasty Incentive
Hold out your free hand about an inch from your dog’s nose and load it with treats. Bring along a bag full of treats for this purpose. Pop a treat into your dog’s mouth every few seconds for good behavior.
If your dog goes ahead, stop. Call him or her back and reward for following the order.
Do this for a week and then stop holding out your hand for the next week. Give your dog a treat every second for not veering off your intended path.
Consistently increase the number of steps he walks between treats.
3. Turn Around and Let the Leash Check Him
When your dog is excitedly running towards something and tugging at the leash, take a swift turn. The leash will check your dog and in a few moments, and he’ll run to catch up to you. Reward him when he does so.
Your dog will quickly learn that struggling with the leash will make him feel unpleasant whenever it keeps him in check. This discourages his struggling behavior.
Additionally, let your dog know what he’s doing is wrong by loudly commanding “easy” as he gets to the end of the leash. Say “Yes” when he turns around to come to you.
Make sure that your dog doesn’t get hurt when you do this. Allow your limb to absorb most of the pressure from the leash when you make the turn.
4. Tug His Collar to Curb Straining
As you walk your dog and he gets dangerously close to the end of the leash, say “easy” and if he begins reducing his speed, say “yes”. Give him a treat if he turns back to you. Otherwise, a small, quick upward movement should curb this behavior.
Ensure that your arms are bent at the elbow to do this. Don’t allow your dog to stretch your arms out when he is struggling against the leash.
Be aware that this could potentially cause injury to your dog so do this extremely carefully.
Don’t do this if your dog has on a choke, pinch or prong collar, or any head halter.
For Dogs Who Don’t Respond Well to Leashes
Often these dogs are just scared. To soothe them, pick a quieter place for walking and offer treats frequently. Send lots of praise their way.
You can appease their nervousness by distracting them such as making eye contact, or petting the dog or shaking his paw.
Some small dogs can be picked up by the back of their harness and helped along a few inches of the path to start walking again if they suddenly stop.
The goal is to make your dog feel used to the leash. Familiarizing him with the area and making him feel safe there can help achieve this, so does practice.
Instead of walks, both of you can even spend a quiet evening on a park bench.
If all else fails, consult a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) in your area.
Remember, consistency is key. Doing this as much as possible will instill the habit of gracefully walking without fighting restraints in your dog.
No matter how long it takes, it will eventually come to any and every dog.
If you begin his training now, those peaceful park walks aren’t far off!
Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.