Dog Walk Etiquette: Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash
When you live in any community, big or small, it is necessary to keep your dog on a leash when you are out in public. It seems easy, right? Unfortunately, many dogs resist the leash and it can be a struggle to have a pleasant walk when they are squirming and miserable. The case for leashes is important, though, to keeping your pet and others safe. It’s a necessary part of training your dog, in fact.
This is why your friends at Redwood Veterinary Clinic are here to give you some expert tips on training your dog to walk on a leash. Let’s get going!
Tips for Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash
Leash walking is something all dogs need to know, whether they spend a lot of time outdoors or not. In fact, municipal laws dictate that dogs should be on leashes when they are in any public areas that are not deemed off leash dog parks.
There are some basics to know before you venture out with your bestie.
- Choose the right leash – We recommend a harness and leash system when you are training a puppy or leash resistant dog. It gives you more control while training and prevents any injuries to the neck and trachea. These should be used for tiny breeds for safety. However, a traditional leash and collar are fine if they are made of sturdy nylon or leather. Avoid retractable leashes as they have been known to cause injury.
- Start in the backyard – Instead of taking your dog right downtown, avoid noisy and busy areas by practicing in the backyard, getting your dog used to the feeling of being on a leash. Use your commands, such as “sit” and “stay” to see how well they respond. Move to the front yard, then around the block when they continue to gain confidence.
- Stop and start – Any time your pet starts to get antsy or pulls, get them to sit down. Stay until they are calm, then say, “let’s go” and continue on your path. Wait for them to calm down each time before moving forward. This will train them to know that they can only move when they aren’t pulling ahead.
- Cross over when you see other dogs – If your pet reacts to dogs or other animals, cross the street when you see them approach. Likewise, move your dog over to a lawn and have them sit until the other animal has passed by with their owner.
- Turn around when there is trouble brewing – If your dog reacts to another dog, person, squirrel, or any animals in the midst, turn and go. This avoids any negative interactions with others and gets your pet’s attention to rest on you once again, rather than the trigger.
- Reward your pet – While you are training them to walk on a leash, give them a small treat as a reward. Each time they follow a command or walk without pulling, give them verbal praise and a treat. (Extra points when they behave while a pesky squirrel runs by!)
The Leash Reactive Dog
Some dogs are prone to escape or resistant to a leash when on them. In some dogs, it can be a fear or phobia for them to feel confined in any way. There are certain causes for this behavior, including:
- Lack of training with basic commands
- Fear of strangers, other animals, noise, etc.
- Traumatic experience in their development
- Frustration over one too many stimuli in their surroundings
- Other dogs that are off leash can create tension and fear
If your dog isn’t jibing with the leash, please reach out to us. We can offer suggestions and a behavioral consult for your pup.
Success with Leash Walking
With a lot of practice and consistency, your dog will soon learn how to walk on the leash with ease. Much of this requires practice, understanding triggers or barriers to your training, and redirecting your dog with rewards based training. If you have any questions about leash walking your best friend, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us.