Dog Leash Training Tips – The Top 10 Mantra for You & Your Dog
Be it a teacup Pomeranian or the majestic Great Dane, proper leash etiquette are a must for any breed. So, if you wish to return from your leisurely stroll without a sore arm, it is necessary to incorporate a proper leash training regimen for your puppy in order to make sure that he turns out to be a well-behaved dog. It is always advisable to check out some dog leash training tips before starting to train your puppy.
Why Leash Training Is Important?
It is easy for the owner to get a little frustrated when a dog pulls on the leash. Sometimes, the owners even lose their temper which can result in reactions that cause an overall negative impact. Even your dog is likely to get uncomfortable due to the constant strain of a leash. This can give rise to anti-social behavior from the dog’s side.
Also, one of the most worrisome issues is the physical damage this constant pulling causes to your dog’s vertebrae and neck. So, in order to say goodbye to such problems, it is better to follow a leash training schedule right from the time when your dog is just a little puppy.
When Should You Start Training a Puppy To Walk On a Leash?
Walking politely on a leash isn’t something that comes naturally to dogs. But with some patience and proper training, there is no reason why you can’t have a tug-free walk with your furry friend.
This training has to start at an early age. It is not much of a task to make your 7-8 weeks old puppy obey short commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “down.” But same is not the case for leash training. A proper leash training should start when your dog is at least 3 months old.
Although vets recommend not taking puppies out to dog parks until they have all their shots completed you can begin the training at home. Till about 16 weeks, it is not a good idea to take your puppy out for a walk far away. During that time you can initiate the process of getting your pup accustomed to the collar and the leash before the real training begins.
What Type of Leash Is Best for Puppies?
Before diving straightaway into dog leash training tips it is necessary to decide the kind of leash that best suits your puppy. Since there is a wide variety of leashes to choose from, it can cause a lot of confusion. Here, we are talking about leash training for puppies. Their bodies are delicate, so you’ve got to be extra careful while making the choice.
1. Standard Leashes
Standard leashes are the most common types of leashes that are suitable for use with puppies as well as adult dogs. They are affordable and made up of nylon or leather. They are one of the excellent choices for puppies as they are gentle yet sturdy. It enables you to maintain a certain level of control at the same time enabling your puppy to move around comfortably.
2. Adjustable Leashes
Since retractable leashes aren’t the best ones for the training process, adjustable leashes can come in handy. This helps in various stages of training your puppy. When you are just initiating a training schedule you can adjust such leashes to a shorter length. Gradually increase the length as the training proceeds. Since these leashes consist of various locks and hooks there are fewer chances of choking if properly used.
3. Chain Leashes
Chain leashes are one of the best and the most versatile types of leashes available in the market. The best part about such leashes is that they come in various sizes. That makes it suitable for puppies, grown-up dogs as well as dogs of all breeds irrespective of their build, size and strength.
If your puppy tends to chew a lot on the leash, perhaps a standard leash isn’t a good idea in such a situation. A chain leash wouldn’t get damaged even if your dog is habitual of chewing on leashes. It can control even the strongest and most powerful dog breeds. Although you need to monitor this leash chewing and take some action because the chain can damage your puppy’s teeth in case of excessive chewing.
4. Martingale leash
This one is for the dogs who tend to pull. It tightens itself when pulled around the dog’s neck. Don’t worry, it will not choke them. It just gives some pressure as a reminder such that the dog stays in required space. This leash can prove to be quite effective during the initial stages of training as it won’t let your dog get habitual of tugging.
5. Seat Belt Leash
There are times when you can’t avoid transporting your dog in a vehicle. This is when a seatbelt leash can prove to be of great use as it secures your puppy comfortably in the back seat. This way your pup can enjoy an amazing car ride along with getting used to the leash. A seat belt leash holds your puppy and avoids distractions. It is also a good safety measure as the additional security can protect your dog in case of an accident.
Top 10 Dog Leash Training Tips
Even if you are dying to show around the neighborhood your new puppy you know that you can’t just head out the door with a collar around his neck and a leash in your hand. So, the idea is to gradually ease into having a nice outdoor time with your four-legged friend.
Now that we have elaborated the importance of leash training and some of the best types of leashes suitable for puppies, let us dive into what actually goes into training your dog successfully. Here are some dog leash training tips to get you started right away.
1. Introduction of The Collar
Be it crate training, leash training or anything else, the idea is to associate positivity to any process. This is one of the most essential dog leash training tips that you should follow at every stage of your training. No training should be forced upon your dog. You can introduce your puppy to a collar and a leash even when he is just a few weeks old. But the main thing that matters in this situation is timing. You have to spot the time when your pup is the happiest such as eating, playing, and then slip on the collar.
Introduce your puppy to a collar initially without the leash. Let the pet sniff it well, play with it. Then tie it around the neck and let your pet get used to the feeling of a collar.
Keep on doing the activity that pleases your pet and then slowly let him get used to the change. He shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this addition. Make the collar and the leash a part of the fun time. If your puppy fights against it try distracting him with his favorite chew toy or treats. This can comfort your puppy and aid in making these accessories more familiar.
During any training process, safety gains the top priority. If you notice your dog being more aggressive or pulling the leash then use a no-pull harness. Also keep a regular check on your leash and collar, if you notice that its snap is not working as it should then you need to replace the piece quickly.
The size of the collar matters the most. Take utmost care that you don’t suffocate your dog. A trick is to check whether two fingers slide easily when the dog is wearing the collar. Always have a tag of your name and address on the collar. Like we said safety first, we know the pain and grief of a missing dog. To avoid such an unfortunate situation make sure you follow this step.
3. The Indoor Walk
Once your puppy gets used to the idea of a collar and a leash it’s time to try and make him walk with it. Let him roam around the house on his own for a bit. Then slowly you can follow him, hold the leash and start walking with him. Hold some of his favorite toys or a treat in your other hand so that your pup enjoys the whole process.
Walk him around the living space, all the while playing with him or treating him occasionally when he shows positive signs. Guide him to his play area filled with his favorite toys. Let him play for a little bit and walk with him in that area.
These tiny furry bodies have less attention span and that’s why you will have to keep this session short. Don’t overdo this as it can cause exhaustion in your pet and make him dislike the leash time. Make him walk towards the treat or his favorite toy while on the leash.
Next, give your dog a cue. It can be something like a clap, a phrase or a whistle. This cue again coupled with treat time adds to making the accessories more approachable for the dog.
4. Be Watchful of Your Reactions
Even if your puppy tends to give you a hard time during the training process, refrain from yelling or reacting in a negative manner. Do not try to scare him or force the leash on him. It is natural to want to pull in the other direction if your pet doesn’t obey you. This is where you have to exercise maximum control over your reactions. Remember, the success of your training is directly determined by your reactions.
Use flat, easy to clip collars. Be calm and patient when dealing with the dog who is yet to get used to a collar. The more negative reactions you give the more afraid dog will be of a leash.
Make sure that you use lightweight and comfortable collars. The heavy chained ones tend to feel uncomfortable. They’ll never be a favorite for your puppy.Whenever you start holding the leash, don’t direct your pet straightaway. Have an open space in your backyard and instead of directing the dog by pulling the leash. Just follow him as he goes. This ensures your pet does not feel trapped or controlled.
5. Taking The Lead
Always remember that you are training the dog to obey you and you are the leader. Never let it be the other way round. Begin with the control part of the training now. Step out of the house before your dog and let him follow you. Similarly, step in before him and let him wait patiently while you are taking your shoes off. It is important to exhibit a leading body language while training your puppy.
You should lead your dog while going for a walk. Don’t walk behind him. He should either walk beside you or behind you. If you let him lead the walk then it will lead your pup to think that he is the pack leader which can pose great difficulties during your training sessions.
When walking if your dog tends to move away from you, do not flow with his direction. Instead, stay firm at your position. Don’t jerk the leash but you don’t have to entertain this behavior either. Stay calm and when your dog realizes that there is no point pulling, it will either calm down and rest or move towards you. This is where you need to react positively. Praise your pet or treat them. This tricks your pet into the idea that calm behavior and staying close to you will get them treats and goodies and thus encourage more obedience.
6. Punish Where Necessary
First and foremost, by punishment, we don’t mean a harsh one. Remember, you not rewarding your pet is a big punishment itself. It is a natural instinct in dogs to please their owners. They realize when the owner is disappointed. A puppy quickly learns what makes his owner happy and what doesn’t.
7. Excessive Barking
Some of the dogs have a tendency to bark at any random thing such as a car moving past it or another dog. This could indicate a lack of exercise. Make sure your pet gets enough of stimulating activities according to his breed so that there is a positive source of releasing the built-up energy.
It is necessary to identify what agitates your dog and cause him to bark. Next time when you come near a source of agitation give your dog a treat before he starts barking. This way he will get distracted and your training will remain unhampered.
8. The Importance of Appropriate Rewarding
When you step out of the house with your dog there is a wide variety of stuff that can catch his attention. This is where small treats come in handy. A happy tone in your voice and treats will direct his attention to you amidst all the scents and sights out there ready to be explored by your canine buddy.
Do not forget to pet and praise him when he follows your command. After wandering a bit when he comes back to you, give him a treat. This way you teach your dog that if he pays attention to you, he gets rewarded. You might need to use the treats frequently in the beginning phases of your training to catch his attention. Gradually increase the interval for giving out treats. This is useful for making your puppy get an idea of what you are expecting of him before you hand out a treat.
In the later stages of the training, do not treat every time otherwise your training will totally depend on the treat. Instead, reward your dog by petting him or saying “good boy/girl” with a smiling face. Your happiness itself is a treat for your pet.
9. Use a Short Leash
Leash training is not the time to allow too much freedom. You need to make your puppy learn to walk according to you and to obey your command. He should know that he has to follow you. A long leash will enable him to walk around randomly, thereby, making the training process all the more difficult for you. Attaching the leash to the top of the neck makes it easier for you to guide or correct your dog while walking.
Once you see your dog comfortable with the idea of a walk, take him for outings and let him socialize with other kids and animals in the park. Let other people pat and interact or play with your dog. The more social interaction he has the lesser will be the chance of your dog going crazy when you plan to take him alongside your daily grocery purchase. Plus there might be things and people that will make your pet more eager for the next trip to the park or walk. So, these were some dog leash training tips that can prove to be useful if you follow them correctly.
Challenges Faced While Leash Training and How To Tackle Them
Some dogs easily adapt to change while others give their owners a hard time. Even after following all the essential dog leash training tips you might face difficulties while leash training your dog. Let us take a look at some challenges that a dog owner might encounter during the process of leash training and ways to tackle them.
1. Tangling and Tripping
Tangling of the leash and tripping are some of the issues that arise due to the use of a long leash. The leash can get tangled in your puppy’s legs and injure him. In that case, just wrap the leash multiple times to your hand to shorten it and give yourself the required control. As stated earlier, a better option is to use a shorter leash at least during the training period.
2. Tugging and Pulling The Leash When Not Walking
The usual nature of a dog is to sniff and chew anything that they get their hands on. Same goes with leash and collar. Moreover, if your dog is just getting used to the new accessories but isn’t comfortable with them yet, he might try to pull on the collar or the least to get rid of them. There are more chances of this kind of a behavior to occur when both of you take a break from walking to rest. During the walk, your puppy might not notice the leash and the collar as there are plenty of things on the way to distract him. But once you halt, all his attention goes towards the new thing wrapped around his neck. When you halt, try to keep his mind off the leash by bringing along some of his favorite toys.
3. Pulling Away From You
Puppies by nature get distracted easily, and when you’re out for a walk they might pull themselves away from you. If you notice that you are having a very hard time then invest in a harness style collar. This reduces the chances of injury and does not allow the dog to move away as swiftly as it can with a normal flat collar. Next, try to hold the leash in the direction opposite to where your dog is. If your dog is walking to your left then hold the leash in your right hand and the treat in your left. This helps in keeping your dog close by.
4. Lagging behind:
This could be a warning sign if all this while your dog has been walking alongside you and one day it just tends to lag behind slow down. It might indicate poor health and it’s time for a trip to the vet. But if he has always been lagging behind then it might indicate fear. In this case keep encouraging your dog by brushing his hair softly, patting gently, praising and giving treats when he comes near you.
If you stop by to make small purchases or meet a friend on the way, your pet needs to learn how to stay calm without being fussy. But if he shows signs of restlessness then it is time to take charge and eliminate this kind of a behavior for good. For this, you need to indicate a treat but not hand it over to your pup. This means you can let your dog sniff at his favorite meal and then close it in your fist. This fist now indicates his favorite meal and it ensures he is not distracted by outsiders or other dogs and remains close to what it loves the most.
It is fun to have a faithful four-legged companion and I say this on behalf of every dog parent, the puppy days are just adorable. Puppies are playful, loving, and before I forget to mention, cute as a button. But when it comes to discipline, it is all about training and there is absolutely no room for any kind of laxity. Crate training, leash training and so much more goes into making your pup grow into an intelligent, obedient and good mannered dog. All you need to do is be firm and consistent. If you reward appropriately for your dog’s obedience, in no time the outdoor trips will become one of the best leisure times that you can enjoy with your canine buddy. Make the training process fun so that it becomes a bonding opportunity as well.
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