What Every Pet Owner Should Know About Leash Training
There are many reasons to commit to obedience training for your dog. But the benefits go far beyond basic manners. In fact, sticking to the rules of dog training can help them find – and maintain –their rightful place in the household.
Learning to follow commands like “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” can also prevent dogs from chasing prey, running into traffic, or encountering wildlife. But one of the greatest assets is leash training. When dogs know your expectations, you can both enjoy walks or runs together even more.
A Big Deal
To those unaccustomed to leash training, it can seem like a no-brainer. But leash training isn’t always intuitive to dogs, and certainly doesn’t come easy to most dog owners. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see dogs pulling on the leash, and owners allowing the action to continue.
How to Begin
The place to start is with the gear. Your dog should have a 6-foot leash and a snug-fitting collar around the neck. Martingale collars can work well for dogs developing their leash training skills.
Many breeds benefit from harnesses, too; especially ones that allow you to clip on the front to minimize pulling and straining.
Hopefully your dog is enrolled in our upcoming Behavior Training Classes. In addition to mental stimulation, socialization and physical exercise, they will learn basic commands from professional dog trainer Derrick Rollerson.
When you go for walks together, talk to your dog before, during and after the activity. They should demonstrate a grasp of a certain keyword, such as heel, stop, or stay with me, or to help them meet a certain expectation.
Use this word when you want to walk. The goal is for them to walk in step with you at your side.
Troubleshooting Leash Training
Do not allow your dog to run ahead, lunge, or pull on the leash. Stop walking and command them to sit and stay with you. Only when they follow your directions should you give the proper keyword for “let’s get moving”.
Continue in this way until they meet your standards for a pull-free walk. It will take time, but eventually they’ll figure out that they won’t be going anywhere if they pull on the leash.
Rewards Are So… Rewarding
Without a doubt, dogs are pretty distracted when outside. In order to gain and keep their attention, always have high-value treats at the ready. Offer praise, a happy tone of voice, and a few scratches to reinforce your point of view.
When you address your dog, and they look at you, reward them. Do not give treats when they aren’t giving you the results you want. After some time, your dog will know what you want, and you can begin to phase out their rewards or give them less frequently to keep them on their toes.
Successful Leash Training
Training your pet how to walk on-leash is one of the best things you can do as a responsible pet owner. Not only is it great for weight control, but going for runs together (or simple walkabouts through the park) strengthens the special bond you have. Sure, it may be easier to train a pet to walk on-leash from a young age, but given the time, dedication, and patience all pets can learn.
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