How to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash? | DogExpress
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How to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash?

How do you train a dog to walk on a leash? Teaching this skill is quite easy if you are regular with training sessions.

This basic skill is essential since it is an important part of housetraining your pet.

By training your dog to walk on a leash, you will not only avoid accidents at home but also bring regularity and exercise into both your lives.

The guide below will teach you how to start leash training your dog.

How Do You Leash Train Your Dog

How Do You Leash Train Your Dog?

How do you train a dog to walk on a leash? Here are a few basic steps that you can follow to effectively train your dog to walk on a leash.

Get Your Dog Used To A Collar Or Harness

The first step to start the process of leash training involves getting your dog used to its collar. If you prefer, you could use a harness. Some dogs may find it more comfortable. 

Choose a collar or harness that is the right size for your dog.

Put the collar or harness on your dog, and reward them with a small treat. Let them get used to walking around the house with it on. This won’t take long, and they will barely notice it.

Australian shepherd attentive

Clicker Train Your Dog

Once they are comfortable in the collar or harness, hook the leash on. Now would be an ideal time to clicker train your dog. This is a very effective method that will prove to be of use when teaching your dog any skill. It involves making your dog associate the sound of a clicker with food. If you don’t have a clicker, you could click your tongue or use the command “here”. 

When your dog is walking around the house with the leash on, sound the clicker. When you get your dog’s attention, give it a small treat. Keep repeating this till your dog comes to you for a treat every time you use the clicker. The main purpose of clicker training is to get your dog to pay attention to you.

Train Your Dog Inside The House

You  may wonder, How long does it take for a dog to be leash trained? Keep in mind that the time varies from one dog to another. The process requires patience. For effective leash training, start really small. 

Begin by teaching the dog inside the house for more safety and less distraction. Also remember to keep your training sessions very short so as to not tire out your dog. There’s only so much that can be learned in a day.

Sound the clicker, and when your dog comes to you, give it a treat. Hold the leash, and take a few short steps around the house. If you find your dog lagging behind or darting forward, sound the clicker. This will ensure that your dog comes closer to you once again. Reward your dog. 

Make sure that your dog walks only to your left. If your dog crisscrosses from left to right, sound the clicker. When your dog returns to your left, reward it. Keep doing this till your dog understands that it has to be at your left at all times.

Start Training Outdoors

Start Training Outdoors

When your dog starts to get a hang of leash walking indoors, you can take it outside. If you have a big yard, you could use it as an intermediate practice zone. However, walking your dog on the road is a whole new ballgame.

Once you take your dog for a walk on the road, you may find it excited by everything. It may start darting forward or trailing behind. It will be distracted by vehicles, humans, and other dogs.

When your dog gets distracted, sound the clicker. Sound the clicker till your dog comes back to you. Once it does, reward it with a small treat. Keep doing this till your dog understands that it will be rewarded when keeps walking by your side.

Your first walk outside is sure to be stressful, so keep it short.

Practice Every Day

Regularity is key when it comes to making any training a success. Make sure that you take your dog for a walk first thing every morning. This will make your dog understand that he has to relieve himself outside the house. 

If all goes well, and your dog walks by your side without darting or lunging at anyone, sound the clicker and give a treat every now and then. Slowly start increasing the gap between treats. Your dog will soon feel that the walk, by itself, is a reward.

ALSO READ: Dog training methods: Should you use foods & treats

Training Different Kinds Of Dogs

Training Different Kinds Of Dogs

The training guide above may sound easy and almost utopian, especially if you own a canine that belongs to one of the stubborn dog breeds. So, how do you train a dog to walk on a leash if its temperament or age is a problem? The guide below will tell you.

Training A Hyper Dog

It could take you about five or more weeks to train a young dog to walk on a leash. If your dog is submissive and generally very calm, it can take a lot less time.  

However, most dogs are excitable when they are young. And then, there are certain breeds that are very high on energy.

Learning how to train a hyper dog to walk on a leash is a matter of patience and a lot of positive reinforcement. Every time you notice your dog keeping to your left without pulling, sound the clicker and reward it. Soon enough, your dog will make the connection. If your dog starts to pull and behave erratically, stop walking. Once your dog comes back to you, sound the clicker, reward it with a treat and continue walking.

Training A Stubborn Dog


Training A Stubborn Dog

If you’re wondering how to teach a stubborn dog to walk on a leash, the first thing to remember is patience. If your headstrong dog refuses to move when you want to, stay put.

Once your dog begins to move, sound the clicker and reward your dog. Keep doing this every time your dog refuses to move. Over time, your dog will make its stops a lot shorter so as to be rewarded.

On the other hand, if your dog keeps lunging at other dogs or people, you will need to distract it. Distract your dog by showing a treat in your other hand. Once your dog sees the treat and comes to you, sound the clicker and hand over the treat. This too will involve frequent repetitions before your dog stops lunging.

Training An Older Dog

Training An Older Dog

Leash training is a basic skill that should ideally be taught when your dog is quite young. However, it is never too late. Learning how to leash train an older dog can be easy if you take it slowly.

Follow all the steps in the training guide, but consider spending more time on each step than you would with a younger dog. For instance, you may need to train your dog to learn how to walk obediently inside your house or yard for a lot longer. This is because it is harder to stop an older dog from misbehaving when you’re on the road. Some older dogs could even exhibit aggressive behavior when confronted by another dog. 

Once your dog is ready to go outside, take it for a very short walk on the road. If you find that your dog is pulling the leash a lot, stay put. When your dog falls in line, sound the clicker and give it a treat.

If your dog tries to attack another dog or person, distract them with a treat till they stop lunging. Once they stop, sound the clicker and give it a treat. Over time, your dog will learn not to attack others.

Familiarize your older dog with a short trail first. Walk on this stretch for a month, at least, until they learn how to react to other dogs and people. 

Remember to take things very slow when teaching your older dog. Once your dog learns to walk without tugging and lunging on your short walks, slowly increase the distance. Sound the clicker and give a treat now and then when your dog is well behaved. This will reinforce good behavior.

Training A Puppy

You may wonder at what age to start leash training a puppy. You could start leash training a pup as young as four weeks old! It is advisable to start leash training a pup as soon as you take it home. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future. You might want to invest in a training leash for puppies.

You may find that training your puppy to walk on a leash is a lot easier than training an older dog. This is because puppies are yet to learn any bad behaviors. 

However, since puppies have very small bladders, you may need to devote more time to leash training them every single day. It is advisable to take your puppy out frequently during the day to avoid any accidents at home. 

But how do you train a dog to walk on a leash if it is too young?

If your puppy is very young, less than two months of age, consider leash training it in the yard before you take it out on the road. If you live in an apartment, you can train your pup to walk to a pee pad to relieve itself. Once your pup grows to be two months old, you can start taking it outside on the road.

ALSO READ: Tips For Caring For Your Dog from Puppy to Adulthood

caring for dog


We hope this guide answered your question How do you train a dog to walk on a leash? You will find that, with a bit of patience, it is quite easy to do. The training is well worth the effort for the endless joys that walking your dog will bring you.

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