How to Leash Train a Dog in 7 Easy Steps

We know how much meaning our four-legged friends add to our life.  Nothing can replace the unconditional love and slobbery kisses.  Let's not forget the puzzled looks accompanied with a head tilt when you go to leave.  We respond, "I'll be back," hoping they understand.

After a long day at work, we come home to a dog that's more than excited.  Their tail starts wagging.  Their up on their hind legs.  They know what time it is: the walk. Going for walks is their favorite time of day, but for the owner, sometimes, not so much.

You reach for the leash, fasten it to their collar and and open the door.  Your arm yanks forward and tension builds as you try to remain in control of your dog who is anxious for adventure!  What you have experienced is something all dog owners know very well.

Leash pulling is one of the most common complaints.  The next is destroying furniture, but that's another story!  If your dog is pulling on the leash, you're not alone, and we are here to help.

Why Do Dogs Pull on the Leash?

There are many reasons why dogs pull.  They smell something intriguing. What they see interests them. There's so many things to smell, investigate and bark at in their world. Let's clarify one misconception though.

Many people think dogs behave like this because they want to be the alpha or to be dominant over their human.  The truth is: they love to be outside!  It’s the same if we’re cooped up in an office all day – we can’t wait to leave and get out into the fresh air.  Dogs are no different, except they act a tad extra excited about it.

How to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash

  1. Find a place to walk your dog on a leash without distractions.
  2. Begin to walk with your dog next to you. 
  3. Stop walking when you feel your dog pull forward on the leash.
  4. Praise your dog and offer a treat when dog stops pulling and relaxes.
  5. Repeat the following steps to reinforce the new behavior.
  6. Take short walks to ensure the dog no longer pulls on leash.
  7. Remain patient and consistent, repeating the steps when necessary.

Steps to Stop Your Dog from Leash Pulling

Training your dog to not pull on the leash may take weeks to teach.  And you are going to need quite a bit of patience.  If you stick with it and be consistent, you and your dog will be happier together!  Before you begin, make sure your dog is wearing a collar that fits them well.  Also use a fixed-length leash that is no longer than 6 feet.  It's also important to have some delicious treats in your pocket. Be ready to reward them when they follow instructions.

Step 1: Start in the backyard, the driveway, or a quiet street.  It's important there is nothing around to distract your dog.  This will enable him or her to learn faster.  Stand by your dog and take a step forward.  Make sure your dog is close to your leg and the leash is loose.

Step 2: Now you know your dog.  As soon as you move your dog will move forward and the leash will pull.  The moment it happens--stop walking!  Stand still.  Stay quiet.  Do not allow your pet to move forward anymore.  Wait until they turn to give you their attention.

Step 3: When the leash is loose, offer your dog a treat and praise him or her.  Now you can try again.  You will go through quite a few snacks in the beginning, but it's necessary to help learn a new behavior.  Your dog will begin to understand what you want from them and that's the light-bulb moment we are looking for.

Step 4: When you feel your dog is ready, try taking your dog for a normal walk.  Please be aware that these walks will be a challenge for you and your dog.  Those smells, sights and sounds are begging your dog to check them out.  They may go back to their old ways, but it's okay.  Keep the walks short for now and repeat the previous steps when necessary.

See how easy these steps are? By training your dog yourself, you will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Imagine how good walks with your dog will feel when the leash pulling stops.

Remember that one of the most exciting aspects for dogs taking a walk is to go to the bathroom and to sniff around.

Let us know in the comments below how your leash training is going. Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on (social media) for the latest blogs and dog products.

Leave a comment