Is your dog a rescue dog? Or is he a young puppy? Either way, you will need to learn how to teach a dog to walk on a leash if you want to go on successful walks together. One of the most important steps in dog or puppy training is to teach him or her to walk nicely by your side on a lead and collar. You might even want to start walking your dog using a dog harness. This can have many advantages, but in this article, we will focus on how to train a dog to walk on a leash.
Teaching a rescue dog to walk on a leash:
You have made an amazing choice by opting to bring a rescue dog into your home. You have saved an unlucky dog and given them a second chance. For this, you are saluted. However, rescue dogs can come with their share of problems and that is why many choose a puppy instead. One of the most common problems with a rescue dog is they may be afraid of walking on a leash or they may even be scared of going outside for walks. Some rescue dogs seem to fear everything and due to their background, we can’t blame really them.
In this post, I will explain how to get your dog over his phobia of the collar and lead do you can properly walk your rescue dog. After some training you should be able to take your rescue dog on normal walks just as any other owner would. Your dog will love being taken for a walk on a leash.
In fact, he will love walking on a leash so much that, once he knows that’s what you’re doing, he’ll probably try to pull you into the next room to get your shoes for you!
You’ll soon be able to go for walks together wherever and whenever you want. Every time you take your dog for a walk you’ll see the difference in his behavior. He’ll be calmer, happier and better behaved. And you’ll feel good because you’ll be doing something healthy for him.
Is your rescue dog afraid of the leash?
Sometimes it may seem as though your rescue dog is insecure and even afraid of everything. They may even be scared of walks. Try not to take this personally. This is simply a natural response to a troubled background in your pet. You do not know what they have been exposed to, after all. When you bring a rescue dog home you do not know his past history well. You may be armed with a few facts, but for the most part there will be some major blanks. There are several main reasons a rescue dog will not walk on a lead:
- Your dog might never have been walked properly. Or may never have even been let outside the property they were kept in before you took ownership of the animal.
- Your pet may have gained an irrational fear or using a lead or a collar. We do not know why this is but know that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
- The dog in question may be afraid to go outside. There are lots of mental stimuli outdoors that may cause a dog to overreact and panic. This can present itself in a variety of signs and behaviors.
- Your rescue dog might be unsure how to walk properly on a leash without pulling. They may also have other issues with knowing how to walk properly. You might have an idea of how your stroll will go, but your pet might have another totally different one!
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a dog that was already trained to walk on a leash. However, many dogs have never learned. They pull and pull, and you feel like you’re being tugged right off your feet. Or possibly, your dog is extremely anxious and fearful of walking on a lead. If this is the case, then teaching your dog to walk on a leash is worth the effort.
It’s a great way to work with your dog and to desensitize him to the world. Your dog will be happier and more relaxed, and you will be calmer, too.
It’s amazing how quickly dogs learn to walk on a lead. In fact, you can teach your dog to get used to the lead and collar in as little as 15 minutes. And once your dog learns to walk like this, then you can go everywhere with him. You’ll be able to get your dog out of the house and into the real world.
It’s all up to you. In the next few steps, you’ll learn how to train an anxious dog to walk on a leash. Let’s get started!
Training A Dog To Walk On A Leash – Step by Step
Make sure your dog is healthy enough to walk on a leash. If not, then wait until he’s good and ready to go. If your dog freezes while walking, then take things slow as you go through this process.
Get your dog fitted for a good collar and a good leash. Make sure the collar is fitted correctly and is not so loose that it will slip off his head. Let your dog explore the new item before you do anything else. When he investigates, give him a treat and praise him. Let him know that this is to be a fun thing. Always make positive associations with items and places you want your dog to be relaxed about. An anxious dog is never a happy dog. If you want to learn how to ease anxiety on dog walks then this is important to know.
Make sure the leash is 4 feet or less in length. Don’t use an extendible leash at this time. You can move to one later on, but for now just stick with the basics. Being in control of your dog is very important. The number of owners I see running around after an out of control dog is unreal.
Take your dog out to a quiet place where there are no distractions. Your back yard is fine for this purpose as they should be familiar with the sights and smells and there won’t be much to investigate.
Put the collar on your dog and attach the leash. Make sure that the leash is long enough so that your dog can walk freely beside you without going too far. Say “YES!” in an excited and happy voice. Praise your dog and pet him to make him feel relaxed. Don’t rush off just yet. Let he or she get used to wearing their new collar or harness.
How do I get my dog to stop pulling on the leash?
Many dogs pull on their leash and the best way to stop them is to train them properly. You can use the following corrective method to stop your dog from dragging you around on walks outside. There may be other issues with leash training your dog. Does your pup have a problem with pulling on his lead? This is a common problem and I find myself feeling bad for the owners I see being dragged around by their arm. Their dog is straining his muscles when he does this and it can cause shoulder and joint problems unless you get the issue resolved.
Your dog pulls on the leash because they are excited about going for a walk and can’t contain themselves. Rescue dogs who have never been properly trained are usually highly susceptible to this problem.
The following is the best method for leash training a dog who pulls:
- The leash should be as long as the dog is tall but not longer. When you walk, do not walk in front of the dog, but slightly behind him.
- Use a leash to guide the dog when you cross a street. The dog must learn to walk at your side without pulling. If the dog pulls on a leash, stop in your tracks. Do not continue walking, but stand still.
- Do not yank the leash. Just stop.
- Wait for the dog to turn his head and look at you. At this time, reward the dog with a treat. Then resume the walk.
Repeat the steps above until the dog learns to walk without pulling.
Hopefully this should clear thing sup for dog owners who want to learn how to teach their rescue pup to walk properly outside. A daily walk is not only important for their mental well-being, they also will also use this as a way to keep fit and socialize with other dogs.
Emma Charles, DVM, was born and raised in Brownwood, TX. She leads the editorial team at FunDogFitness.com where she shares some of the vast amount of personal and professional expertise she has gained over the years on the subject of dog care. A proud graduate with a doctorate from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, she now shares her advice online for anyone who owns, or is considering, a dog.