Are you trying to take your furry friend out for a walk? Do you dream of having an obedient pup happily trot beside you while you enjoy the sunshine and the adoring gazes of passersby? It will be a tough dream to realize if your dog keeps always tugging at you and goes on its own adventures by sniffing around. You’ll end up being dragged off the path and undergo a tug-of-war with your dog. It leads to frustration and less enthusiasm when it comes to the next walk appointment for you. You need to train your dog to get used to the leash if you want it to have that peaceful and enjoyable walk. Let’s look at how to do that in this leash training 101.
Importance of training your dog to the leash
Untrained dogs tend to pull at your heal which makes your dog’s neck take quite a lot of suffering. You may have noticed your dog gasping for breath while tugging at the leash trying to take a sniff at some scent. They may not know it, but it strains the neck and leads to health complications over time. It also affects your shoulders and your sockets since they share a part of the pressure as well. It’s in both parties’ best interest to train your dog to accept the leash.
Committing to a leash training regime
You need to commit yourself to a long training process if you are to train your dog properly. Don’t expect your dog to understand the rules of leash training in a couple of days. Patience and repetition are key in this whole exercise regime. Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules to train your dog to the leash. Follow a set of guidelines, and you will start seeing results.
Picking the proper leash
First things first, selecting the proper leash. The leash you select should be suitable for both you and your dog. If it’s a pup, go for a light shorter leash, and if it’s a big dog, you may have to choose a thick long leash. See how the leash feels on your hand and how the dog responds to it. After picking up a suitable leash and collar, make the dog get used to them, first, by making them wear the collar. After having the dog used to the collar, get the leash attached to the collar. Use treats when doing this process so that the dog identifies the leash with treats and will be willing to put it on overtime without much fuss.
Start at the beginning
Once the dog is used to the leash, the next step is to initiate the training process. Take baby steps here and start first by teaching it how to heal. Small things like stop, sit, stand while wearing the leash should be trained first. Always make sure to give the dog treats as soon as it performs the correct action for a given command. Once the dog is trained with the basics, it’s time to move to the walking process. Keep in mind that consistency is key
Come over to you
Now that the dog is familiar with the basics, the next step is to train it to come to you. Teach the dog a cue such as ‘come’. Start by holding a treat in your hand and call the signal. The dog will run at you for the treat. Slowly increase the distance between the two of you. Make sure the dog is wearing the leash and collar while getting this training. When your dog is familiar with the cue, you can start training it to come to you from outside. This method will ensure that your dog will come back to you whenever you call it.
Now comes the actual training of leash walking. Have a lot of treats at hand and start by taking your dog on short, determined walks. You should make it understand that you do the directing by taking decisive and deliberate steps.
Becoming a tree: when your dog starts pulling at the leash, you must become a ‘tree’ and remain completely fixed on the spot. Wait until it comes back to you. Take extreme care not to yank or pull the dog. Give it a dog treat when it comes to you.
Action against lunging: keep a sharp eye on the environment around you. Your dog may lunge at things such as other dogs, cats, pedestrians, etc. this sudden lunge may catch you off-guard if you’re not paying attention. The trick here is not to force it to come back or stop by yanking and pulling. You must divert its attention from the scenario by offering it treats before it gets a chance to lunge. Train the dog to stick near you by occasionally giving small rewards when it comes closer to you.
Barking: Following the same treatment, will work, if your dog starts barking at something. Use dog treats to divert its attention. Do not resort to choker chains or dog mussels because it restricts the freedom of your beloved animal.
Once you start this process, keep continuing with the regime. Slowly increase the walking distance. Give the dog treats whenever it stays near you or when it tries to bark or lunge. Over time, the dog will start to get used to the process and will start walking beside you on a loose leash. When your dog has reached a comfortable understanding with you, you can slowly start reducing the number of treats. Gradually keep decreasing the treats until you stop the treats altogether. By this time, you will have a smart and obedient dog happily trotting beside you.
Persistence is key when leash training your dog. Take your time and start with baby steps. It may be frustrating at the beginning. But with a little determination, you will start to see results. Soon, your dog will have accepted the leash ultimately and will be comfortable walking with it next to you, and you can start enjoying pleasant walks with your beloved pet.
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