Whether you are taking your dog to the vet or going on walks for exercise and social interaction training your dog to use the leash will make life easier. Leash training puts you in control and helps you manage your dog in any situation.
The best time to begin leash training is with a new puppy. Training your dog to use a lease may take a couple of days or 1-2 weeks. It all depends on the dog. Being consistent is what is crucial.
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The First Step – The Dog Collar
Your puppy must learn to be comfortable with a collar around his neck. The collar should fit loosely enough that it will not choke him but it should not be so loose that it can be pulled over his head. If there is enough room for your thumb to fit adequately between the collar and your dog’s coat then you know it fits comfortably.
You can place a collar on your puppy as soon as you bring him home. Distracting your puppy by feeding him or playing with him may make it easier to put the collar on. Your puppy will initially work at removing the collar. He will try to get it off by scratching at it or by rolling around. You should not remove the collar when he is trying to get it off. Wait until your dog is not paying attention to the collar before you remove it. After a day or two you puppy should feel comfortable with his collar.
Adding the Dog Leash
Wait until your dog is feeling comfortable with his collar before introducing him to the leash. Simply attach a leash to the collar and let your dog move around with the leash attached. It is best to start out with a thin lightweight leash. When your puppy has adjusted to using a leash you could get a nicer leather leash, if desired.
Don’t leave your dog unsupervised with the leash attached in case it gets caught on something and endangers your puppy. Release your dog if he becomes tangled up and let him continue to play. It may take a day or two before your dog is used to the leash. Once your puppy feels comfortable with the leash you are ready to move on to the next stage of leash training.
The Next Step of Dog Leash Training – Walking
Now you are ready to teach your dog to walk beside you on the leash. A good place to start this step is at home where there are not so many distractions.
The leash tension should be slack with enough length that you are not physically pulling your dog. Your puppy must be able to walk freely.
You must stop immediately if your puppy pulls on the leash. His behavior of pulling on the leash will be encouraged if you do not stop immediately. Call your dog to come to you but do not yank on the leash. When he returns to your side praise him for coming and then start walking again. If your dog pulls on the leash again stop and repeat the process. Your puppy will soon learn it is not to his advantage to pull on the leash. Duplicate this process until your dog understands what is expected. Consistency is the key.
After a number of walks you will begin to realize your dog is not longer pulling on the leash. It is important that you reward your dog when he performs a task properly. Be sure to praise your puppy and give him a treat everytime he has walked three or four steps without pulling.
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Dog Leash Training an Adult Dog
It is easier to leash train a puppy than it is an adult dog. This is because a puppy is easier to control physically because it is smaller. Not only are adult dogs stronger but they may have bad habits that must be overcome.
Training an adult dog to use a leash is the same procedure as with a puppy. Training an adult dog is more demanding physically but you must maintain full control throughout the training process.
A harness or gentle leader can be used when leash training an older and larger dog. The harness will give you control over a dog’s entire body instead of just his neck. A dogs head is pulled up when he pulls on the leash while wearing a gentle leader. This can be uncomfortable but it is not painful.
Leash training your dog is not complicated. It requires time and patience but you will be rewarded with a well-behaved dog you can take just about anywhere.
I hope these ideas are helpful. For a complete guide that will assist you in training your dog, in all situations, visit Dog Training Secrets.