It is important to train your dog to get used to a leash (also known as lead) at an early age. However, it is not impossible to teach an older dog although the process of training can take a little longer. Leash training a dog is not an easy fete given the fact that dogs naturally get excited once they are outdoors. Dogs usually have no idea that they need to walk close to you at all times. It is therefore imperative that you train your dog at an early age so they grow knowing what they are supposed to do. The following are some of the steps you can take to leash train your dog.
Leash Training A Dog
1.Take your time
The first thing you need to understand is that your dog will not learn to leash walk overnight. Leash training a dog is not an activity you can perform 30 minutes prior to leaving for work. Ensure that you have ample time in your hands, preferably an hour every morning without any interruptions. Dogs are diurnal creatures and are therefore active in the mornings, so take advantage of this opportunity whenever possible. It is important to note that different dogs have different needs. Therefore do your homework on your breed and gather the knowledge on what those needs might be.
2. Choose a short leash
As you start out, the leash should be as short as possible. This is because the dog needs to be in close range during the first few training sessions. Ensure the leash is as close to the neck as possible but make sure the dog is in a position to walk comfortably without any problem. The idea of the short leash is to establish yourself as the pack leader by giving you full control of the dog.
3. Always leash
Leash training a dog does not need to end when you return to the house. As a matter of fact, sometimes leash training a dog outdoors could turn out to be a lot messier than doing it indoors. For this reason, you should continue leading even when you are indoors. Train the dog to understand that it needs to give you the attention when you require it. This means that if you regularly clean its paws before it steps into the house, it must not go inside until you do so.
4. Reward the dog as you move
Dogs work pretty well if they are rewarded. Rewards are your best weapon to win the battle of leash training a dog. The rewards should not be anything more than a few minutes of freedom. While leash walking, if your dog maintains a stable state of mind without any disturbance, you can let it free for a few minutes before you leash them again. Do not give your dog too much freedom because you risk losing the purpose and goal of the mission. If it behaves for, say, 20 minutes, you may let it free for 4 or 5 minutes. The dog will start associating this good behavior with a few minutes of freedom to sniff around and soon you will be on the right track.
5. Watch your steps
It is advisable to walk fast when leash training your dog but this largely depends on the dog breed. Some dogs get tired pretty fast especially the very big ones and the very small ones. Give it a little time to sniff stuff as you move but ensure this should not take longer than is necessary. Many dogs prefer that you walk fast because they begin anticipating that something exciting is about to happen. For this reason, they follow you very closely and curiously as well.
Leash training is meant to cultivate the culture of discipline in your dog. Avoid unleashing the dog unless you are in a safe environment or when you intend to reward it. These periods should not take longer than 4 to 5 minutes. Puppies are much easier to train because they learn and adapt faster to the leash. However, older dogs tend to be wiser and more mature and may not give you a hard time when leash training them.