LEASH TRAINING YOUR DOG
If only for safety’s sake, leash training your dog is a must. Also, if you plan on taking your canine companion out and about with you, many of the public places where dogs are welcome require him to be on lead while he is there.
The easiest way to get your dog used to his leash is to start when he is a baby. Between 8 and 12 weeks of age, a dog’s mind is open to so much. Place a soft collar on your puppy and attach the leash. Let him wander around, getting used to the feeling of the collar and leash dragging behind him.
The next step needs you to have some food treats in your pocket. Pick up the leash, look away from your puppy and start walking to a point you mark in the distance; most puppies will follow you. Some need to be convinced to come along, and this is where the treats will be handy. Don’t hold the lead short at this stage, let puppy experiment on how far he is able to move while on lead. He may rear up like a horse or do a back flip, just ignore him and try not to scare him.
If you have not had your puppy long enough to make a bond with him, he may not be willing to follow you just yet. The same applies if you adopt an older dog who was never taught how to walk on a collar and lead. If that’s the case, you need to spend some time in the backyard or house with your dog or puppy and develop a relationship with him before you start leash training him.
Always make your leash training sessions fun; give your dog lots of praise and treats when he walks nicely with you. In the early days, keep your sessions short. Several five minute sessions during the course of a day is more effective than a single long 45 minute session.
Once your dog understands that the lead has a limit, shorten the lead enough so that you are asking your dog to walk beside you, not in front of you. This can take some time if your dog is exuberant and enthusiastic! If he lags behind you, do not worry too much, encourage him to keep up with a treat, and reward him when he is in the right spot.
Most dogs learn to walk nicely on a leash when they’re at home, but the real challenge is when you are walking with him around your neighborhood. There are so many interesting smells and sights to catch his attention. This is why you need to keep up with his training whenever you go for a stroll.
If you are having difficulties with leash training, you’ll find help from an obedience trainer or dog club. Keep in mind that dogs learn well if they are treated with kindness, and avoid any training methods that rely on harsh handling.
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