How To Lead Train Your Dog

How To Lead Train Your Dog

Teaching your dog to walk on a lead is one of the most important responsibilities as a pet owner. It is essentially teaching them to walk by your side, and is a great exercise to practice to guarantee walks are safe and enjoyable for you both. It is a great exercise to start within the home. Many people think dogs naturally know how to walk on a lead, however it is a skill that needs to be trained. It’s important your dog feels safe on a lead and understands not to pull.

samantha roawson and her dog-1

Samantha Rawson CAAB

Champion dog trainer Samantha Rawson is a certified behaviour & training consultant with almost thirty years of experience the Canine College.  She has trained two rescue dogs to IKC working trials champions. Samantha is the regular dog expert on KCLR96FM and The Ray D’arcy Show on RTE Radio 1. She is passionate about dogs and their mental physical and emotional welfare.  Samantha believes in relationship based training founded on trust respect and play.

What Do I Need To Teach My Dog To Walk On A Lead?

There’s lots of different equipment to consider for when you begin lead training your dog. I often get asked from dog owners if they should be using collars, leads, or harnesses when out walking their dogs. If your dog is strong you may find a harness is most efficient as these give you more control from your dog’s chest. If you have a dog prone to breathing issues such as a pug, I would also recommend using a harness. They’re also far less likely to pull on your dog’s throat, which can sometimes cause injury, especially if they love to pull hard when out walking.

Collars on the other hand have many advantages too-they’re much easier to wear, get fitted and require less physical strength from you when you’re out walking your dog. If your dog is used to wearing a collar when out walking, I see no reason to change to a harness, and vice versa.

If you have a puppy, always get them used to wearing a harness or collar first before taking them outside-it will make both your lives much less difficult!

To pick out the best harness or collar and to get your dog fitted, I suggest you pop into your local Petmania store and the team there can guide you in the right direction.

puppy on a red lead looking at a treat given to him by his owner

How To Train Your Dog To Walk On A Lead

If your dog is not used to the outside world, I recommend practising this in a safe and familiar environment first, such as a garden or even indoors in your home. Once they’ve become accustomed to the lead in this safe environment with limited distractions, it’s okay for them to venture outside.

Step 1:

Teach your dog to stand beside you before you start moving. Each time they stand still beside you, reward them with a treat. They will soon come to understand that standing still means treat time. Once they have eaten the treat they may move away, so you can try lure them back to your side again and give them another treat. This is teaching them the reward is given when they stand still at your side. Give them another treat for staying in the same place. As long as they are by your side, keep rewarding them with plenty of praise and treats.

Step 2:

Give your dog a start and end point (so ‘Point A’ can be the garden shed and ‘Point B’ can be the back door) when out training them on a lead. Take one step and reward them, take two steps and reward and so forth until you reach Point B. Then, bring the dog back to Point A and repeat the process.

Make sure to shower them with plenty of praise when they are in the right postion, as well as rewarding them with a treat. If your dog pulls or moves away from your side, simply stand still and entice them back to the starting position. Don’t pull the lead or force them back, just stand still with a treat in hand and wait for them to return.

Step 3:

Practice by repeating steps 1 and 2! Keep all training sessions short and successful and make sure to reward them along the way. I would always say to end the lesson with a happy dog. Allowing them to rest after the training session will make them an even happier dog. Consistency is key with lead training, so ensure you’re training every single time the lead goes on.

Pro Tip: Distracting or challenging environments such as the park require even tastier treats!

Got a Question?

As always, the Petmania staff will be able to assist you in making the right choice for your dog when it comes to leads, harnesses and more. If you have any questions at all, be sure to pop in store or message online and they’d be happy to help. For more on training your dog and expert behavioural tips, be sure to visit my website here. 

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