How To Teach A Puppy To Walk On Leash
Going gently and giving lots of praise are the keys to teaching a dog to walk on a leash.
Every dog-owner relationship necessitates a considerable amount of time and energy spent instilling essential life lessons and skills, regardless of whether you recently adopted a puppy or found your ideal canine partner at the local shelter. Our dogs do not come with the ability to walk with humans or the necessary leash manners.
Every dog should be able to walk around while walking on a leash. They can travel with you, their favorite person, which allows them to experience new things and keeps them secure (and protects other dogs and people, too). Whether in a metropolis or the tranquil countryside, your dog should always be walked on a leash. You and your dog will soon be teaching everyday walks together after some time, and encouragement is used to train them to walk with you.
How to Get Your Dog to Enjoy Leash Walking in 7 Easy Steps
1. Teach a Marker
A marker sometimes referred to as a bridging stimulus, is a vocal cue or hand signal that pinpoints the precise moment your dog took an action that earned them a reinforcer (a treat). A clicker is an excellent example of a marker (and a conditioned reinforcer). If you don’t have a clicker, you can use a reliable phrase like “yes” or “good” or a physical signal like a thumbs up. But choose one and stick with it. Mark the conduct as soon as you become aware of it. The quicker and more precisely you can, the more effectively you can teach someone to mark.
2. Create a Supportive Network
Before taking your dog on an outside excursion, ensure he is comfortable and enjoys wearing walking equipment. This includes his collar, leash, and possibly a body harness. Ensure that you are in a quiet, discreet area of your home, such as the living room. In the beginning, give your dog some time to become used to wearing each item. Put his collar on, marking and reinforcing each time by giving your dog a treat while he plays inside or goes outside to use the potty. Fix the leash to the collar for brief durations throughout the day. When he moves a few steps while wearing it, be cautious about marking and treating him every time. Introduce a body harness gradually if you plan to use one. Give him gifts and praise as you place them over his head and tie the straps.
3. Teach sure your dog pays attention
Although it seems you should start walking with your dog, you need to be sure he is paying attention before you move forward because he may pull and dart around. Before marking and rewarding the behavior, wait patiently for even a momentary glance or moment of eye contact from your dog. Say this aloud frequently to teach your dog that gazing at you earns rewards. Additionally, a “cue” for attention can be included. Say “look” or “eyes” just before your dog is about to give you a quick look, then mark, reinforce, and praise.
4. Step back and start to move
Despite what might seem odd, taking steps backward is a great way to begin moving without encouraging your dog to pull. While your dog is wearing his collar and leash, please take a few steps backward, and when he follows you, mark, reinforce, and praise him. Gradually increase the number of steps you take in reverse. Start by moving forward two or three steps, turn, and then walk two or three steps further. Mark and reinforce him if he continues to stand by your side.
5. Practice Saying “Come.”
Teaching your dog to “come” while on a leash is an excellent idea if you want to prevent future issues with tugging or forging ahead. Additionally, it gives you a perfect chance to teach your dog to come when called without worrying about him running away. If your dog is wearing a collar and leash, throw a treat a few steps before you. Once he finishes the treat and moves you, say “come,” and quickly mark and reinforce his movement. Repeat this until the dog starts to come like it’s playing a game where he throws a treat and then circles back to get another.
6. Practice a few steps with your leash outside.
Once your dog has mastered the principles of leash training indoors, you can begin taking your workout outside. Just be sure to move a place away from distractions. The backyard or your garage are both excellent alternatives. Practice walking a few steps, stopping, and yelling for attention. When you pause, wait for their attention before rewarding them as well. While you are moving, mark and praise instances of good leash walking every few steps. Don’t hurry! Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.
7. Gradually increase the distance
Move cautiously as you enter the neighborhood and begin your home. Start by merely walking one or two houses at a time, and as your dog improves, gradually extend the distance. Make sure to mark and praise your dog constantly to reinforce how much they are learning. After a few days of practice, you will be an expert at synchronizing the delivery of the mark and treat while moving. Still, it takes an approach to become proficient. Be optimistic and keep going!
Puppy attention spans are brief, despite the impression that they have endless activity. It won’t be possible for a young dog to walk long distances with you until they are older and more experienced. By being patient and letting your dog smell, urinate (doggie email), and play in the grass, you can enjoy the outdoors together. Walkies shouldn’t be a hassle or a time to perform a perfect heel.