How to Teach your Dog to Walk on Leash
How to Walk a Dog
It takes a special person to dedicate time, love, and patience to a pet. There is a lot of care and responsibility required, especially when it comes to training or learning how to walk a dog. There are many other factors to consider, from buying the right collar and leash, to setting expectations, to rewarding your dog for a job well done. It will take time but soon you will know what to do so that you and your pet can make the walking experience a great one.
Walking a Dog: Basics
Put a leash and collar on the dog.There will come a time when your four-legged friend will recognize it is time to go for a walk by you simply reaching for the leash. Introduce this in your dog’s mind early on by using a collar at a young age. Place the collar around the dog’s neck and say “let’s walk” with the leash in full view.
Keep the collar tight, but not too tight.You want to make sure the collar isn’t too tight around your dog’s neck. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you can place one to two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.You also don’t want the collar to be loose enough to slip over your dog’s ears if it tries to back out of it.
Choose the side on which you want your dog to walk.Consistency is important when training your dog to walk. Choosing a side for the dog to walk establishes its spot in the activity. The puppy will become accustomed to walking with you by knowing what to expect. Just keep in mind that walking on a leash is not a natural occurrence for your pet.An adjustment period should be expected.
Pull the leash close to your body.The most important aspect of learning how to walk your dog is maintaining control so that your pet doesn’t dictate the walk. You are the boss and this should be reflected in your walking relationship as well.
- Wrap your traditional leash around your hand until there is very little give between you and your pet.
- Pull the leash close to your body but allow enough give to allow your dog to walk naturally.
- Your dog will feel the resistance of the leash and realize that getting ahead of you is unacceptable.
Talk to your dog.Your dog understands the tone in your voice. Don’t get frustrated. Encourage your dog with a “good job” or “way to go” when it does something right. Use a stern voice when instructing it not to do the wrong things, like bark at people passing by or growling at other dogs.
Reward your dog with special treats.Use treats when teaching your dog to walk but especially when you want to teach your pet to not pull on the leash. Reward often and consistently.
- Reserve a treat that your dog especially likes for training purposes. Many dogs are quite enthusiastic about pieces of hot dog, cheese, or jerky.
Part 1 Quiz
What is the benefit of wrapping the leash tightly around your hand?
Purchasing Proper Walking Equipment
Talk to your vet before buying walking equipment.Your vet will know your pet almost as well as you do and can recommend the type of walking equipment you may need. Trust the vet’s expertise when it comes to selecting a collar and leash for your dog’s specific body type or weight. Your vet can assist you with tips to avoid neck conditions that can arise from an improper collar.
Buy the proper collar and leash for your pet.There is a wide variety of collars and leashes available on the market, but not all of them are suitable for your animal. For example, a traditional buckle collar and hook leash are typically used when there is little issue with walking your dog. For those that have more difficulty with a non-cooperative pets there is a variety of more restrictive collars and leashes available.
- Slip collars help keep the easily distracted dog in line.
- Pack leader collars are used on dogs that like to pull.
- Harnesses are useful on dogs with elongated necks.
- Special-use collars include shock collars, vibrating collars, and GPS collars.
- Glow in the dark collars make sure you are visible to others.
Consider the clicker device for training.This device is highly regarded as a safe and effective method for dog training. Use the clicker to reinforce good behavior and communicates in a clear, concise way to the dog. The click sound, followed by a treat, communicates to the dog that it has done the right thing.The clicker method is effective in training a dog to walk and other areas of training as well, such as barking, potty-training, and tricks. Use the clicker, followed by a treat, for the following steps:
- Begin with putting the leash on.
- When your dog stops resisting the leash.
- As the dog walks behind you or beside you.
- Repeat periodically throughout the walk.
- When returning home, remove the leash.
- Repeat daily.
Part 2 Quiz
When might you buy a traditional collar with a hook leash?
Making Sure the Walk is Comfortable
Know when it is too hot to walk your dog.Temperature will often determine the best time to take your dog walking. Earlier in the day or later in the evening are suitable times of day to walk your dog. Avoid high noon as the pavement may be too hot for your dog’s feet. The best way to test if it is too hot is to place your bare hand on the pavement. If after only five seconds you have to remove your hand then chances are it is too hot.
Carry plenty of water and food.Along with poop bags and your clicker, carry a portable bowl and a bottle of water for your pet. Keeping your dog hydrated is important when walking for longer periods of time or during the hotter times of day. During summer months, it is extra important that your dog has plenty of water.Healthy and easy snacks to carry include:
- Seedless watermelon
- Apple slices
- Crushed ice for the hotter days
Rest when necessary and get shade when you can.Don’t overdo it when getting your dog used to walking with you, especially if this is the first time on a collar and leash. There will be a lot of pulling and resistance which may wear the little one out. Find a shady spot to rest for a couple of minutes along the walk.
Part 3 Quiz
How can you determine if it is too hot outside to walk your dog?
QuestionShould I bring water and treats on the walk?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTreats may be useful for training dogs, and water is necessary on long, hot walks.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my German Shepherd puppy to keep moving when he has a leash on?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOffer plenty of treats and use positive verbal reinforcement when he walks with you at the correct pace.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop my dog from biting the lead?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your pup is chewing on the lead, there is a few simple things to get them to stop. 1) A bitter apple spray can be found at a pet store and is perfect to stop dogs from chewing on other things too. 2) Change your fabric lead to chain (most pups don't like the feel or taste). If your pup chews on that, immediately change back to fabric or leather. 3) Get a harness, it's harder for the pup to grab the lead. But keep in mind that most pups (like mine) grow out of itThanks!
QuestionWhat if my dog didn't like walking?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat would be unusual, so keep trying. Perhaps try walking it to a different place -- it may not have liked where you took it for the walk. You could also train the dog, take it swimming, play fetch or do some other physical activity together.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I keep my dog from running out in front of me while walking him?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou need to train your dog. Take him out for a walk. When he starts to run, pull him back a little and click a clicker. Once your dog returns to your side, give him a dog a treat. Keep doing this until your dog is able to walk along side you.Thanks!
QuestionOur newly rescued pitbull drags us down the street instead of walking. How can I stop this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour dog is one wild one! However, you and your dog must be aware that you are the boss in the relationship. Try talking to the dog in a calm tone and check for any other steps you've done incorrectly. Is the leash too tight? Or have you placed it in the wrong area? Dogs are creatures that can sense what their owner's emotions are. You seem most likely tense or scared while walking the pitbull , which resulted in the dog acting that way. Stay in a calm mood while walking your dog and it will mostly likely do the same.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when it's too cold to take my dog for a walk?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWear lots of warm clothes and put a jacket and paw boots on the dog. Take a shorter walk. If that's still not feasible, then walk your dog indoors, or in the backyard.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my dog is still a puppy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPuppies have tons of energy and will require just as much, if not more walking, than adults. It's a good idea to bring a water bottle and portable dog bowl with you so that your dog doesn't get dehydrated.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get my dog to pick up his head and stop sniffing the ground during our walks?Aaryan mohtaCommunity AnswerDogs like to smell every scent. Let him sniff the place politely. If he gets too stubborn, discourage him by pulling the leash slightly.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do for a dog that is scared to walk in public or loud environments?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake the dog for a walk in the backyard often. Then, when it gets used to walking, take it for a real walk and encourage it with treats. Only walk in quiet places where there are few people and no loud noises, then gradually introduce it to noisier places until it can cope. If it never learns to cope, adjust where you walk the dog.Thanks!
If you're trying to walk a dog that pulls, start by wrapping any excess leash around your hand to keep your dog right by your side. Keeping the leash close enough to your body to allow the dog to walk naturally but not go in front of you teaches the dog to walk at your pace and not pull. This will establish that you are the boss and tugging at the leash is not okay. Finally, remember to use positive reinforcement, like telling the dog in a happy tone "good job" and giving treats when things go well!
- Carry a spray bottle of cool water to deter your pet from barking at others.
- Clean up after your pet during your walk.
- Talk to your pet and practice commands throughout the walk.
- Avoid muzzles as they can cause your pet to become aggressive.
- Introduce your dog to other four-legged friends early on in their life.
- Do not use shock collars or spike collars, getting your dog to behave correctly in fear of pain is really the wrong way to do it.
Avoid extending leads, they teach the dog that pulling gets them more freedom to roam and their pulling will be more difficult to stop.
- When the dog is older it takes a while for them to get introduced to other dogs.
- On a walk, take along the dog's favorite food or toy. If the dog stops walking and won't budge, you can toss out the item to get his attention.
Things You'll Need
Leash and collar or harness
ID Tag for your pet
Toys ( Depending on where you are going )
Sources and Citations
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