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Dog Leash Training

Updated on December 12, 2013

How to Leash Train Your Dog

Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Unfortunately though, many owners bring home that little bundle of joy and discover that they have a little ball of terror. Living with a dog can be challenging. It is up to you as the owner to turn your pet into a well mannered , well behaved and social animal. To do this training is the key. And the one of the most important tools for training a dog is the leash. If you want to have the perfect pet you have to be willing to take the time to learn about dog leash training methods.

Leash Tips

Always have at least two training leashes

Choosing A Leash and Collar

You want to start leash training your dog. Before you begin make sure that you have the proper equipment. A properly fitting collar and a good leash are essential.

The first thing you need is a collar. Many dogs will work quite happily using their every day collar. Before going out and purchasing a fancy collar or a specialty training collar (pinch or choke) try using the one he is wearing. Remember this is training, so you have to give the collar a fair chance. Your pet is probably not going to succeed the first few times, so be prepared for this. This does not mean that your have to change to a different type of collar. You may just need a bit more time and practice.

The leash is one of your primary training tools, so be sure that you have a good training leash. You want to start with a well made, strong leash that is suited to the weight and size of your dog. About six feet is all you need, when you first start training. Anything longer and you and your dog are going to get tangled.

The leash can be made of leather or nylon, chain is not recommended.

Many dog owners like to use nylon when training because it is inexpensive and is easy to clean. If you are planning to use a nylon leash make sure that it is not too narrow, you do not want to get rope burns from an unexpected tug.

Leather leashes can either be flat or braided. The leather gets softer with use and will not cause burns.

Take a good look at the 'snap attachments'. You want something that is easy to attach to your dog's collar, but is fairly strong. Be careful some of the 'snap' attachments will come apart unexpectedly, if your dog pulls.

Whichever leash you choose you want to be certain that it is not going to break or pull apart. Check the sewing, you do not want anything that is put together with glue. And you do not want any fancy attachments that your dog is going to chew off.

Once you have chosen your collar and leash you and your pet are ready to begin leash training.

Leash Tips

A leash is the best way to keep your pet safe

Specialty Leashes

Once your dog has been trained to walk properly using a leash (he no longer pulls and stays nicely at your side) you can begin looking at specialty leashes. There are many different kinds of leashes available depending on what activities you and your pet are planning to do.

Traffic leash: These leashes are extremely short, most of them are no more than about 18 inches in length. They are ideal for walking your pet in very crowded areas. They ensure that your dog is right beside you at all times.

Biking leash: If you like to ride your bike and want to be able to take your dog with you these leashes are perfect. The leash is actually attached to your bike, so that you can keep your hands on the handle bars and not have to worry about trying to hold the leash at the same time.

Hands free leash: If you are the type of owner who wants to do a lot of jogging or hiking with your pet, you should take a good look at this leash. This leash actually has a belt that goes around your waist, you can then have your hands free while still keeping control of your pet.

Double leash: If you have more than one dog a double leash is ideal. These leases have a coupler on them which allows the handler to walk two dogs but only have to hold one handle.

Night leash: For people who have to walk their pet at night, a night leash is recommended. These leashes have a reflective surface which allows traffic to see you and your pet better. Some of the newer ones even have built in LED lights providing even greater visibility.

Retractable: These leashes are great for allowing your dog to have a bit more freedom. They come in a variety of lengths and styles. Some of the newer models even have built in lights for late night walking.

Flat grip: These are great for young children and elderly handlers. The handle of the leash is actually a stiff straight bar, that prevents the leash from getting wrapped around the owner's hand or wrist. If the dog does decide to pull or run, the owner can instantly let go if necessary.

Stretchable leash: This leash actually acts like a giant elastic band. This prevents handlers from ever getting sharp jolts.

Long Line: These leashes are used to begin training your dog to work offline. They range in length and material. They are often used as 'drag lines'. You attach the line to your dog and allow the dog to pull the line behind him as he runs. If need be, you can quickly step on the end of the line to gain control of your pet.

Whichever leash you choose, and for whatever reason remember that it will not replace your training leash. You should always have at least one regular six foot leash available, in case of an emergency.

Leash Tips

Get your children involved in the training process

Teaching the Heel Command

How to trian a Dog to Heel

One of the most useful skills that a dog can learn is how to heel. Training a dog to heel is not just a trick to be used in obedience trials or in a show ring. The heel command is extremely helpful, when walking in crowded areas, or when approaching other animals. It is also great if you want your pet to ignore specific things you might encounter during your walks like a cat or a nasty piece of trash.

Once your dog is comfortable walking on a leash and knows the command 'sit', you can beginning teaching him how to heel. You will need to have plenty of treats and a good training leash. Start with the dog sitting close to you, on your left side, facing the same direction as you.

Take a treat and put it in your left hand, keep it close to your side and slightly above the dog's head. Call the dog's name and get his attention. Once you have his attention give the command 'heel' and take a step forward. For your first few tries only go a few steps and stop. If the dog stays right beside you, give him praise and reward. Tell him to sit when you stop, reward and praise. After the dog has completed the sit portion of the heel, be certain to give a release command. It is very important that your dog know when the exercise is over.

If your dog starts to stray, call his name and get him to refocus. Do not pull on the leash, instead use the reward to keep him beside you. As your dog begins to grasp the concept vary the number of steps that you take. Stop saying sit at the end of your short walk. If he does not stop with you give a light tug up on the leash . Once he is seated reward and praise.

When your dog is able to do this fairly consistently, add a few large turns. Be sure that you give lots of praise, as you walk. Continue to vary the number of steps that you take and the direction that you turn. As the dog gets more accomplished make your turns sharper and sharper.

When your dog is doing this on a regular basis put the leash in your pocket. Continue practicing, but try not to touch the leash at all. You want the dog to stay with you and focused at all times. You are trying to train your dog that the best place to be is right at your side.

Remember that training a dog to heel involves a number of steps. No dog is going to do it perfectly without a lot of practice. Keep your sessions frequent and short. When the 'heel' session is over work on a couple of things that your dog does well. You always want to end training on a happy, positive note.

Teach Children How To Walk The Dog On a Leash

Dog Leash Training

You have the new puppy home and have started to train the animal to walk using a leash. You and the dog are faithfully going to classes and learning all you can. But your child walks the dog after school. Have you taken the time to teach your child how to walk the dog on a leash? If you haven't, you are probably confusing the poor animal. And your child is probably having a lot of trouble trying to control the dog.

Since the key to training is consistency, it is very important that your child be using the same commands that you do. And that your child is treating the dog the same way that you do. You want the dog to respect and obey your child.

One of the best things to do is to take the child to class with you if they are old enough. And if possible let them participate in a class or two. This helps to get the whole family involved in the training process. It will give your child an opportunity to work with the puppy in a controlled, safe environment and will help your child understand how to train the dog,

If you can't take the child to class or you are training at home, spend some time working with the child and the dog. Be certain that you explain all the commands to the child and what is expected from the dog. Be sure your child knows that using a reward and praise system is the best and that they have to be firm and consistent.

Have your child put the dog on the leash in the house and practice having the dog follow the child around. Be sure that your child gives the treats to the dog, not you. It is extremely important that you tell your child not to pull on the leash. If the dog is not follow or pulls on the leash they are to STOP and stand still. wait till the dog lets the leash go slack. They can encourage the dog to follow them by calling his name. Make certain that your child gives the dog plenty of praise. Once the tension in the leash is gone, have the child continue walking. Get them take a couple of steps and turn, make sure that the puppy follows your child. You want the dog to focus on the child not you. Your child has to be in control.

Once the dog is following your child regularly, try outdoors. Do not immediately go down the street, try the backyard first. Watch carefully and make sure that both the child and the dog are doing what they are supposed to. The first couple of times that your dog and child do go down the street, be sure that you are there.

Teaching your child about dog leash training and how to walk the dog on a leash, is just as important as teaching the dog. If you want them both to enjoy their time together you want the dog to obey and respect your child. Take the time to work with both of them. In the end you will be the one rewarded.

Leash Tips

Never pull or yank on the leash

Dog Leash Training Guestbook

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    • pmalynn profile image


      7 years ago

      I'll have to try some of these training tips with my rescued Shih Tzu. Thanks for the tips!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Great Dog Leash Tips. My little Grand Pups are learning to accept different kinds of leashes. My daughter bought them a longer one for the park. My hubby built them a zip line in our backyard this spring which attaches to one of their leashes. Works great for rainy days. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is one comprehensive lens all about dog leashes and dog leash training! What a top resource.

      Keep up the great work

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey, great lens for teaching the dog to accept the leash. But... is it possible that this method has effect to a boyfriend??? :)


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