Leash Training 101
The dreaded leash! You don’t care for it, and your canine companion likes it even less. After you put the leash on your dog, the battle of wills begins, and it won’t end until you’ve both worn yourselves out during a long wrestling match other people call a walk. But as much as you would like your four-legged friend to do his own thing, local laws and proper etiquette usually require a leash.
There’s hope for you and your pooch. With a little leash training, you both can master walking with the leash. If you can learn to look at it through the eyes of your dog, your understanding will blossom. Before you know it, you’ll be impressing casual onlookers as that composed dog owner and well-trained hound. They’ll ask you for tips.
Introducing the Leash to Your Pup
There’s nothing in this world cuter than a puppy. But for some reason, these little balls of cuteness can become willful and disobedient when the time comes to put on a leash. At this point, your will needs to be stronger than your petulant pooch’s — and you must be patient.
Introduce the leash slowly to your pet. If you rush it, he may feel threatened. Before beginning your dog’s leash training, he needs to get used to a collar. Try to put it on him when he’s distracted by something else, like a treat or a toy, and create positive associations with wearing the collar, such as:
- Going outside to play
- A belly scratch in front of the television
- A tasty treat <https://www.caninestyles.com/collections/dog-treats>
Puppy Leash Training Starts with a Collar
Make sure the collar is snugly attached to his neck but not too tight. When shopping for your puppy’s new collar, take a look at the exceptionally stylish and comfortable choices available at Canine Styles, including:
- The soft leather Auburn “A” Dog Collar with 10 color options
- The Braided Leather Dog Collar in six stylish colors
- The “H” French Dog Collar in 10 color choices
Martingale collars are excellent for training purposes. They give you considerable control over your dog, but they’re safer than choke or prong collars. Canine Styles offers two different kinds of martingale collars:
- The Martingale Collar with a Shearling Lining uses bridle leather with a shearling lining. It comes in four color options.
- The Martingale Training Collar, specifically designed for long-haired and smooth-haired dogs. It comes in three color options.
Before You Go Out Walking
Once you’ve chosen a stylish collar and have introduced it to him, it’s time to attach the leash. Don’t immediately start pulling him around with it. If you do, he might begin fighting as if he’s a fish with a hook in his mouth. Connect the leash to his collar and let him play with it. It’s even better if you have another dog around the first few times he wears a leash. He’ll associate the leash with fun.
Let him drag the leash around a bit, but watch to ensure he doesn’t get it tangled. During this phase of leash training, you should pick up the leash occasionally and call him toward you. Reward his obedience with small treats, but don’t turn the moment into a meal.
Leash Training for Older Dogs
If you have a mature dog who has still resents his leash, leash training is a bit different. It’s a shame that the most lovable and well-behaved dogs at home can become obstinate and unruly beasts during their daily walks. All too often, adult dogs try to pull on the leash, disobey your commands, or even act aggressively toward other dogs. But this behavior is correctable, even in older dogs.
Difficult mature dogs respond to skillful leash training, just as puppies do. It’s no longer in your power to introduce the leash to them, since they’ll recognize it for what it is, but you can still change their attitude. To improve their behavior, you first need to become the alpha dog.
Become the Leader
When you act like you’re in charge, your dog senses leadership. The walk has to be your activity; you’re just inviting your dog to accompany you. During the walk, your dog won’t be listening to your voice, so you’ll need to speak to him through the leash. If he lurches ahead, you must correct him with a quick jerk on the leash.
A city park is the best place for leash training. Start out straight ahead, but change directions often, each time giving the leash a jerk. Don’t stop until your little friend has learned to follow you. Then teach him to sit at your side whenever you stop. It may take time, but even older dogs can learn new tricks.
Once you’ve corrected your dog’s behavior, you must then relax in your role as the alpha. Your dog needs to learn the routine rather than respond to repetitive commands. Correction followed by relaxation creates a stable relationship between the leader and the follower.
Above All, Be Patient
Your dog’s unwanted behavior usually results from over-excitement. All of the sounds, smells and sights encountered during a walk can be overwhelming. Once you correct your pooch through the leash, you need to give him a chance to calm down.
Just like humans, dogs need time to relax after excitement. Any tension you place on the leash causes additional stress on your dog and hinders his relaxation. After a few moments to mellow out, your pup soon starts mirroring your calm and patient demeanor.
Understand the Canine Senses
When leash training, learn to use your dog’s senses to keep him moving in the right direction. To do this, first, you need to understand how a dog’s mind works. According to experts, a dog’s brain is 60 percent controlled by their nose and 25 percent by the ears, while the eyes only control 15 percent. So begin by encouraging good behavior with the scent of one of his favorite treats. Canine Styles has American- made options crafted especially for training purposes, including:
Use the treat’s smell to coax him where you want him to go. Next, incorporate a distinctive sound like whistling or clicking into the process. Your pooch will associate both senses with the process of following your lead. You must engage his nose and eyes before the ears. A dog is born with a functioning nose. But the eyes don’t open until the end of their second week, and their ears don’t function until the third.