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Ten Quick Tips For Leash Training Your Dog

labrador-puppy leash training

Leash training is a marathon, not a sprint.  It can be achieved with consistency and  practicing every day, several times a day.

  1. Choose a 4 ft. dog leash, leather or fabric.  The leash is an extension of you and theme of successful leash training is keeping your pup close.
  2. Choose the right harness or collar for your dog. Choke chains  shouldn’t be used on a dog until they are 1 year of age, and if you do decide to use one, use it as a training tool for 2 weeks.
  3. You go first.  This includes walking in and out of your home and while walking on the leash. If you let your dog lead, you’re basically saying in her language that she is the leader.
  4. Allow at least 20-30 minutes for each walk.  I don’t know why, but in all my years of doing this, the first 10 minutes of each walk usually starts out disheveled.  They are so excited about going for a walk, they have zero attention span.  When you get a puppy, they ideally need an hour outside in the morning to minimize accidents in the house.  Most people have responsibilities with work during the week, so try to make up the time on the weekend.
  5. Choose a side.  I like the left, but you choose what works for you and try to stick to that side.  You want your dog’s stride to follow yours, not the other way around.  Walks are also for checking “pee mail’ and socializing, so if your dog walks on your left for half the walk, consider it a success.
  6. When holding the leash, allow the leash to be relaxed in a “u shape” or a valley, as I like to call it.  When you need to pull on the leash for guidance, pull back, right or left.  Do not pull up,  Pulling up puts the dog’s head and body language in a defensive position and in the long run will make the dog aggressive while on a leash. Don’t let puppy bite the leash while you walk. (Even though it’s adorable.)
  7. Walk around your block and neighborhood extensively.  This will serve your dog in the long run.  At some point in their life, someone will forget to close the door or gate all the way and your dog will get out.  If a dog gets lost, it’s because they don’t know their neighborhood and they get turned around.  If your dog gets, out, they will most likely stay close to home or even return after escaping.
  8. Safety is key.  Never approach dogs you do not know when your dog is a puppy.  It’s that simple.  Most dogs, especially big ones play rough and scare puppies and therefore do emotional damage because of one negative interaction.  Just cross the street until you’ve seen the dog 4 or 5 times and feel comfortable.  Never put yourself in an unknown situation.
  9. Give lots of praise when your pup does #1 & #2 outside.  Treats are good praise too if you want to carry treats for every walk for a year.  I like to start the way I want to finish.   Praise is just as affective and it’s more convenient.
  10. Give your pup a reward for a walk well done!  When they come home from the morning, feed them breakfast and they will have a nice long nap afterwards, and you can have some time to yourself.  The other walks, give them a treat and in the evenings, it’s dinner!


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