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Attempting to train your dog to walk on a leash may feel like you're a contestant in a tug-of-war contest. But, it doesn't have to. If you take a few precautions, use the proper equipment, and are consistent in your training routine, then your puppy or dog will be an enjoyment to walk all around.
As far as equipment is concerned, there's a lot available. One popular item of yesteryear was the use of a choke collar. This chained collar, sometimes lined with tiny barbs, was and is a cruel way to train your animal. It has been proven not to be an effective training tool. However, a leash attached to a collar is not cruel. The best leashes are usually made of leather. These are durable and will last an eternity of wear and tear. You can use a regular buckle or snap collar, a body harness or even a chain collar. A chain collar is not a choker collar and shouldn't be used like one. A chain collar should only be used to make a noise (with a snap of the leash) that will get your puppy's attention. He will know that the noise means that he should either heel or sit.
At first, allow the puppy to wear his leash and collar (or harness) around the house. This way he knows that he does not have to be scared of it and will also get used to how it feels. And, he will know that it is supposed to be loose; in other words, that it is not for pulling. Before you take your puppy out, let him do this two or three times a day for a few days. Be sure that your puppy has another chew toy available, as you don't want the leash to be associated as a toy. Make a no play toys rule when it comes to the leash. Your puppy should also know the sit command. You can teach it easily with doggy treats. When you put the leash on your puppy or dog, be sure that he sits and waits until you've snapped it on. He may be excited, but he shouldn't move.
It's best, when walking on the leash with you for the first time that you don't practice outdoors. This is primarily because there are a lot of distractions. It's best if you can practice for a few days in a garage or large room.
Once you've got an area, make sure that when you walk with your dog the leash stays loose at all times. Walk with the puppy or dog and say "heel" in a low, but strong voice.
When walking, the dog's shoulder blades should be parallel to your leg. Most owners want their dog to heel on the left side of their body. If he decides to go ahead of you, abruptly change or reverse directions so that he will then be behind you, or on the other end of the leash. With this method, the leash remains loose, and the dog knows that you are his guide, and not vice-versa.
Do not drag your puppy or dog back towards you. Correct him so that he doesn't pull you. Also, do not yank your puppy around while training him. You want it to be a fun and worthwhile experience, a reward and not a punishment. With each new direction, repeat, "heel". When you stop, be sure your dog sits so that it will become habitual when he's outside or in public.
This method is proven an effective means of training your dog. Give yourself plenty of time. It is one of the hardest things to teach your new puppy or dog. Just know that you have to have unlimited patience at first. It may take several weeks. The reward of having a leash-trained dog is well worth it. Perhaps you can even work to the point where a leash isn't necessary in certain places; that the dog will heel by your side at all times, automatically.
About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
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