A huge part of being a pet owner is to love and enjoy the animal but to ensure this happens, basic obedience must be taught. In addition to creating a better dog and owner relationship, certain commands actually serve to protect the animal in various situations.
Although additional training could be provided, commands to include “sit”, “stay”, and “lie down” are essential but in addition, dog leash training should be provided.
Calm and Consistent
Of course, there are right and wrong ways of teaching a dog to walk and follow while on a lead. In truth, most basic obedience commands are relatively easy to teach whereas dog leash training can be quite frustrating. However, having a dog capable of walking alongside his owner is much safer. Therefore, the pet owner must remain calm and provide consistency.
By nature any dog, whether a large or small breed is going to pull the first time attached to a leash. The idea and concept are completely foreign so initial fear is to be expected. To help with this, we recommend laying the leash down on the floor inside the home and allowing the animal to investigate. Over the course of several days, the leash will no longer be something to fear but a mere curiosity.
Then, the leash should be attached to the dog’s collar, allowing the animal to drag it around. Again, there will probably be fear to some degree at first but within a short amount of time being attached to a leash the dog will see it as being big deal. After these two obstacles are overcome, the actual process of dog leash training can begin.
Reinforce and Click
The thing to know about the training process is that sessions should always occur someplace quiet and without distractions where both animal and pet owner can focus on the task. While leashes are sold in different lengths, a six to eight-foot would be perfect. This provides enough length for the animal to work yet keeps the owner in control of every training session. In addition, a clicker and small treat would be needed to ensure a productive session.
A handheld clicker makes a small clicking sound that provides affirmation to a dog that follows a given command correctly. Very quickly, most dogs begin to relate the clicking sound whenever a right behavior or action is performed. However, for complete affirmation, a small treat would be offered to the animal but only after the clicker had been used.
Because the clicker combined with a treat is so effective, a dog can learn any command easily, especially basic commands. As a result, the process of dog leash training is less stressful for both the animal and the owner. Keep in mind that some dogs take longer to learn so this is when an individual must stay calm and be consistent.
There are other aspects of dog leash training that can make sessions more effective to include the following:
- Prior to leash training, a dog should have already mastered the three main obedience commands of “sit”, “stay”, and “lie down”. Overall, this makes training better.
- Every training session should be fun. This is not saying that sessions should not be focused but the animal will respond more favorably if having fun
- Sessions should also be short, usually no more than 10 minutes each. This is important no matter the age or breed but if working with a Yorkshire terrier puppy or some other young animal, maintaining attention is always a challenge.
- Providing an animal with dog leash training before meals has also been shown to work better than if the animal has a full stomach. Because treats are used along with the clicker, a hungry animal is going to be more inclined to perform quickly to the right behavior or action.
Bringing it All Together
For actual dog leash training the lead would be kept taut enough to keep the animal at the side of the owner, usually between two and three feet. This forces the dog to stay close but without causing undue stress. The person would then begin to walk, keeping the animal on the left side of the body. If the dog were to pull back or struggle, rather than be forceful a firm but gentle voice should be used. In more severe cases of the animal trying to pull away, the owner should stop walking altogether to allow the dog time to calm down.
When teaching dog leash training, the “heel” command should be given. Over time, the animal will connect the command with walking on the leash. Once the dog starts to walk on the leash without pulling, another foot of lead would be let out. Remember, to make this type of training successful, the clicker should be used about every five feet initially and then greater lengths followed by giving the dog a treat.