Adorable long-hair chihuahua biting their pink leash at the beach. A guide to Leash Training Your Dog.

A Guide to Leash Training Your Dog

Dogs are vibrant creatures that require different amounts of exercise to stay happy and healthy, but this is only one of the reasons that you should take your doggo out on a walk. Walking on a leash can be a wonderful bonding activity for pawrents and their precious pups, but it can be frustrating if your doggo doesn’t know the drill. Tugging, pulling, and chasing—we’ve seen it all. Fortunately, every kind of dog can learn to comfortably walk on a leash with a little love and care. Let’s explore how.

Beagle at the dog park looking up at young dog mom holding the leash.
Do I really have to walk with a leash?

What is Leash Training?

Adorable long-hair chihuahua biting their pink leash at the beach.
Okay, I'm ready! Train me.

Leash training is the actual practice of intentionally teaching your dog to walk effectively on a leash. While most of us know that we can’t take our pup out without a leash, not everyone actively puts in the effort to make sure that it is a great experience for themselves and their doggo. Unfortunately, without training, walking can be a frustrating experience for some pawrents.

When you leash train your dog, you will focus on the act of walking effectively while they are on a leash. It doesn’t just mean having them on a leash. It means creating the trust and understanding that comes with walking on a leash so you and your favorite floof can enjoy your time together even more. With the right steps, you might be surprised by just how dedicated your doggo can be.

What Do You Need for Leash Training?

Adorable pug and french bulldog posing for the camera, while being taken on a walk at the park.
See how cool we are walking on a leash!

If you want to be successful when learning how to leash your dog, you will need the right dog accessories. While not every accessory on this list is a must-have, you will find that by combining these tools, you will have a much more positive experience with your pup. In this case, these dog accessories can offer a much more pleasant time for both of you.

Leash

When learning how to leash your dog, you will, of course, need a leash. There are a wide variety of different leashes available on the market, but you will want to choose one that suits your dog and your needs. For leash training, most veterinarians and trainers advise against extendable leashes. While training, you will want to focus on keeping your pup nice and close.

Beautiful leather padded collar and leash set for fashionable dogs from online doggy boutique they made me wear it.
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Lovely and Soft to the Touch

COLLAR LEASH SET

Choosing a leash can be about style, function, or both. For classy pups who want to look the part, our leather collar and leash set is all the rage—with a durable D ring and stainless steel nameplate for personalizing your pup's name and number.

If your dog is large or known to pull, consider leashes with secondary handles that allow you to take more control and keep your doggos attention. At the end of the day, it is all about finding out what works best for you and your pup.

 

Harness

A harness is an absolutely invaluable tool when leash training, but that doesn’t mean that a standard harness is always the right choice. Harnesses can be a lot more comfortable for dogs, particularly small dogs. In fact, truly small dogs should avoid leash and collar accessories entirely and should be fitted exclusively with a harness instead. This is because they are very small, and they can actually harm themselves by pulling on a collar. Of course, this can be a big concern for larger dogs too.

Yorkshire terrier wearing the Yummy Dog Harness Collar and Leash Set in Cherry Print from online doggy boutique shop they made me wear it.
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Fun, Fashionable and Functional

HARNESS LEASH SET

Having your dog wear a harness is a wonderful way to provide comfort and control while on a walk. For fun-loving doggos with food on the mind, we would suggest our adorable Yummy Harness leash set. This lovely harness features a brass nameplate so you can personalize with your furbaby's name and number.

The great thing about harnesses is the fact that they can take the pressure off of your poor doggo’s neck, which is particularly important for corrections while you are out on your walk. Most pawrents worry when their dogs strain against a collar because it can choke them, but with a harness, this isn’t a problem.

 

Though a standard harness will likely be a good fit for most dogs, some doggos require a specialty design instead—and that is okay! For dogs that are known to pull, a standard harness might not be a great option, particularly if the dog is fairly large and you struggle to control them at all. Dogs like this can actually gain more leverage when fitted with a harness, meaning they can pull you even more. That likely isn’t the goal, so be sure to look for specialty harnesses that redirect how your dog pulls. With specialty harnesses, your dog can be redirected or controlled more effectively.

Treats and Accessories

Dog mom handing a treat to an adorable jack russell terrier standing up on its hind legs in the middle of the street.
Good boy, now let's try that again!

Training a dog is a process that can be frustrating at times, which is why you need to have the proper incentives for your favorite pup. Treats are a wonderful tool in any trainer’s pack, and they can make all the difference. You would not believe how quickly a treat can change a dog’s entire attitude towards the process. Even the most excitable and distractable dogs can be won over with something delicious.

Before you fully commit to training, it can really pay off to find the right incentive for your pet. Shop around to find a delicious treat that they are absolutely wild for, then you can begin. To make this part of the process easier, we would also recommend that you invest in a treat bag, which can hold treats without getting your bag dirty and can also act as a visual indicator to your dog that you’ve got their goodies. There are plenty that can be worn on the waist or attached to a dog leash directly.

Doggy Bags

Dog dad at the park, picking up dog poop and cleaning up after their bichon.
A tough job, but don't worry, all owners have to do it 😉

Heading out on an adventure with your doggo can be fun, but you also want to be courteous to others while you do it. It is very common for dogs to use the bathroom on a walk, even if they have already gone. Like humans, the act of walking can really get things moving, so you want to be prepared with doggy bags to pick up any messes along the way. Just like treats, doggy bags are best when combined with a holder, so you have easy access to bags on the go.

Leash Training and Bonding

Adorable husky puppy taking a break during leash training and bonding.
Walking on a leash is tough!

Any time that you work on training with your dog, you are creating a bonding experience. Dogs are highly driven by their connection with a trainer, and leveraging that can take your relationship with your dog to an entirely new level. As your dog learns what you want and performs their duties, they will feel happy and excited to engage in these kinds of activities with you.

Focusing on the bond between you and your dog while you leash train can really influence how it all works out. Remember, the goal is not just for your dog to do as they are told. It is for you both to work together and communicate to create a better outcome for everyone. Avoid bringing frustration to the space while you work. Instead, focus on that bond, and use it to provide a more committed training session every day. It can make a huge difference.

How to Leash Train Your Dog

Adorable puppy on a leash getting ready for training.
I'm not fully trained, but so ready for this walk!

To find success while leash training your dog, you will need the right approach—and quite a bit of dedication. Some dogs will take longer than others to understand the drill, so remember to always be patient and consistent while you train.

Get Them Comfortable with Their Gear

Pitbull outside on a beautiful day, wearing a harness and hiking with their dog dad.
Enough training, let's run down that hill!

For dogs that don’t have a lot of experience with walking on a leash, it is very important to help them to learn about their gear. You want to create a complete sense of comfort, which can help them to focus on you during your walks instead of the awkward sensation brought on by a harness or leash. As a start, put the gear on your doggo on a regular basis while you are inside.

When you put a harness, collar, or leash on a dog, it is very important that you not leave them unattended. It is always possible for these items to get snagged on something, which could upset or even hurt your pet. For puppies or doggos that love to chew, leaving them alone with a harness or leash can absolutely invite trouble. Practice putting the gear on and taking it off until your dog doesn’t seem to mind.

Practice Inside

Adorable Coco, the Cockapoo, praciting indoors walking and wearing a pink leash.
That's right! I'm practicing being perfect.

Every good pup knows that the world is a beautiful and interesting place, but that isn’t always conducive to training. Some puppies are so full of love and curiosity that they cannot focus at all if they are in an environment with a lot of stimulation, like the great outdoors. There are plenty of things to sniff, humans to wag at, and other doggos to play with. So, if your dog is excitable, it can really pay to start indoors. Take the time to practice walking inside where there aren’t as many distractions.

Reclaim Your Pup’s Attention

Adorable french bulldog puppy not paying attention to their dog mom during leash training.
Sorry mama, there's a cute dog alert at 7 o'clock.

A lot of pet owners struggle with walking their dogs because of all of the distractions. Though starting inside can help, eventually you will find yourself outside—and for excitable doggos, this can come with quite a few distractions that will undermine your training.

Instead of focusing on only taking your dog out in distraction-free environments, it is almost always best to focus on maintaining their attention. Remember, a walk is a bonding experience between you and your dog. Make sure that you remind your doggo that this is your time together by keeping their attention. Treats are an excellent way to go about this. If your dog chooses to focus on you and not that other dog up the street, give them a tasty reward!

Stop Moving if They Pull

Adorable beagle puppy with sand on his nose, easily distracted and pulling during leash training outside.
Hey, did someone call my name. I must go investigate!

Some dogs are completely relaxed and like to focus on a quiet stroll, but that isn’t the case for a lot of dogs—especially younger ones. Pulling is a very common behavior for dogs, and that can be incredibly frustrating for pawrents. You might not think of your dog as being that strong until they decide they want to go investigate a fire hydrant and drag you along with them.

To combat this, you have to focus on not even giving your dog a single inch when this behavior occurs. When they pull, become the person that cannot be moved. Stand completely still until they come back to you and stop pulling.

Avoid Excessive Sniffing

Puppy sniffing leaves on the ground incessantly instead of leash training.
Something smells so so so good.

Most of us love how in love our doggos are with the world, but it isn’t conducive to training. When your pup proves that they can handle walking on a leash, you might find that you are more comfortable with them sniffing around, but this can be a very bad decision while training. Sniffing is a distraction, and it can be counterproductive to the skills that you are trying to build. Instead, reclaim your pup’s attention and keep things moving.

Practice Daily

Puppy chewing on green rope leash instead of properly walking with a leash.
Gimme that leash momma!
"When it comes to training a dog, 5 minutes a day Monday through Friday is better than 30 minutes on Saturday." ~ Martin Deeley

With any kind of training, the goal is always to be as consistent as possible. If you don’t keep practicing, you will watch your pup’s new skills completely drift away. Consistency is key, so you will want to practice as often as possible. Turning your dog’s usual potty time into walk time is a great way to go about this.

Even ten minutes of leash training a day can have lasting impacts on you and your pet. Remind your canine companion that this is how you walk, and be sure to continue to praise them, even if it seems like they already know what they are doing. It really does help to reinforce these lessons.

The Takeaway

Dog owner and aadorable Boston Terrier puppy wearing a pink shirt, running in a field of grass at a park.
Yipeee....got places to peee!

Learning how to leash your dog is a process that requires work from both of you, but it is also an opportunity to grow together. Remember to stick to your role, and you will find that your dog has a much easier time sticking to theirs. It takes more than the best dog leashes to get it all done, but once your dog learns this invaluable skill, you will find that walking is a more pleasant experience for everyone. After everything is said and done, you and your doggo will be closer than ever!

Until next time, thank you for reading!


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