Any dog owner knows how difficult it is to walk a dog that pulls on the leash or simply refuses to walk. While basic dog training for any breed should involve lead training, the larger breeds in particular need to learn this as puppies. There’s nothing more unpleasant than trying to take your Husky or German Shepherd out for an evening stroll and having them fight the lead all the way.
With that in mind, here are five tips to make lead training your dog a little easier.
1. Start young. It’s far easier to start with puppy training than it is to teach an older dog not to pull on the leash. While not impossible, it’s best to start out with a young dog that hasn’t yet picked up any bad habits. You can easily accustom a young puppy to the lead and he will be happy to treat it with respect for the rest of his life, but the trick is not to wait too long.
Start your puppy off with a collar and then progress to the leash and you’ll find that the entire process is far easier on both you and your dog. This can be one of the first puppy training methods that you use.
2. Be gentle. This is not a time to be rough. Whether you are working with a puppy or an adult dog, obedience is not going to come about through intimidating your dog. That’s why it’s important not to use a choke chain on your dog while lead training, as this will give it the wrong idea about leads. Dog training should be done gently, with respect for your canine and you’ll find that he responds better.
3. Go slowly. There’s no need to leap into walking down the street with your dog. Training can be done slowly and it will be much smoother for it. For example, start with the collar only at first. Once the puppy is used to this, you can progress to attaching the lead. Try doing this while the puppy is being fed so he’ll associate it with something good. Then, once he’s used to having something attached to the collar, you can start picking it up. Don’t rush and you’ll be fine.
4. Nip bad habits in the bud. It’s important not to let your dog training go the wrong way. If your puppy is starting to pull on the lead, you’ll need to make sure you stop that little problem right away. A firm “no” and a little tug on the leash will usually work when used consistently, but you’ll have far more success with rewarding the right behavior. Which brings us to our next tip …
5. Praise and reward. Dogs want to please their humans and yours will be no exception. Even a few words of praise will go a long way toward making your dog want to continue the behavior. The great thing about this method of puppy training is that you can’t go wrong! As long as you are consistent with the reward or praise, your dog will rapidly learn the new behavior … in this case, walking on a lead.
There are a lot of advantages to having your dog trained to use a leash and not pull. For one, you’ll be able to enjoy walks out with your dog and so will your canine friend. It’s also safer, as any dog obedience class will teach you, since you don’t need to worry about your dog getting loose and running out into the street when he’s walking happily beside you.
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