How To Leash Train Your Dog


A woman wearing a purple jacking walking a brown and white dog in the woods.

Got A Dog That Pulls Or A New Puppy?

Training your dog to walk on a leash is an essential skill that’ll make walks more fun for you both. All it takes is a little patience, a whole lot of dog treats, and the right technique.

Get Your Dog Used To A Collar & Leash

Introduce leash training in a place where your dog is already relaxed—your home.


Let your dog walk around the house wearing their collar and attached leash, just to get used to the feel of it. Then, start walking inside while you’re holding the leash. Gradually, add commands like “come” and “wait” while your dog’s wearing their leash. Finally, teach them to “heel” by offering treats right at your side while they walk next to you.


Once your dog is comfortable with basic commands on leash and can “heel” without pulling, take your new skills for a spin.

Pro Tip: When leash training in public, pick spots without too many distractions, like pedestrians or other dogs. This will set your dog up for success, and you can gradually introduce distractions as your dog builds their leash skills. And don’t forget the dog treats!

Leash Training Tips & Tricks

A brown dog pulling while on a red leash.

Pulling

To stop pulling, you’ll need to teach your dog a new behavior to use when they feel pressure on the leash. The goal is to teach your dog to turn back and look at you when they feel pressure or to move with the pressure, not pull against it.


Here’s the method:

  1. Have a treat ready in one hand.
  2. With the other hand, hold the leash close to your dog’s collar and put light pressure on the leash.
  3. When your dog turns to look at you or moves toward you, immediately praise and reward your dog and let all pressure off the leash.

Note: No verbal cue is needed. The cue for your dog to “fix” the leash pressure is simply feeling the leash pressure. The key here is plenty of practice.

A close up of a fluffy white dog and its smiling mouth.

Biting

Pups bite the leash for lots of reasons!


Here are some common ones:

  • Holding the leash too tightly: Your pup might be mouthing the leash to protest the tension—give ’em some slack. Your dog can’t learn not to pull if you’re always pulling your dog!
  • Excitement: Walks are fun, and a leash can look a lot like a toy. Make sure you don’t end up playing tug-of-war by making it boring for your dog to bite the leash. Gently pull your dog against your leg, don’t give your dog any attention, and wait it out. Once your pup spits out the leash, calmly praise them, move along, and repeat as needed.
  • Teething: Puppies love to chew. Try redirecting by letting your pup carry around a favorite toy.

Tip: Look for a dog harness with a front clip to help reduce pulling while you work on training. 

A brown and white puppy laying on the ground by the road in tall grass.

Puppy Won’t Walk

It could be anxiety or fear, or your dog is just plain tired. Make sure you’ve given your pup plenty of time to get used to their collar and leash, keep walks short, and walk in places where your puppy feels confident (your backyard is a great starting point).

Practice, Practice, Practice

Keep training sessions short and always try to end on a positive note. Remember, progress takes time, but with consistency and patience, you and your dog will be walking like pros in no time.

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