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How To Train Your Older Dog To Walk On A Leash (Updated: )

Leash training is an essential component of your dog's obedience training. Accidents may occur if you cannot maintain control of your dog as he or she ages and gains strength. Taking an elderly, untrained dog from a shelter for a walk may have presented you with challenges in the past. On walks, you will need to train him to keep your dog and others safe. Yet, how do you begin teaching an older dog? Is it truly true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks? Fortunately, it is not. To understand how to teach an older dog to walk on a leash, consult "How To Train Your Older Dog To Walk On A Leash (Updated: %year%)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Before You Start

It might be tempting to begin training immediately, but take a minute to consider your options first. While teaching a dog, it is important to have the proper equipment, leash, and collar. But, while teaching older dogs, you must also consider the dog’s health.

Compile Your Supplies

Having the correct equipment is essential for successful training. In this situation, you will need snacks, a water bottle for dogs, a leash, and a collar.

When you are teaching an older dog and not a young one, the leash and collar should be more durable. In addition, you will want to consider a harness that will provide you more control over your dog.

Find the Proper Leash and Collar for Training

You need a training leash in addition to your usual leash. The ordinary leash is linked directly to the harness, whereas the training leash is attached to the collar.

The two leashes allow you to walk your dog at a regular distance with the standard leash while gaining control fast and effectively with the training leash. Look for collars and leashes that fit snugly but not too tightly when purchasing them.

Consider Your Dog’s Current Health

If walking causes discomfort, it will be difficult to train your dog to walk on a leash. Also, nobody wants to cause their dog additional discomfort.

Before commencing leash training, schedule an appointment with the veterinarian if your dog has not been seen recently. You will want to check that your dog’s physical condition is sufficient for a longer stroll. Leash training might be delayed until your dog is at his best.

Main Ways to Train Older Dogs to Walk on a Leash

There are several ways to teach a dog to walk on a leash. This article describes two typical techniques for leash-training dogs. There is the conventional way of leash training, which involves more stages.

The second way is the “heel” method, which needs your dog to know how to respond to the order “heel.” After reviewing the two methods, you and your dog may determine which is most effective.

Traditional Leash Training Method Step by Step

1. Calm Your Dog Down.

While putting a leash and harness on your dog, he will likely become enthusiastic. He probably already associates the leash and harness with walking, so he may become restless and excited when you bring out the walking equipment. This might make it tough to walk your dog, despite how adorable it is.

Before beginning your stroll, take your dog to a confined outdoor area for him to burn off excess energy. After his level of enthusiasm has stabilized, you may begin the stroll.

2. Begin Your Walk

Start the stroll. If your dog attempts to pull you around instantly, stop, turn around, and return to the enclosure. As many times as necessary until he learns not to drag you around.

3. Do not allow your dog to drag you around.

As the stroll continues, your dog may attempt to draw you around once again. If this occurs, remain still until your dog has calmed down. This will need a great deal of patience, as you must consistently halt and wait until your dog stops pulling.

4. Give Treats!

Don’t forget to reward your dog if he walks by your side without dragging or raising a fuss. A great deal of praise and treats will go a long way toward reinforcing the desired behavior.

Heel Method Step by Step

1. Begin Your Walk.

Put on your dog’s walking equipment, making sure that everything fits properly and is secure. Let your dog to walk ahead of you at a short distance.

2. Give the “Heel” Command.

Give the “heel” command whenever your dog pulls you around as you walk. Immediately following this order, stop walking and softly pull the leash. Wait till your dog comes to your side.

3. Give Treats!

As soon as your dog comes to your side, reward and congratulate him. If he associates the order with returning to your side and obtaining a reward, he will be far more ready to follow.


As noted in “How To Train Your Older Dog To Walk On A Leash” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), with leash training, there is more than one method to teach an old dog new skills.

Remember that practice makes perfect, regardless of the approach you and your dog choose. Your dog’s training will need patience and time.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective technique to teach your dog desirable habits, so be generous with praise and rewards.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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