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5 Easy Steps To Train Your Dog To Walk On Leash

Are you attempting to teach your puppy how to walk on a leash but do not know where to begin? Do you have an older dog who pulls whenever you take him for a walk?

People frequently think that dogs know how to walk correctly on a leash, but this is not the case. Walking on a leash, like other actions, is a taught behavior. Fortunately, training your dog proper leash behavior is not as difficult as you may believe.

"5 Easy Steps To Train Your Dog To Walk On Leash" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) covers everything you need to know about teaching your dog to walk on a leash, from the fundamentals to the most effective techniques.

Leash Basics

Choosing a Collar

First and foremost, you must confirm that the collar on your dog is the correct size. A collar that is too large may slip off your dog, while a collar that is too tight may cause injury.

You can approximate the size of your dog’s collar by sliding your fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. No more than two fingers should be able to fit beneath the collar.

You may also use a measuring tape to determine the size of your dog’s neck. Despite the fact that pet retailers may offer certain collars for specific breeds, it is essential to measure for the proper fit.

While determining the breadth of your dog’s collar, you should also consider your dog’s breed and general size.

A collar with a width of 1 to 2 inches will offer greater support, making it suited for larger and stronger canines. Instead, a thin collar (58 to 1 inch) is suitable for little breeds.

Choosing a Leash

There are a variety of types, materials, and lengths of leashes. Typically, a regular leash is 4 to 6 feet length and 3/8 to 1 inch broad. Nylon is the most frequent material for dog leashes since it is inexpensive and simple to clean.

But, if your dog enjoys chewing on his leash, nylon may not be the ideal choice, since these leashes may be easily shredded. You may choose a rope or leather leash if you want a stronger material, but bear in mind that leather can be difficult to clean.

Use a hemp leash for a hypoallergenic choice. Hemp is unlikely to irritate the delicate skin of a dog.

If you discover that a regular leash does not meet your needs, there are a number of alternatives available, including retractable leashes, adjustable leashes, and umbilical leashes. Each of these alternatives has advantages and disadvantages.

Retractable Leashes

If your dog is prone to wandering, a retractable leash may be an excellent choice. But, you should be aware that if your pet is not properly taught, they might cause danger to humans and other canines.

Particularly if your dog has a strong prey drive and a propensity to chase after items and creatures that pique his attention, a retractable leash can cause neck injuries since it allows your dog to run at full speed until they reach the end of the leash, producing an abrupt lurch.

Flexible Leashes

Because adjustable leashes feature clasps on both ends, they can be useful if you need to tether your dog to a post or a tree, or if you need to walk many dogs. This sort of leash is not suggested for running or hiking with your dog.

Umbilical Cord Restrictions

Leashes made from umbilical cords are a terrific hands-free choice for energetic dogs. With to two built-in grips, you can secure these leashes around your waist while on the move and yet keep control over your dog.

This sort of leash also has a bungee cord that minimizes injuries when running and starting and stopping.

At What Age Should You Leash Train a Puppy?

You may be shocked to find that you may begin leash training your puppy at 7 or 8 weeks of age.

If you wait too long to begin training your dog to walk on a leash, you may miss out on an opportunity to establish expectations for your dog’s behavior. However; if you haven’t trained your old dog to walk on a leash, this is the right time to start.

Obviously, if you begin teaching a puppy at such an early age, you will require a great deal of patience. Be careful to use repetition and positive reinforcement frequently along the route.

Now that you have a better understanding of the fundamentals, let’s review some of our best recommendations for leash training your dog.

Our 5 Tips for Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash Are:

1. Introduce your dog to its collar and leash

It may take some time for a puppy to become accustomed to wearing a collar. Before taking your dog outside, you should spend time at home getting him acclimated to wearing a collar and leash.

If you give him goodies anytime he wears a leash, he will link leash time with enjoyable experiences.

2. Practice walking your dog inside

After your dog is comfortable with his leash, take him for brief walks indoors. Choose a quiet area of the house in which to practice walking so that there are few distractions.

3. Teach your dog to remain on a specific side

Utilize your indoor training time to educate your dog to keep on one side of you so that he does not trip you up.

If you want for your dog to compete in sports and contests, he should be trained to walk on your left side, as this is the conventional side.

If you do not want to compete, you can train him to walk on the side that is most convenient for you.

If you are right-handed, you may find it most convenient to have your dog on your right side.

The most effective approach to keep your dog by your side is to keep his leash short so he cannot circle or zigzag. You may also only give him rewards when he remains on the correct side.

4. Once your dog has mastered indoor walks, take your walks outdoors

Put your dog’s abilities to the test by taking him on his first genuine walks outside. Realize that the outdoors will offer your dog with several new distractions. You will need to be extremely patient with your dog, and the first few walks should preferably be brief.

On a stroll, move away from items that are distracting your dog. After he follows you away from the distraction, offer him a treat as a reward. You may gradually lessen the quantity of goodies you offer your dog on walks.

5. Finally, address the leash issues

Even if your dog or puppy is a fast learner, you are sure to encounter difficulties along the road.

Leash Drawing

Leash pulling is one of the most prevalent behavioral issues. If your dog has a tendency to tug on his leash, you should try remaining motionless until he returns to you. You might hurt your dog by yanking on the leash.

You may praise your dog with goodies when he returns to you in order to teach him that staying with you and not pushing ahead is desirable.

If you continue to struggle with pulling, you may need to purchase a head halter or a different collar in order to get greater control over the tugging.

A head halter is a form of collar that encircles your dog’s muzzle as opposed to his neck.


Lunging is particularly prevalent in dogs with strong hunting drives or herding breeds, but it may be a problem for any dog with an excitable disposition.

If your dog has a tendency to lunge at people or items while you’re walking, pay close attention so you can take preventative measures.

Whenever possible, distract your dog with a treat when you notice a potential target approaching, so that he will not attempt to lunge.


Often, excessive barking is caused by boredom. If you notice that your dog barks excessively during walks, consider boosting his mental stimulation and physical activity.

If barking continues to be a problem, use the same technique you would for a dog with a tendency to lunge; refocus his attention with a treat before he can bark.

If your dog has a tendency to bark when he sees other dogs, for instance, he should develop the habit of looking at you instead of barking when other dogs pass by.


Your dog will soon be able to walk on a leash with sufficient repetition and persistence.

If you have tried all of suggestions in “5 Easy Steps To Train Your Dog To Walk On Leash” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) and your dog is still tugging, lunging, or barking, your best option is to enroll him in an obedience class where he can work with an expert trainer.

The sooner you address your dog’s negative behaviors, the easier it will be for him to form new ones.

Author Image

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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