Leash Training in Dogs: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

Leash training is an essential part of raising a well-behaved and obedient dog. Teaching your dog to walk on a leash can be a challenging task, but it’s one that pays off in the long run. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of leash training, including why it’s important, what equipment you’ll need, and some tips and tricks for success.

1. Why is Leash Training Important?

Leash training is an essential part of keeping your dog safe and under control. Dogs that are not leash trained can be a danger to themselves and others, as they may run into traffic, chase after other animals, or become aggressive towards strangers. Leash training also helps establish your role as the pack leader, which is crucial for maintaining obedience and discipline in your dog.

2. What Equipment Will You Need for Leash Training?

To begin leash training, you will need a few basic pieces of equipment, including:

  • A leash (4-6 feet in length)
  • A collar (or harness)
  • Treats for positive reinforcement
  • A clicker (optional)

3. Choosing the Right Leash and Collar

Choosing the right leash and collar (or harness) is an important step in successful leash training. A standard flat collar is a good choice for most dogs, but if your dog has a tendency to pull or has respiratory issues, a harness may be a better option. When selecting a leash, choose one that is sturdy and comfortable to hold.

4. Getting Your Dog Used to the Leash

Before you begin any leash training, it’s important to get your dog comfortable with the leash. You can do this by attaching the leash to your dog’s collar or harness and letting them walk around the house or yard with it on. This will allow them to get used to the feel of the leash and prevent them from becoming scared or anxious when you try to take them for a walk.

5. Basic Leash Training Techniques

The first step in leash training is teaching your dog to walk calmly beside you. Begin by walking your dog on a loose leash, rewarding them with treats and praise when they stay close to your side. If your dog pulls or tries to run ahead, stop walking and wait for them to come back to your side. When they do, reward them with a treat and continue walking.

6. Correcting Bad Behavior on a Leash

If your dog begins to pull or exhibit other bad behavior on a leash, it’s important to correct the behavior immediately. One effective method is to stop walking and turn around in the opposite direction. This will force your dog to pay attention to you and stop pulling. You can also use a sharp verbal command (such as “No” or “Stop”) to get your dog’s attention.

7. Using Positive Reinforcement in Leash Training

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in leash training. Whenever your dog exhibits good behaviour on a leash, be sure to reward them with treats and praise. This can include stopping to give them a treat, saying “good boy/girl” or “well done”, and patting them on the head or back. Positive reinforcement helps your dog associate good behaviour with positive experiences, which will encourage them to continue obeying your commands on the leash.

8. Advanced Leash Training Techniques

Once your dog has mastered the basic leash training techniques, you can move on to more advanced techniques such as heeling, off-leash training, and agility training. These techniques require more time and patience, but can be a lot of fun for both you and your dog. Consider enrolling in a training class or hiring a professional dog trainer for help with advanced leash training techniques.

9. Tips for Successful Leash Training

Successful leash training requires patience, consistency, and a positive attitude. Here are some tips to help you achieve success:

  • Start with short walks and gradually increase the length and duration of your walks as your dog becomes more comfortable on the leash.
  • Use a consistent verbal command (such as “heel” or “let’s go”) to signal to your dog that it’s time to start walking.
  • Be patient and persistent. Leash training takes time, and your dog may not master it overnight.
  • Use positive reinforcement consistently to reward good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour.
  • Keep training sessions short and focused to avoid overwhelming your dog.

10. Common Leash Training Mistakes to Avoid

Leash training can be tricky, and there are some common mistakes that owners make that can hinder their progress. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  • Using a retractable leash, which can give your dog too much freedom and make it harder to control them.
  • Pulling or jerking on the leash, which can be painful for your dog and create tension in the leash.
  • Letting your dog pull you in a certain direction, which can reinforce bad behaviour and make it harder to teach them to walk calmly beside you.
  • Not using positive reinforcement consistently, which can confuse your dog and make it harder for them to understand what you want them to do.

11. How Long Does Leash Training Take?

The length of time it takes to leash train your dog will depend on a variety of factors, including your dog’s age, breed, and temperament, as well as how consistent and patient you are with the training. Some dogs may master leash training in a few weeks, while others may take several months to get the hang of it.

12. Troubleshooting Common Leash Training Problems

If you’re having trouble with leash training, there are a few common problems that you may be encountering. Here are some tips for troubleshooting these problems:

  • Pulling on the leash: Stop walking and wait for your dog to come back to your side. Reward them with a treat and continue walking.
  • Lunging or barking at other dogs: Use a verbal command or treat to distract your dog and redirect their attention back to you.
  • Becoming scared or anxious on the leash: Start by getting your dog comfortable with the leash inside the house or yard before moving to longer walks outside. Use positive reinforcement to reward good behaviour and help your dog feel more at ease on the leash.

13. Leash Training for Different Types of Dogs

Different breeds of dogs may require different leash training techniques. For example, a high-energy breed like a Border Collie may require more advanced techniques like agility training, while a smaller breed like a Chihuahua may need a harness instead of a collar. Consider your dog’s breed and temperament when selecting a leash training method.

14. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use a retractable leash for leash training?

It’s not recommended to use a retractable leash for leash training as it can give your dog too much freedom and make it harder to control them. A standard leash or a training leash is a better option for leash training.

  1. How often should I leash train my dog?

You should aim to leash train your dog at least once a day for short periods of time, gradually increasing the duration and distance of your walks as your dog becomes more comfortable on the leash.

  1. Is it okay to use a collar for leash training?

Using a collar for leash training is okay as long as it fits properly and doesn’t cause any discomfort or pain to your dog. A harness may be a better option for dogs with respiratory or neck issues.

  1. Can I leash train an older dog?

Yes, older dogs can be leash trained, although it may take more time and patience than training a younger dog.

  1. What should I do if my dog continues to pull on the leash?

If your dog continues to pull on the leash, you may need to stop walking and wait for them to calm down before continuing. You can also try using a verbal command or a treat to redirect their attention back to you.


Leash training is an important aspect of responsible dog ownership, helping to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being while on walks. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog to walk calmly on the leash and enjoy the great outdoors together. By avoiding common mistakes and troubleshooting any problems that arise, you can help your dog become a confident and well-behaved walking companion.

Leave a Comment