Pets

How to Leash Train a Dog – Dogster

Walking a dog has little to do with “heeling.” It does have to do with offering your dog the choice to stop and smell her world — and yes — it can be done without pulling you down the street. Unless you are going to compete in obedience trials, there’s no need to teach a dog to heel when you leash train a dog. Instead, teach loose-leash walking. Your dog learns that whenever she hits the end of the leash, with the slightest tension, she’ll learn to release her own tension. Therefore, we can give our dogs whatever length leash we want, depending on the environment we are in. If there’s no one else on the sidewalk, let your dog have the entire 6-foot leash, to roam freely, stopping and smelling as she chooses. If someone else is heading toward you on the sidewalk, simply shorten the leash and when the dog feels the tension, she will then release that tension and walk on this shorter leash. When the way is clear, go ahead and give her the full length of leash again.

Sniari has become the go-to word for letting dogs sniff to their hearts’ desire, while walking on a loose leash. Leash walking must be fluid, given what is happening in the moment and in any given environment. When we offer this kind of freedom to dogs, we are meeting their instinctive needs to use their strongest sense to their fullest delight, making walks more enjoyable for them and for us. Of course, we want to be able to have control of our dog on leash for obvious safety reasons and because there is a leash law in most states, but this doesn’t mean we must make them walk at our side, at heel, taking away their basic need and right to be a dog and do what dogs do — sniff. It’s the humane thing to do.

What you will need for dog leash training

Man Takes His Dog for a Walk in the Park
You and your dog will both have fun walking when you’ve mastered loose-leash training that allows your dog to sniff around on her walk to her heart’s desire. ©Grace Cary/Getty Images

Paul Owens, the Original Dog Whisperer, says that the most important part of training a dog to walk on a leash is being prepared before even beginning leash training. Setting dogs up for success with regard to safety, comfort and money (motivation) are necessary steps to ensure compliance and a strong desire to be part of the leash-training game. Here are those steps: