The leash is a valuable all-purpose tool for training your dog. It enables you to gently control his movements and correct any missteps. You can use the leash for general leash training, housebreaking and socialization.
Arrange the furniture so you have as much space as possible. Remove all distractions from the room.
Clip the leash onto the collar or loop the leash over your dog’s head, depending on the kind of leash you prefer to use. As you put on the leash, issue verbal praise such as “good boy.” In doing this, you are teaching the dog that the leash is positive and wearing it results in praise.
Coil the leash around your hand to shorten it so the dog can’t get more than five steps away from you.
Walking to Heel
Hold a treat in your hand, next to your leg, to keep your dog focused on you.
Begin walking and say “good boy” every 10 seconds, provided he isn’t pulling. Issue the treat every 30 seconds or so. This teaches him that remaining focused on you and by staying close by results in a positive outcome. As his leash manners improve, increase the time between issuing treats. Eventually, you won’t need the treat to tempt him.
Reverse your walking direction every few seconds. If the dog begins to pull at any point, say “heel” and gently pull him toward you. As soon as he falls back in line, issue the treat to reward him.
Leash the dog as soon as he’s eaten or drunk.
Walk him slowly around the area next to the outside door. Walk in a loop so he’s always near the door.
Walk him out of the door after two or three minutes, while saying your chosen command for toileting, such as “go bathroom” or “toilet.” If he doesn’t go, walk him back and repeat.
Issue a treat as soon as he goes to the bathroom outside. If he looks as if he’s about to go indoors, gently guide him outside using the leash.
Socialization with Other Dogs
Remove all distractions such as toys and food from the room and ensure there is a clear path from the center of the room to the door. Leave the door open. Socialization can be stressful for dogs. This is compounded if they feel trapped.
Introduce the dogs. Have a friend or family member bring in the other dog, who must also be leashed.
Hold the leash slack, so he can move around freely.
Give praise to the dog every 10 seconds or so, provided he remains calm and polite toward the other dog.
Restrain the dog by gently pulling the leash toward you, should he become over-excited or agitated.
Loosen the leash once he has calmed down and repeat. Limit initial socialization sessions to between 5 and 10 minutes at a time.
- If training a particularly strong dog, position yourself so the dog is on your left. (If you are left-handed, position yourself so the dog is on your right.) Step over the leash, so it runs from your strongest hand, behind your legs to the dog. This means, when you stop walking, your entire body weight goes in front of the leash.
- Never yank the leash.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.