Train Your Dog to Walk Nicely On Leash
If a dog doesn’t behave well on a leash, then it can be dangerous for the dog, the owner and people around the dog. Some dogs can get stressed and aggressive when wearing a leash if they don’t have good manners. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to the dog biting someone.
One of the biggest pain points for dog owners is a dog that doesn’t walk properly on a leash. A dog that pulls on a leash can be a minor inconvenience to downright dangerous. Leash manners are something all dogs (and owners) should understand. Even if you don't walk your dog on a leash too much because you have lots of property for off-leash running, you will need to take your dog to the veterinarian sometimes, so teaching good leash walking etiquette is still crucial.
Why Should You Teach Your Dog, Leash Manners?
All dogs should have basic leash training. Even if your dog is small and it doesn't particularly bother you that he pulls, there are good reasons to train him not to. A dog that pulls on the leash might escape, injure you by pulling you over an obstacle or causing you to trip, or cause trouble by bounding up to other dogs or people.
Teach Your Dog to Pay Attention to and Follow You
To learn good leash manners, your dog must be taught to follow your lead when he is leashed. To teach this, use tasty treats and lots of praise. First, put the leash on your dog and ask him to sit facing you. Give him a treat and praise for doing so. Then, back up a few paces, ask him to follow you and reward him with praise and a treat when he does.
Continue to practice this for a while, encouraging eye contact and having your dog follow you. Eventually, you can turn and walk forward, still encouraging eye contact and staying close to you. In the beginning, use lots of treats and praise as reinforcement. Over time, use less treats, but remember to continue to employ praise routinely.
If your pup pulls: If your dog starts pulling in the other direction, turn yourself into “a tree.” Stand very still and refuse to move until your dog comes back to you. Do not yank or jerk the leash, and do not drag your dog along with you. Front-hook harnesses and head halters are alternative training tools designed for dogs that tend to pull.
If your pup lunges: If your dog is going after something while on a walk — another dog, a car, a skateboarder, for example, be proactive. Try to redirect his attention with a treat before he has a chance to lunge, and increase the space between your dog and the target. Stay alert and be prepared before the target of his frustration gets too close. This type of behaviour may be more common in herding breeds, but any dog can be startled by something he’s not used to or finds exciting.
If your pup barks: Some dogs have the habit of barking at other dogs while on a walk. Often, this behaviour comes as a result of lack of exercise. Make sure your dog gets the proper amount of mental and physical stimulation for his age and breed. If this is still a problem, use the same process as you would if your dog is lunging, as described above — create distance and offer treats before he starts to bark, so every time he sees a dog he gets used to turning his attention to you.