Every dog reacts differently the first time he hears the click of the leash and feels the tug on his collar. Some dogs are ready and willing to go with you, while other can’t figure out why they want to go one way but their neck is going another. No one likes to be dragged somewhere, including your dog. If you train him correctly, you will have him walking politely on a leash in no time.
The Right Collar:
The first step in leash training your dog is to make sure he has a comfortable collar. A good first collar for your dog to wear around the house is a nylon or leather buckle collar, or a snap – on type collar.
The collar should fit snugly around his neck without choking him. At the same time, don’t go overboard and buy a collar a few sizes too big, thinking that your pup will grow into it. If the collar is too big, it will slip off easily and be useless. An oversized collar can also catch on all sorts of objects.
To make sure your dg’s collar fits properly take him to the local pet supply store and try a selection on him. A good fit is when you can put two of your fingers comfortably between your dog’s neck and the collar.
When you put a collar on a puppy for the first time, get ready for a show. He’ll scratch, yelp, shake and roll on the ground to try and take it off. But don’t be mistaken into thinking that it’s hurting him – it’s just something strange and new on his neck. Give him some time to get used to it and after a while he’ll relax.
Training Collars and Leashes:
When you start training your puppy you can use his regular collar, but by the time he is six to eight months old, you will need to switch to a special training collar, called a choke collar.
A choke collar is made up of a chain with a large ring at each end. By putting the chain into one of the rings, you can form a loop that slips over your dog’s head. Make sure that the ring end attached to the leash comes over his neck, not under it. It’s standard practice to stand to the right of your dog while he is wearing this collar.
Your dog will need a sex – to eight – foot leash that fits comfortably in your hand. For a small dog a quarter inch may be wide enough; for a larger dog, chooses one that is one-half to three-quarter inch wide. Don’t use a chain or a flimsy nylon leash – they will cut into your hand.
Find a special place in the house to keep your dog’s training collar and leash. Choose a location that’s easy for you to get to, so you can just slip on his collar, hook up the leash and go.
Using the Leash:
Just as he did when he first wore a collar as a puppy, your dog will need to become familiar with the leash. Start putting on his training collar, then attaching the leash to this. Always take off his regular buckle or snap-on collar when you are using the training collar.
Instead of rushing outdoors right away, let him drags the leash around the house for a while so he can get used to the sound and feel of it. Keep your eye on him all the time so he doesn’t get it caught up in anything.
Every few moments, bend down and pick up the end of the leash and gently call your dog to come to you. When he does, praise him. Once he comes to your side while he’s on the leash, you’re ready to start taking steps with him. Holding the leash, walk away from your dog for a bit, then stop and call him to come. When he comes to you, reward him with a treat, either some food or praise.
Your dog might resist this exercise by trying to bite the leash or by digging his paws in and refusing to budge. These are all normal actions. To discourage him from chewing the leash, you can spray it with bitter apple, a pet repellant. If he refuses to move, don’t scold or pick him up because this just reinforces his reluctance. Be gentle and persistent, and try to entice him, with a toy or food, to move with you.
After performing this exercise successfully a few times, move to the outdoors. Gradually coax your dog into moving at a regular speed with you. As he begins to accept this and moves in the same direction and at the same pace as you, stop and praise him. Keep repeating the exercise, making sure you have his full attention. If his concentration wanders, give a short correction on the lead. Your dog will soon get the message that whenever you put his leash on him you want him to pay attention to you and to walk at your pace beside you.