Training a dog to walk on a lead is an important aspect of pet ownership. It involves more than just restraining your furry friend physically; it also entails training them to walk beside you, matching your pace and cadence, and heel properly.
This is important not only for making walks more enjoyable for you and your dog but also for safety reasons. As a responsible pet owner, you must ensure that you can control your dog, which can prevent stressful and exhausting walks.
This is especially crucial if you own a larger breed dog, as it can be challenging to manage a 40-kilogram canine that is not trained to walk on a lead properly. By taking the time to train your dog to walk on a lead, you can establish a safe and enjoyable routine for both you and your furry friend.
To help, we’ve compiled three effective steps for teaching your dog to walk on a lead.
Why training a dog to walk on a lead is so important
Pet owner responsibility
As a pet owner, you have a social responsibility to keep your dog under control at all times. This means teaching them not to jump on passersby or people who want to pet them. It’s also crucial when encountering other pets, whether it’s during walks or in open spaces. This can help prevent unwanted incidents and keep everyone safe.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that not everyone is comfortable around dogs, so it’s essential to be considerate of others when you’re out with your furry friend. By properly training your dog to be well-behaved and under your control, you can ensure that everyone has a positive experience when interacting with your pet.
Teaching your dog to walk properly on a leash is an important aspect of dog training that many pet owners often overlook. While fundamental commands like “sit” or “stay” are essential for any well-trained dog, mastering lead manners are equally important. Walking on a leash requires discipline and focus, and it’s essential to teach your dog to follow your lead while also being aware of its surroundings.
A well-trained dog that can walk calmly and obediently on a lead will make your daily walks more enjoyable and stress-free. Not only will your dog be less likely to pull or lunge, but you’ll also have more control over their behaviour in potentially distracting environments. By taking the time to properly train your dog to walk on a lead, you’ll be strengthening your bond with your furry friend while also ensuring their safety and well-being.
Socialisation and mental stimulation
Dogs are highly intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation to lead happy and healthy lives. Going on regular walks is an excellent way to provide your furry friend with the necessary mental stimulation. These outings allow your dog to encounter new sights, sounds, and smells, which help to keep its brain active and engaged. Moreover, walks can be an excellent opportunity for socialisation, as they allow your dog to interact with other people, places, and pets.
When you take your dog for a walk, you are not just providing them with an opportunity to stretch their legs and do their business. You are also helping them to develop good social skills, which can lead to a better quality of life for both you and your pet. Studies have shown that dogs who are regularly exposed to new people, places, and other animals are less likely to develop behavioural issues such as anxiety and aggression. By regularly taking your dog for a walk, you are providing them with the mental stimulation they need to stay happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.
Dogs, just like humans, need to maintain a healthy weight to prevent various health issues. Obesity is a severe problem that can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to take steps to ensure your furry friend stays in good physical condition.
Walking your dog on a lead is an excellent way to keep them active and help them maintain a healthy weight. It also provides them with mental stimulation and prevents boredom. Dogs need to explore and experience new environments to stay mentally engaged, and walking offers the perfect opportunity for them to do so. Additionally, walking your dog can be an excellent bonding experience for both you and your pet, strengthening your relationship and improving your dog’s behaviour.
Three steps for training a dog to walk on a lead
Step 1 – be prepared with tools and treats!
When taking your dog for its first walk on a lead, it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you have the necessary equipment, including a suitable collar and a lead. It’s also a good idea to bring along some treats to reward your dog for good behaviour.
To get started, hold the lead in the hand you want to use and let your dog become familiar with the sensation of the lead. Encourage your dog to walk around you using the reward as an incentive. Repeat this exercise until your dog is comfortable and confident with the lead.
Step 2 – use cue words!
Next, you will teach your dog to associate a cue word with walking on a lead. This is an important step in your dog’s training and helps your pet understand what you expect from them when you use that particular word.
To start this process, you’ll want to grab some treats and let your dog know that you have them. Encourage your pet to stand next to you by using the cue word you’ve chosen, such as “let’s go” or “walkies.” When your dog responds by standing next to you, reward him with a treat.
Consistency is key here, so make sure to use the same word every time you take your dog for a walk. Over time and with enough practice, your pet will start to look forward to going on walks and will be eager to follow your lead
Step 3 – aim to be walking together!
Next, you should teach your dog to walk alongside. To do this, it’s important to teach him to stand by your side first. Start by getting your dog into the starting position, which is usually with his shoulder near your leg. Use a treat to entice your dog to come to you and stand by your side. Reward your dog with the treat and praise him when he does so successfully.
It’s essential to be patient and consistent when training your dog to walk on a lead. It’s a new skill that your dog has to learn, and it may take some time for him to get used to it. Encourage him to stay by your side by holding a treat in your hand and rewarding him when he walks by your side. As you progress in your training, gradually increase the distance that your dog walks beside you on its lead.
Enjoy long summer dog walks with some healthy treats from VetIQ
It’s important to remember that the first walk on a lead can be an overwhelming experience for your dog. Be patient and take things slow. Gradually increase the length of your walks and introduce your dog to new environments, sounds, and smells. By making the experience positive and enjoyable for your dog, you can help them to develop good walking habits and a healthy attitude towards exercise.
One surefire way to motivate your dog to learn is to treat them along the way. Our Healthy Centres and Healthy Treats are not only delicious but also an excellent way to incentivise your pet during training sessions. They are also free of artificial ingredients and preservatives, so you can be confident that you are providing your furry friend with a tasty, nutritious snack that is a perfect choice for reward-based training.
With longer, brighter evenings finally here now is the time to get walking with your dog – so grab your pooch, some treats and your lead and get out there! Don’t forget to also check out our blog for more pet-related advice and tips!