Does your dog make leash walks difficult? Do they stop frequently, tug in every direction, or recoil when you attempt to put them in their harness? Leash walks are not second nature for all dogs, but often the only safe and legal option for talking your dog outside. Here are some tips for making leash walks seamless!

holding a leash with a dog in a field

Make a positive association with the leash

Starting with short sessions, attach your dog’s leash or harness in the house. When the leash is on, play with your pet and offer them treats. Soon enough they will associate the leash with excitement and eating, two things dogs and puppies love!

Teach them to “come”

As their association with the leash time becomes positive, you should begin training your dog to come to you. Still inside the house and with the leash attached, step a few feet away from your dog, and beckon them to come your way. When they oblige, give them a treat. After a handful of short sessions, they should tend toward staying by your side.

Combat pulling

Active dogs often pull and tug if not properly leash trained. The only way to combat this behavior is to reward them in the moments when they are calm. Even the wildest dogs will quiet for moments and have slack on the leash. Using treats and petting, reward them when they are calm to give them some reference of what behavior you prefer.

Take the training outside

The above techniques in mind, take the training outside. Starting with short walks around the neighborhood, and eventually graduating to longer walks or dog parks, continue to reward good behavior with treats and affirmations. Over time, your pet should walk like a champ!