Learning how to properly leash train a dog or get him or her to use a dog training lead ( sometimes also referred to as a ‘long line’) isn’t quite as simple as you probably think but it is more than worth the effort to do it.
Your dog needs to go on walks and you will enjoy taking him/her a lot more if he is leash trained. Dogs like being with their owners and if your dog is leash trained and you are comfortable using a dog training led , your time together will be much better for both of you. The steps for proper leash training are easy to follow and should be started shortly after you get your new puppy or adult dog home and settled in. I don’t want to dwell on leash training in this post, you can read my previous post on leash training by clicking HERE .Some dogs and dog breeds don’t take to it as fast as others and this is why a long dog training lead has to be introduced.
Before you get started using a dog training lead, something like the one in the picture below you need to be sure to get the proper size collar and leash. The dog collar should be a good fit for the size of your puppy/dog and the leash shouldn’t be too heavy or light and the length of the training lead should be thought out as they come in 20ft, 30ft and even 50 ft. Do not confuse training leads with extendible leads, which have a kind of plastic container at one end that you hold, and that the lead retracts into. If the dog collar is too big he will slip out of it and if it’s too small it might choke him, or he could snap it. If the leash is too heavy it will hinder the training.
One of the main reasons for using dog training leads is if your dog does not come to you if called when they are off lead in the park or even in your garden. Lead pulling,Dog barking, lead biting, pulling or even shaking the lead are also some common reasons owners revert to the long training lead. You want to build on your dogs responses and behaviour. Our natural instinct is to pull on a lead when your dog decides to wander off , this may be fine for pups but for older dogs this doest work as they will keep pulling you around, as if they are walking you!
The dog training lead or long lead should be kept loose dragging along the ground , as if it were not attached to your dog at all, giving him the feeling he is off the lead so they can adapt their natural behaviours. Just a tip use a short leash while out on your daily walk with your dog and getting to your destination i.e. the park or field to train, long training leads are not great for walking near roads.
So when do you use a dog training lead?
Once you reach the park you should call your dog, clicker training can be ideal for this also or the good old fashioned dog treat, something with a strong smell is better so they can sniff it from a distance! Once your dog comes to you reward them with a nice tasty treat and attached the dog training lead. Don’t make a big deal about switching leads you want your dog to think he is off the lead. Continue on your walk, with the lead dragging on the ground, call your dog or use your clicker intermittently and when they come to you reward them a lot with treats and a rub. Every so often get your dog to ‘sit’ when they come back to you after the treat as you don’t want them just running back for a reward and then sprinting away again, you want to keep the control.
The long leash can not only be used for ‘recalling’ your dog but also to stop other bad behaviours like being over excitable with other dogs or sniffing dogs you know where! or jumping up. Just call your dogs name in a firm tone or use the word ‘NO’ and reel them in on the lead. With practice they will learn.
Try and only let 10-12 feet extend as you don’t want your dog too far away from you in case they bolt! plus for safety reasons this will avoid the leash wrapping around your legs or getting your dog tangled in it.
If your dog or puppy does not respond to being called reel them in and try make a fuss of them when they do come back to you and give them a small treat. When using the long dog training lead it is not such a big deal at first when your dog does not come when summoned or when they are misbehaving with other dogs, keep pulling them back in and rewarding them , but gradually reduced the rewards and eventually they will get used to returning to you when called or by hearing your command voice shouting ‘NO’ they will react appropriately.
A great tip I have found is that if you call them and they come to you or stop what they are doing on the first call give them a big treat and a big rub if it takes two or three calls give them a small treat – they will hopefully get the message that if i come quick I get more treats!
After your dog or puppy has perfected the long lead training and they respond to your call and are obedient you can move onto using an extendible or retractable leash. See wikihow How to teach your dog to walk on a leash.
So to summarise:
- Choose the right size dog collar and small leash at the beginning
- Keep your training walks to no longer than 15-20 minutes.
- Only use the long dog training lead once you have arrived at the park or field.
- Have ample treats to reward during training
- Stop and call your dog to come continuously and reward.
- Remember YOU are in CONTROL.
- Punish sparingly
- Walk quickly
- Gradually increase the length of your walks.