All dogs should be taught basic leash skills. You should be able to take your dog for a walk around the block or into a crowded vet office without having your legs wrapped up. Good leash skills are also important for safety, both your dog’s and your own.
Before You Start
#1: Your dog needs an appropriate collar that fits him properly, as well as a suitable leash. #2: In the beginning you should have treats or some other reward for your dog.
#1: Keep Sessions Short
If you have a puppy or an adult who has never been leash trained, begin with short and frequent sessions. Repetition is everything. If you are able to do this multiple times per day, your dog will learn extremely quick! especially if there is treats involved.
#2: Prevent Pulling/tugging
Begin by capturing your dog’s correct behavior on leash. Even if he’s running around crazy and possibly freaking out if its his first time. Eventually he will settle down and look at you.
The instant the leash gets some slack, mark and reward.
If your dog walks well without pulling, mark and reward him every so often to give him a “reference point.” If he understands that you like him to walk calmly without pulling, and he gets excited and forgets his manners somewhere down the road, be sure to mark and reward him when he resumes polite walking.
Teach your dog that if he tries to pull you toward something, you will stop in your tracks. If your dog is determined to get where he wants to go, he may not notice right away that you are playing statue, but sooner or later he will either stop pulling or turn and look at you. The instant the leash goes slack, mark and reward, and then resume walking. If your dog pulls again, stop again. You may have to spend a few days going for short, slow walks, but many dogs figure out very quickly that pulling slows progress rather than speeds it up.
#3: Teach Him to Walk by Your Side
Keep your dog’s leash short enough that he cannot easily leave your side. You want to train your dog to walk on the same side every time. If you constantly switch sides, your dog will eventually have the leash wrapped around your legs. Thats a sure way to be extremely embarrassed while running down your neighborhood.