Training your dog to walk next to you, without a leash can be valuable. If your leash ever breaks, which can happen with strong dogs, then you can have the security to know that your pet won’t make a mad dash away from you. People are also very impressed when they see how well your dog behaves without his leash on. Here are some tips to train your dog to walk without a leash.
Teach Your Dog How to Walk Without a Leash: Train the Basics
Every dog should learn his basic command, such as: sit, stay, lay down, heel, and come. Learning these basic skills will make training your dog to do anything else much easier. You should try to train these skills as early as possible.
The skill that gives people the most difficulty is often getting the dog to come when called. If you want your dog to be able to walk without a leash, you should feel confident that your dog will come to you when called if he strays too far away. To train a dog on how to come, you will need a long leash (about 15 feet in length minimum, and not retractable), and “high value treats”, which are often people food.
Use a long drag leash the next time you and your dog are out in the yard. Let your dog do its thing for a while, then tell the dog to come. If he doesn’t come, step on the leash and tug on it until the dog comes to you. Reward him with a “high value” treat (small pieces of people food). Repeat this for a few weeks until the dog comes every time he is called. Then start phasing out the leash by lightening the lead. Eventually the dog will come every time you call, no matter what he is sniffing.
Teach Your Dog How to Walk Without a Leash: Train with a Leash First
First you need to get them to walk perfectly with a leash on. The dog should never tug while he is on a leash!
To teach this, you need to hold the dog’s leash loosely in your hand. As soon as you feel tension on the leash, give the dog a correction and say something like “heel”. A correction consists of a quick tug on the leash. Tug to the side when you do this, not up on the neck. The correction should be firm, never enough to actually hurt the dog, but enough to startle him and refocus his attention on you. Repeat every time you feel tension on the leash. Eventually, you will be able to walk your dog with just holding on to the leash with two fingers.
Teach Your Dog How to Walk Without a Leash: Lighten the Lead
After your dog can walk on a leash without tugging, you should try walking your dog on a lighter leash. Dogs can feel the weight of their leash on their collar, so they know when it is off. Often times, dogs will not walk as well if they think the leash is off. They think they are free when the leash is off, so they might try bolting away, or tugging, or simply stop paying attention to you. Just repeat the process above, but with a lighter lead. Using lighter and lighter leashes will make him think that his leash is off. If he acts out, it is okay you have the security of having something to correct him with if he tries to get out of hand. Eventually, by lightening the lead, you will just fade out the leash.
I hope these tips helped you to train your dog. Getting a dog to walk without a leash is an amazing trick, that can come in handy. Just remember to keep practicing with your pet. Training takes a while, but it is worth it.