How to Choose Equipment and Start Leash Training
When choosing what walking tools and supplies to get for your dog, the variety of options can seem endless! Leashes are important training tools, and something that requires smart decision-making. It’s important for you to find the equipment that matches you and your dog’s needs and preferences. So how do you choose the right equipment and start leash training?
Different activities are easier with different types of leashes. You might find that having multiple leashes is best, depending on what you plan on using them for with your dog.
Standard Leash– the most common type of leash used for everyday walking and basic training. These leashes are made out of Nylon or leather and typically measure between 4 and 8 feet long. These leashes allow for plenty of room for freedom for your dog, but also being short enough to give the handler control. These are best for short walks or quick trips to the vet, store, or doggy daycare.
Retractable Leash– these leashes allow you to vary the length of the leash. They are made with a nylon cord and plastic handle that extends anywhere from 4 to 30 feet. Be cautious with this type of leash, as it can actually train your dog to pull on the leash, since when walking away, the dog gets rewarded with a longer leash. Retractable leashes should only be used if your dog is well-trained to not pull on leash and if you are in the appropriate environment, such as the beach or a large open field where the cord can’t be caught on anything.
Chain Leash– this type of leash is a replacement for the standard leash, and very useful for dogs that chew or destroy their leashes. They come in various weights and thickness in order to be suitable for dogs of all sizes.
Adjustable Leash– these leashes are a great option when you need to shorten the leash temporarily. Based on where you attach one clasp determines the size of the handle and length of the leash, but they are usually between 3 and 6 feet long. Adjustable leashes are best used for training and teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash or heal work when you want your dog very close.
Now that you have the appropriate leash picked out, it’s time to start leash training your dog. There a few easy steps to help you get started.
- Introduce the leash– before hooking your dog’s leash to their collar or harness for the first time, let them sniff it and explore it. The leash should always be associated with positivity.
- Walk with the leash inside first– to eliminate all the distractions of outside, try walking your dog on their leash from one room of your house to another. Work on having your dog start in the heel position and walk step-by-step while rewarding your dog.
- Now on to outside– the first walk on a leash outside may be challenging. Your dog may want to pull, not continuously walk, etc. Stop walking, remain quiet and let your dog keep pulling until they settle down. Give your dog praise and a treat as soon as they settle down and refocus.
- Practice, practice, practice– It may take some time for your dog to perfect walking on a leash. Give lots of praise and treats, and be patient! There will be times when your dog pulls you in all sorts of directions, catches a sniff of something and won’t budge. Just stay calm and patient and practice the right ways to walk on a leash. Your dog wants to make you happy, so teaching them how to do so will help make your dog your new walking buddy.
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