How to Leash Train a Dog to Walk Politely

How to leash train a dog: Train your dog to walk on a loose leash

Are you tired of being pulled down the street by your excited dog? Does your dog turn walks into a chaotic game of tug-of-war with their leash? You're not alone.  Many dogs struggle with leash manners, but the good news is, that with proper leash training, most dogs can learn to walk politely by your side.

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What actually is Leash Training?

Leash training means teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash and avoid your dog from pulling the leash, sudden lunges on a walk or chasing after distractions. It involves introducing the dog to wearing a collar or harness and a leash, and then training them to walk with a loose leash, responding to the gentle pressure and cues rather than pulling the leash.

Low Energy Dogs that are Easier to Leash Train

Low-energy dogs are easier to leash train because they tend to be calmer and less likely to pull or get overly excited during walks. Their relaxed nature makes it simpler to keep their attention during training, and they're often less distracted, leading to quicker progress. Following are some of low energy dogs that are easy to leash train.

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Pomeranian
  3. Maltese
  4. Chinese Crested
  5. Brussel Griffon
  6. Pekingese
  7. Havanese
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Greyhound
  10. Mastiff

High Energy Dogs that are Harder to Leash Train

Leash training can be more challenging for dogs with high energy levels because they tend to have a strong desire to explore and engage in activities that may lead to pulling on the leash. Their hyper nature makes it harder to get their attention during training and are often distracted.Following are some of high energy dogs that are hard to leash train.

  1. Australian Shepherd
  2. Belgian Malinois
  3. Borzoi
  4. Border Collie
  5. Boxer
  6. Dalmatian
  7. Irish Setter
  8. Jack Russell Terrier
  9. Siberian Husky
  10. Labrador Retriever

However, with consistent training and appropriate techniques, even high-energy dogs can learn to walk politely on a leash.

The Benefits of Leash Training a Dog


When your dog walks calmly on a loose leash, it reduces the risk of sudden dashes into traffic or chasing after distractions. This means safer outings for both you and your pet.


Leash training sessions become valuable bonding experiences for you and your dog. Bonding happens when your dog looks to you for guidance, follows your commands eagerly, and seeks comfort from you in new situations.


Regular exercise is essential for maintaining your dog's physical health and mental stimulation. By teaching them to walk on a loose leash, you and your dog get more safe outdoor time.


Leash training a dog allows your dog to interact with other dogs and people in a controlled manner. With proper leash training, your dog learns appropriate behavior and becomes more confident and well-adjusted when encountering new situations or individuals.

How to Leash Train a Dog: Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Start Indoors with Treats:

Begin leash training in a quiet, familiar environment like your living room. Introduce your dog to a collar or leash at first. Let your dog wear it for short durations and provide them a treat for doing so. Keep doing so until your dog gets used to wearing a leash without any problem.

2. Introduce Commands:

Teach your dog simple commands like "heel" or "let's go" to indicate it's time to walk beside you. Use a healthy training treat to reward them for following these commands.

3. Practice Walking:

Start walking with your dog indoors, using treats to encourage them to stay by your side. Keep the leash loose and maintain a steady pace.

4. Gradually Increase Distractions:

As your dog gets more comfortable walking on a loose leash indoors, gradually introduce distractions like toys or other pets. Practice walking in different rooms of the house to keep things interesting.

5. Make your dog walk towards you:

Use commands like ‘come’ to cue your dog to walk towards you while wearing a leash. Treat your dog to treats upon completion. This creates a safe environment for your dog to move to outdoors for leash training.

6. Move to Outdoor Settings:

Once your dog is comfortable walking on a loose leash indoors, it's time to take your training outside. Start in a quiet area with few distractions and gradually work your way up to busier environments.

7. Be Patient and Consistent:

Leash training takes time and patience, so don't get discouraged if progress is slow. Stay consistent with your training routine and always use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.

Learn how to train your dog with our complete guide on how to effectively train your dog.

Importance of Positive Reinforcement in Leash Training

Positive reinforcement is crucial in leash training because it rewards your dog for good behavior and encourages them to repeat it. Whenever your dog walks calmly beside you on a loose leash, praise them and offer tasty treats or toys as a reward. Avoid using punishment or harsh corrections, as these can damage your relationship with your dog and make leash training more difficult.

Advanced Leash Training Techniques

Once your dog has mastered the basics of leash training, you can start including more advanced techniques to improve their skills further. Some advanced techniques include:

Changing Directions:

Practice changing directions frequently during walks to keep your dog focused on you. Start by walking in one direction, then suddenly change to another direction-left, right, or even a complete U-turn. You can use verbal cues like "this way" or "let's go" to signal the change. Remember to reward your dog with praise or treats when they respond correctly.

Adding Distance:

Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog during walks to encourage them to stay close. Start with short distances and gradually extend them as your dog becomes more comfortable and responsive. You can use a long leash or a retractable leash to give your dog more freedom while still maintaining control. As your dog learns to stay close to you even at a distance, be sure to reward them generously with treats and praise.

Off-Leash Training:

Off-leash training should only be attempted once your dog has mastered basic obedience commands on a leash and has developed a strong recall. Choose a safe, enclosed area such as a fenced yard or a designated off-leash park to begin training off-leash. Start off-leash training by practicing in an area with minimal distractions, gradually increasing the level of difficulty as your dog progresses.

Always keep a close eye on your dog and be prepared to intervene if necessary. Remember, safety should always be your top priority, so never let your dog off-leash in an unsecured area where they could run into danger.

Leash-Training Troubleshooting

Even with the best intentions, leash training doesn't always go smoothly. Here are some common issues you might encounter and how to address them:

Pulling on the leash:

If your dog starts pulling on the leash, stop walking and wait for them to calm down before continuing. If the pulling continues, apply gentle pressure on the leash until the dog stops pulling.

Distracted Behavior:

If your dog becomes distracted during walks or tries to chase something, stop walking and call your dog’s name, or use verbal cues to regain their focus. Once your dog is focused, provide them treats to appreciate their behavior.

Fear or Anxiety:

If your dog shows signs of fear or anxiety when on a leash, help your dog by gradually exposing them to the triggers in a controlled and positive manner. Use treats, toys, or praise to create positive associations.

Leash Training FAQs

At what age should I start leash training my dog?

You can start leash training as early as eight weeks old, but keep sessions short and positive to make the training effective.

How long does it take to leash train a dog?

Leash training timelines vary depending on the dog's age, breed, and previous experiences. Some dogs may learn quickly, while others may take weeks or even months to master leash walking.

What if my dog refuses to walk on a loose leash?

Stay patient and consistent, gradually increasing difficulty and using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behavior.


Leash training your dog is a rewarding process that requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By following these steps and using proper rewards for completing the steps, you can enjoy pleasant walks with your dog without worrying about the risks of sudden jumps and lunging.

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