Taking my dog Patchy (age 6 years), for walks had become an embarrassing situation, as he would bark constantly and pull me around the sidewalk. I got rude stares from people passing by and screams from little girls walking towards school. Finally, I decided enough is enough and took matters in my own hand. I made up my mind to teach Patchy that I was the 'alpha', the pack leader. He was supposed to follow my lead and not push me around. This is where dog obedience training came into picture, and within a few weeks of patience and perseverance, I was successful in leash training Patchy.
Training an Older Dog to Walk with Leash
When leash training a dog, keep in mind that it may take longer to train a dog that has a habit of pulling. You may take about 6 weeks to ween him off his bad habit. Many times, after 4 to 5 weeks of smooth and consistent training, you dog may suddenly forget what you taught him. Do not get frustrated and continue with the training. Soon you will be able to train an older dog to walk with leash. Let us go through some simple steps that will help you in leash training an older dog.
The first thing to do is get your dog used to the dog collar and leash. You should make him wear the collar and leash while he is eating. This will help him associate the collar and leash with something good, that is, food! Also, he will get used to having a collar around his neck.
You should start walking your dog around the house holding the leash in hand after he finishes his food. You should begin this exercise after about 2 to 3 days of beginning with step 1. You should just walk around with him from room to room for about 5 to 10 minutes. Continue increasing the time period, till the dog get used to walking with a leash and being led around by you.
When you are confident enough after leash training within the house, you may take your dog outdoors. You need to allow you dog to drag the leash around. You should occasionally pick up the leash and follow him. Make sure you offer him a dog treat while walking with the leash in your hand.
Now, comes the important part of leash training an older dog. This is where you teach him you are the master and he has to follow you. You need to hold the leash in your right hand and then coax the dog to walk on your left side. This can be done by holding the leash in your right hand and a treat in your left hand. Continue to walk and say, 'Let's go' or 'Come on' to make him understand that it is time to walk. When he follows your orders correctly, praise him a lot.
You may find your little friend is naughty and has a mind of his own. He may start tugging forward or pulling you around. The minute he does this, take a counter-wise turn and walk in the opposite direction. This will cause the dog to turn his head and he will have no choice, but to follow you. Or when the dog tries to pull, you need to stop walking immediately. Hold on the leash firmly, but do not pull the dog towards you. This will make him stop and look at you this is when you affectionately say, 'Good dog'. Then you should move forward and continue the walk. You should do this every time the dog tries to pull. Make sure you give him a treat after sometime when he begins to follow you without trouble. This method is called yielding to the leash.
You need to remember, whenever your dog on leash tries to get out of hand or pulls you in some direction, immediately switch to the opposite direction. This will cause the leash to tighten and he will have no choice to follow you. You may find yourself moving in circles, like I did while training Patchy. But, believe me, it does help you in the long run. This makes the dog know that you are in charge and he is supposed to follow you around.
Older dogs tend to get tired soon and will not put up much resistance. Slowly, but surely, your dog will become calmer and learn to walk on leash. The key for leash training an older dog is consistence and patience. Do not get frustrated if the dog does not follow you. Give him time and with a little bit of dog care and affection, you will be successful with your dog training attempt. Leash training is supposed to be a pleasurable experience for the animal as well as the owner. Do not lose your temper and punish your dog. This will only make him associate negative feelings with the whole process and in turn make it difficult for you. I hope this article has helped you in learning some tricks to control your canine companion on leash.