Trying to leash train a dog that refuses to walk is not too dissimilar from training a dog that pulls. Leash etiquette is essential for both the dog and the owner, as it means both can walk comfortably alongside each other with minimal risk from outside factors.
It means you can control the stride of the walk, but a dog that refuses to walk on a leash can be challenging to work worth. Here are some tips when it comes to how to leash train a dog that won’t walk.
Introducing Your Pup To Walking Manners
One of the reasons your dog refuses to walk or cooperate is because they don’t like the feeling of the leash on them. It might be as simple as the leash around them feeling foreign, or it could be because the leash isn’t the right fit. Check to see if it isn’t too tight or pinching them, as this will make them come to resent using a leash even more.
Once you’re sure of the possibility that they can be comfortable with a leash, you can move onto actually introducing them to it. While this may seem silly, seeing as how you’ve probably already tried to walk with the leash before, the idea is to introduce the leash in a positive light. There are a few ways to do this.
You could condition them to associate the leash with rewards and approval. Have the leash on hand and shower them with affection, showing them that it isn’t something to be afraid of. Talk to them and stroke them soothingly as you fit the collar onto them, so that they remain calm when you do so.
This is only half the battle, though. Once you’ve convinced your dog to wear the collar and leash, you’ll need to teach them to get used to walking and moving around with it on.
Teaching Them To Walk With A Leash
To begin with, you might not even want to have the leash on hand. A trick that many dog owners have used is the “sound and treat” method. What this entails is that whenever you give your pet a treat, make a specific sound. This can be you clucking your tongue, kissing the air or clicking your fingers; the sound itself is not essential. What is important is you make this sound when you feed them so that they develop a Pavlovian Response.
Using this to your advantage, when you train them, move a distance away and make that noise. This should get their attention, and if you bring out a treat, they should come after it. After a while, they should instinctively start walking towards you once they hear the noise, regardless of the leash.
This is another way of positive conditioning and should prove useful in getting your dog used to move with the collar on. It also lets them know that if they go on walks with you at the leash, there’s always the possibility of treats.
Check For Problems
If none of the training has helped thus far, perhaps something is affecting your pup physically. Watch them when they walk around the house and see if they have a slight limp. Also, be sure to check out their bodies every so often to look for bumps, scrapes, or other sensitive bits.
The paws, tail, and head are common points to focus on. Check for any infections or injuries. Any injury, even a slight one, can take the life out of a dog and make them want to sit around and not be active.
If you can’t find anything yourself, but still aren’t entirely confident that nothing is wrong, perhaps it’s time to talk to a vet. They know exactly what to look for and have the equipment and knowledge to do a full checkup, and they’ll be the ones to tell you if anything ails your little buddy. They can also make good information sources to help with leash training, too, so be sure to ask for advice while you’re there.
If you do find something that’s irritating your dog and preventing them from walking, give them time to heal and get better. You shouldn’t try to train a dog that is unfit to be trained. Help them heal as best you can, and use the opportunity to build bonds so that they trust you more, which will make any training go smoother.
To train your dog to walk with a leash, you need to condition them to see it positively. This could mean showing a ton of affection, giving them treats when they do something right, or practicing putting the collar on for them so that they get used to the feeling.
It can also bring to light some issues that may be affecting them or injuries they may have sustained when you weren’t looking. Be sure to make a leash look friendly to them and make sure they are in good condition before training them and taking them out to the field or on the road.