Day 6 of 7

Walking On-Leash

Let's learn loose-leash walking, a skill that makes walks enjoyable and stress-free. It’s a step towards ensuring that both you and your dog look forward to your outdoor adventures.

Objective #6

You can take your dogs on stress-free walks

  Tasks to Complete  

[ ] Introduce your dog to leash & collar/harness 
[ ] Practice leash walking indoors with few distractions
[ ] Begin leash walking outdoors
[ ] Introduce basics of loose leash walking (and address pulling)
[ ] Maintain positivity and patience

  Step 1: Socialization  

Before we jump into leash training, it's important to understand what socialization and why it is important...

  • As we step into the outdoor world with our dogs, it's crucial to understand the importance of a social environment for them. Socialization is a cornerstone of a dog's mental and emotional well-being.
  • Socialization helps dogs learn how to interact appropriately with other animals and humans. It reduces anxiety, fear, and aggressive behaviors, ensuring your furry friend is well-adjusted and comfortable in different situations.

Healthy Socialization

  • Positive interactions with various people, dogs, and other animals.
  • Exposure to different environments, sounds, and experiences in a controlled, calm manner.
  • Training sessions that teach your dog how to behave in various situations.

Unhealthy Socialization

  • Forced interactions or over-exposure which can lead to fear or aggression.
  • Negative experiences with other animals or humans.
  • Lack of control during social situations leading to bad behaviors.

How frequently should a dog socialize?

  • It's beneficial to have regular socialization sessions for your dog. However, the frequency can vary based on your dog's age, temperament, and experiences. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can provide personalized guidance.

  Step 2: Getting Acquainted Indoors  

Inch by inch we walk a mile!

  • 1. Collar/Harness Introduction: Start by introducing your dog to a collar or harness and leash. Let them wear these for short periods indoors while playing and treating, turning the experience into a positive one​.
  • 2. Introduce a cue: Signal that fun times are about to start by using a sound cue that indicates “food is coming.” It could be a click, a word like “yes,” or a tongue cluck.
  • 3. Encourage coming to you: As your dog starts associating the cue with treats, back up a few paces, encouraging them to come to you. Reward them once they reach you.
  • 4. Indoor Practice: Practice walking a few steps indoors in a room with minimal distractions. Reward your pup with treats and praise as they get used to walking on a leash beside you​.

  Step 3: Outdoors and Loose-Leash  

Time to move outdoors...

  • Now that indoor walking is a breeze, it's time to venture outside, where distractions are plentiful, and to work on loose-leash walking. Keep the initial outdoor walks short, rewarding your dog for keeping focus on you amid the fascinating new sights and sounds​.
  • 1. Start Simple: Begin in a quiet area, holding the leash in the hand opposite to the side your dog is on, letting it hang loosely in a “J” shape​​.
  • 2. The Stop-and-Go Technique: When your dog pulls, stop walking. Once the leash slackens, resume walking. Reward your dog when they walk beside you without pulling​​.
  • 3. The Red Light Technique: When the leash gets tight, stop walking as if you had come to a red light. Wait patiently until your dog gets bored and turns to you, loosening the leash before resuming the walk​​.
  • 5. Reward Consistently: Carry treats to reward your dog for maintaining a loose leash, gradually reducing the frequency of treats as they improve.

  Recap & What's Next 


  • Despite the best training, some dogs might face challenges. If your dog pulls or turns into a “tree” (plants themself and stops) – stand still until they come back to you. For lunging or barking issues, redirect their attention with treats before they react, creating distance between them and the trigger​.

Equipment Considerations

  • Ensure you have a suitable collar or harness and a non-retractable leash, preferably 4-6 feet in length. Some trainers recommend front-clip harnesses to minimize pulling. Always have a pocket full of treats for positive reinforcement during training sessions​.
  • The 'Stay' and 'Come' commands you practiced yesterday will come in handy during your leash walking training today. As you proceed with today’s challenge, remember, patience and consistency are your best allies. With time, you and your furry friend will find a harmonious rhythm in your walks, transforming each outing into a delightful dance of partnership.

Want More Training Resources?

Check out the Kibbies Learning Center for Tools, Articles, and FAQs related to creating a healthy dog and owner relationship!



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