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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Master Loose Leash Walking at Home

Mastering loose leash walking is an essential skill for every dog owner. It not only makes daily walks more enjoyable but also ensures the safety of both you and your furry companion. While practicing loose leash walking outside is crucial, it's equally important to start training within the comfort of your own home. In this guide, we'll show you how to teach your dog this valuable skill step by step, right in your living room, with a strong emphasis on building the necessary foundations for success.

Step 1: Teach Your Dog Foundation Behaviors:

Before diving into loose leash walking, ensure your dog has mastered essential foundation behaviors. These prerequisites include giving automatic attention, offering automatic sits, and responding to cues reliably. If your dog needs to work on these behaviors, check out our online Foundation Behaviors Course that includes everything we would cover in private lessons for just $49. This course is self paced and covers the necessary skills to prepare your dog for successful leash walking.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies Before you begin:

  • 6-foot leash)

  • Harness or Flat Collar

  • Small pea sized treats

  • A quiet, distraction-free room

Step 3: Begin Inside with Leash Introduction:

Start your training in a quiet, indoor space, such as your living room. Minimize distractions by removing toys or other pets from the area. The goal is to create a focused training environment.

Clip the leash to your dog's collar or harness, and let them drag it around the room. Allow your dog to become accustomed to the leash's presence indoors. This step helps your dog associate the leash with positive experiences and reduces initial resistance. While your dog is dragging the leash around, click and treat them anytime they walk with you or beside you, reinforcing the positive connection between the leash and rewards.

Step 4: Start Walking With the Leash:

With the leash in your hand now begin walking, clicking and treating your dog instantly for staying by your side. If your dog continues to walk nicely, reinforce this behavior with additional click and treat cycles. Initially, use frequent clicks and treats to encourage your dog, gradually reducing them as your dog becomes more proficient. Practice inside of the house until your dog is reliable.

Step 5: Dealing with Leash Pulling:

If your dog pulls on the leash during a walk, it's essential to address this behavior. The key is to stop the walk immediately when your dog starts pulling. Hold the leash firmly but gently, and wait for your dog to offer both attention (direct eye contact) and a sit. Once your dog sits and gives you attention, reward them with a click (or marker word) and a treat. Afterward, resume your walk, ensuring your dog walks beside you.

Step 5: Maintain Consistency:

Consistency is vital every day you should practice loose leash walking for 10 minutes at minimum twice a day. Continue with short indoor walks, stopping every-time your dog pulls and rewarding your dog for loose leash walking. Once your dog is reliable inside then you can move the walking party outside. This gradual approach will help make your walks more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Step 8: Transition to Outdoor Training:

Once your dog has mastered loose leash walking indoors, transition to outdoor environments with more distractions. Be patient and consistent in your training. Use the same cues and rewards as you did indoors. If your dog is not doing well chances are they are too distracted which means you should move to a less distracting environment.

Step 9: Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you ever find yourself facing challenges or need personalized guidance on your dog's leash walking journey, remember that we're here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at 301-231-1907 or drop us an email at Your dog's comfort and safety during walks are important to us, and we're committed to providing you with the support you need. Ready to embark on a leash walking adventure with your furry friend? Sign up for our training services and get started today! You can visit our sign-up page

Mastering loose leash walking is a valuable skill that enhances your dog's safety and the quality of your walks together. By starting your training at home and focusing on building a strong foundation, you create the prerequisites for successful loose leash walking. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key to teaching your dog this essential skill. Happy walking!

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