By Deborah Taylor-French Mutt Monday: Best DIY Dog Training Video for Barking
Do you have any tips on how to encourage a dog to walk on a harness + lead? We have adopted two strays . . . they are never on leads, but for the long-term they need to learn this skill. One of them, when I put a harness and lead on him, he just sits down and will not move. He is very small.
Any suggestions – I have tried treats, cuddling, praise etc., but he just sits there.
Many thanks for your help.
Reply from Deborah
Oh, I had a dog like that. She would do everything I ask, except walk on a leash.
The instant I snapped on a leash, she sat down!
First Be Certain Your Dog is Healthy
- Rule out inherited knee or hip problems
- Rule out heat sensitivity or hot sidewalks
- Rule out illness, a sick dog does not want to walk
Dog Leader Tip
I suggest you try clicker training.
Be sure he loves those treats and then cut them or break them into bean-sized pieces.
Watch this Kikopup Youtube video on how to load a clicker.
- Once you have your dog going ape to please you, try simple commands and behaviors he already knows like sit, down, stay.
- Then leave his harness on the floor in another room.
- Start a short clicker training session and have your dog walk with you into the room and around the leash.
- Keep repeating short sessions, ignoring the harness but getting closer.
- Gradually, add clicks and treats while he sniffs or touches the harness, then do the same with the leash.
- Play short games, such as harness and leash dragging.
- Only after he loves all this attention, hold the leash and let him lead you around the house, the yard, then out and down the street. If he does not want to walk anywhere, toss a treat and follow holding the lead.
- Only when your dog has mastered all these steps, pat your knee and have your dog take a few steps with you on the lead. Do this inside, in a hallway or some quiet, non distracting place.
Please write again when he loves his walking gear.
Thanks for asking a GREAT question.
PS. For a good explanation on how to get a puppy or dog comfortable with a leash watch this video.
Be patient, consistent and persistent.
I suggest reading Training Answers: Why does my puppy lay down on walks. Click on the link below.