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8 Tips for Leash Training an Older Dog

Shaggy older dog walking on leash on dirt path through tall grass

Many dogs tend to pull when they are on a leash. They start pulling you in public and it seems like your dog has taken you out for a walk. This frustrating habit can be quite embarrassing and frustrating. The process of leash training becomes much more difficult when you have an older dog.

However, certain things can help you teach your senior dog some leash manners. Keep reading to get some valuable tips about leash training an older dog.

Choose the Right Leash

Although it depends on your dog’s behavior, using a training lead is a better alternative in most cases. You can also use a simple leash and collar but only if your pup is obeying your commands. Otherwise, it’s highly recommended to take help from a training lead.

It is a short leash that keeps your dog at your side and helps in redirecting him/her from distractions. Therefore, it is much more efficient than a regular leash to change the behavior of your canine.

Make Your Dog Comfortable

Woman with glasses outdoors hugging a shaggy dog

According to Dog’s Best Life, how your dog responds to a leash is very important. Some dogs become too excited while others may become frustrated. Therefore, your first responsibility is to make your pooch comfortable by eliminating the anxiety.

You can do that in several different ways, like putting on the leash during mealtime. This will create a good impression in the dog’s mind as he/she will associate the leash with food. Likewise, change the assumption (of your dog) that wearing a leash always means that we are going out. Put the leash on for a few minutes (at different times) while staying at home to teach this to your dog.

Avoid the Temptation to Pull Back on the Leash

Dog walking on brick sidewalk, pulling on the leash

Dog pulls the leash because they get excited about the idea of going outside. Likewise, they pull the leash (out of excitement) when they have a lot of distractions in their surroundings. Irrespective of their reason, you should NEVER pull back on the leash because it can lead to serious injuries. Also, it creates a competing impression in your pup’s mind and he/she will keep repeating this behavior. The following are some better solutions for tackling and leash training an older dog.

  • Provide rigorous exercise to tire out your pup before going for the leash training session.
  • Dogs pull the leash to move faster when they found something interesting within their sights. Simply, change your direction of movement to give a clear message that pulling will end the fun.
  • Alternatively, stop moving when your dog starts pulling and stand still until he/she is calm again. You will need to exhibit a lot of patience for the proper training of your pup. You may feel frustrated when you have to stop again and again, but you must control your emotions.

Reward Positive Behavior

Person holding dogs head to give them a kiss on the nose

Positive reinforcement of good behavior is essential to get the desired results. Canines will start adopting the habit if they are being treated for doing something. Therefore, you should always reward your pup when he/she is doing well.

Also, encourage your dog with nicknames and calm and lovely sounds, such as “good doggy”. These sounds eliminate the anxiety and your dog can learn in a peaceful environment.

Never Use Punishment-based Training Techniques

Person fussing at pug sitting in dog bed

The primary purpose of leash training an older dog is to counter his/her bad habits. For this purpose, you need to remain calm and show a lot of patience with your pup.

Some owners tend to use punishment-based trainings to get the desired results. It’s a very bad idea because it destroys your relationship with your pooch. All these things, like prone collars, shock collars, and chock chains, will cause more harm than good.

Dogs associate pain and physical harm with pulling. Punishments cause fear in dogs and they can’t focus on adopting good habits. Hence, you should always treat your dog with love and affection to encourage positive behavior.

Ensure that the Dog is Healthy

lose up of golden retriever outdoors, smiling.

We never go for a walk or to the gym when we are feeling sick or in pain. This is because training can worsen the injury and we don’t want that to happen. The same is true for dogs. If your canine companion is not feeling well, you should simply postpone the training session and let him/her recover.

Training with an injury can worsen the pain and push your dog (and yourself) into trouble. Therefore, wait until your dog is fully fit and you should take help from a vet, if needed.

Use ID Tags

Closeup of dog ID tags and collar on a dog

How will you find your dog if he/she is lost in a busy market without his/her ID tags? This is an extremely stressful experience for any dog owner, but it can be avoided.

You must use ID tags when going outside with your pup because dogs can go off-leash at any time. Make sure that the information on these tags is updated and it does have some photos of your dog. This will allow you to find your dog quickly and without spending too much money.

Be Patient

Woman in dress holding dog leash of golden retriever standing in a field of dead wheat

Patience is extremely important for training a canine companion of any age. However, leash training an older dog can be extremely difficult and is considered a patience test, even for professional trainers. Changing the bad habits of an older dog is not easy and you need to stay calm and positive.

There is no way to train a dog overnight and you should be patient about the result. You will need to follow a proper training routine and ensure consistency to get the desired results. Generally, it takes a month for the dog to show positive behavior and could require months of effort in total.

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