If you want your dog to walk nicely right next to you without pulling, then you need to teach him how to walk properly. Dogs aren’t born knowing they shouldn’t pull ahead or lag behind their owner when walking on a leash. Most dogs often run around as fast they can, while others stop, sniff and urinate on everything through their way while they explore the world, these are common and natural behaviors for any dog.
What you need to start
To golden retriever leash training you will need a lightweight 6 foot leash, a collar and some tasty treats your dog doesn’t eat often but loves them nonetheless.
If your golden has an habit of pulling, he might be able to slip out of normal collar, in this case you can buy a limited slip collar or martingale collars as they are mostly known. This kind of collars are used to prevent dogs from slipping out when walking on a leash, these collars will tighten as the dog pulls, however once adjusted they will always prevent complete obstruction of the neck therefore preventing your dog from choking by excessively pulling the leash.
Younger is easier
Golden retriever leash training is easier when started young, 4 to 6 weeks of age is a good time to start leash training your golden retriever. Since you’re dealing with an puppy, you should be mindful that both the leash and collar aren’t going to harm your puppy, buy an light and comfortable leash and collar.
Although it is easier to train puppies, there is no limit to what age a dog can be trained to walk on a leash, only differences on how easier it is to train them.
How to start golden retriever leash training
Your dog should be accustomed to wear his collar, however if he isn’t, you should give him a day or two to get used to the idea of wearing it.
Afterwards, it is time to introduce the leash, simply attach it and allow him to roam free as he used to. Most owners don’t encounter problems with this introduction and the dog will drag the leash around and will barely notice it. However, some won’t like it that much and will stop moving around as they used to. In this case there isn’t much you can do, you will have to ignore your dog completely until he acts as he used to. Try to divert his attention from chewing the leash when needed, other than that, pay no attention to him.
When your dog played and moved around for a while, pick up the end of the leash and walk with your dog. Go with him and see what he does, but don’t do much to change his direction or intent.
Dealing with leash rejection and bickering
Once you do as noted before, you will be confronted with one of two cases, your dog will either ignore or pay little attention to the fact of you holding his leash and following him, or instead he might sit down and refuse to move. If the latter is your case, keep holding the leash and call your dog, lower your hand and keep it a few inches in front of him, keep calling him and wait for him to come to you to be petted, it would also be a good idea to give him a small treat to reward him.
In every golden retriever leash training session, if your dog reacts this way, you should repeat this process and after a few times he will get used to whole idea and act normally. Remember to keep holding the leash at all times during this process, dropping it will likely lead your dog to believe he should keep doing this in the following training sessions until you drop the leash so he can obtain what he wants. This is a game of patience, you need to wait him out and do not flinch, if you do, all your efforts so far will have been a waste of time.
If your golden doesn’t accept the leash well enough in the first day, keep it out of sight until the next training session. Doing this will avoid a common running around trying to find where your golden is hidden, because of him fearing the next training session. What you should do before starting a new session is, call him and after you petted him for a bit quickly attach the leash before he understands what’s about to happen.
Puppies usually will quickly become accustomed to their leash and will look forward to it, grown dogs on the other hand take a longer time to get used to idea.
Once your dog becomes used to his leash and no longer acts up or tries to hide from you in fear of the next leash training session, it is time to walk her to a new place. Somewhere nice where your golden retriever would surely like to go to, most places outside your house and yard that he hasn’t investigated or been to will surely be enticing enough to make him look forward for the next session.
By taking your dog to new places he will quickly love and understand how good it is to be on a leash, soon he will associate the leash with fun and amusement.
Walking by your side
The objective of all golden retriever leash training efforts is your dog walking by your side without pulling you. Well, as your dog becomes more and more used to his leash, he will surely try to pull you along. You cannot allow this of course, when he tries to pull you, simply remain still, allow full reach of the leash, let him cool down and relax, only once he’s calm and stopped pulling for a while you should resume your walk. Do not praise or give him treats as he might think you liked his attempt to pull you, the simple fact of you allowing him to walk again after settling down is the best reinforcement in this situation, allow him to explore the location or item he wanted in the first place should prove a good positive reinforcement for him to behave next time.
In the following time your come across a situation like the one before and fortunately your dog didn’t tried to pull you along, then you should praise and give him a treat to reinforce this positive behavior.
Many dogs are very persistent and might forcibly attempt to pull you along when they find something interesting enough, a simple “No” and a tug on the lead backwards, should be sufficient when dealing with puppies.
When you experience problems in trying to keep your golden walking beside you, you should consider shortening the length of your leash, you can keep shortening his leash until he has little choice but walking right beside you, afterwards you can slowly increase the length of leash again as he becomes more and more used to the idea of walking right next to you.