Won't walk on leash

Posted by Leigh-P
May 5, 2008
I have a 5 month old lab who will not walk on a leash. He will sit down, lay down, or always want to walk the opposite way that I want him to. No amount of tugging will help (this just makes it worse). I have tried treats, but now he will only walk if a treat is offered and then stop again once he gets it. Any suggestions?
Posted by Todd
May 15, 2008
Hi there Leigh and thanks for the question.

I think we need to take a step back and try get him used to the the leash.

For a start i would encourage you to leave the lead around in areas where he will get used to it. Leave it around his food bowl, his bed and his toys. The more he gets used to the leash in a non-threatening way.

Now when you put the lead on him it is a lot like putting a saddle on a horse. You need to do it slowly so he can get used to it and never force it on him.

Sit down in a room with the lead in your hand. Call your boy to you, if he comes praise him with attention and petting. If he doesn't then turn away and completely ignore him. Wait a minute and ask again. Any interest he shows in you or comes towards you praise him.

If he comes and sits next to you place the lead over his neck, don't clip it on. If he sits quietly and relaxes again praise him with attention. if he freaks out take it off him and again ignore him.

Take things very slowly, as he becomes more and more relaxed advance. If he gets agitated stop, and keep sessions short eg 10 minutes. When you first put the lead on him be cautious. Again good behaviour is praised. If he over reacts completely ignore him and take the lead away.

Don't be tempted to yank on i or tell him of as this will only makes things worse. Take things very slow.
As he gets more and more used to the lead give him less and less lead. Start with heaps so he doesn't feel trapped and slowly shorten it.

DAP may be a product that may help. Spray it on the lead which will help stop your dog from getting scared by it. Ask your vet about it.

Once he is well behaved in the house move to the backyard and follow the same ignore and praise steps.

The food rewards are a good idea but you need to slowly use them less and less frequently to retrain him off them. At a start give him a treat every time he does well until the seventh time you give a command. Then slowly work downwards until you are at the point where you give him a reward every second time he does it.

Good luck and please let me know how things go and if i can help anymore.