How To Leash Train An Adult Dog

Leash Training An Adult Dog, leash training

It doesn’t matter whether your dog is old or a puppy, big or small. Every dog needs to learn basic leash skills. This will help you take your dog for a walk in the park, or around the block, or even to a crowded veterinary clinic without getting your legs wrapped up in a leash, or a dislocated shoulder. Even a pint sized pooch can ruin the joy of walking by pulling, spinning and jerking you around. This makes leash skills important not just for the dog, but also for your own personal safety.

A lot of people tend to think training an older dog to walk on a leash is an impossible task. While it might be easier to train a puppy, it is not impossible to leash train an adult dog. All it takes is a little patience, and lots of love. Nothing comes easy, but if you’re willing to put in some time and effort, the end payoff is worth it - you’ll have a dog who is a pleasure to walk.

Getting Started

Before you get started training your adult dog to walk on a leash, it is important to check your equipment.

  • Collar - make sure your dog has a collar that fits him/her properly. It shouldn’t be too tight, or too loose. If your dog tends to pull a lot, even a normal collar can choke him/her, so it would be a good idea to use a harness instead of a collar.
  • Leash - ensure that your dog has a suitable leash. It would make sense to have a thin, delicate leash for a small dog, and a larger, thicker leash for a large dog. A shorter leash will help keep the dog at your side, and help you correct bad behavior more effectively. Walking an adult dog on a shorter leash will also help you keep the dog away from distractions.
  • Treats - make sure you reward your dog with a doggy treat for being obedient. It will give your dog an incentive to be polite and walk well for you.
  • Don’t forget to shower your dog with words of endearment and praise for being cooperative and listening to your commands.

Walking Without Pulling

Since you are trying to train an adult dog to walk on a leash, the dog probably already has the habit of pulling on his leash. Therefore, it is important to communicate two things to your dog.

  1. Pulling on the leash will not help him reach his destination faster. It will just annoy you.
  2. Walking politely will make you happy. Don’t forget to express your happiness by rewarding your dog with a treat, and words of praise.
    Thanks Happy Tails For the Photo

    Thanks Happy Tails For the Photo

When your dog starts to pull on the leash, you could try the “no forward progress” by just stopping in your tracks. Sooner or later, your dog will notice the pattern in your stopping and will just walk calmly by your side in order to get to his destination. When you feel the leash go slack (which means your dog isn’t pulling on the leash), don’t forget to reward him for that.

Training an adult dog isn’t easy. You might have to take him for several short walks through the day for several days in order for him to understand what you approve of and what you disapprove of. Dogs are smart, and they will quickly figure out that pulling actually slows down their progress rather than speeding it up.

Walking By Your Side

It is important to teach your dog to walk by your side. Traditionally, dogs are taught to walk on the left side, however you can choose whatever side you’re more comfortable with. If your dog constantly runs around in circles, or moves backwards and forwards, your walk will be far from enjoyable.

AdobeStock_129296785In order to teach your dog to walk by your side, you could make sure that the leash is short enough that he cannot move away from you very easily. If you leash isn’t short enough for that, you could just wrap a long leash around your wrist to reduce the length. Just make sure you don’t make it too short so that you’re not dragging your dog.

You could tempt your dog towards the correct side by giving him tiny treats. In time, your dog will start to understand what exactly you want and expect from him/her, and slowly you can start cutting down the number of treats you give your dog. However, continue to constantly reward your dog with praises when he/she responds to your commands appropriately.

At the end of the day dogs are smart, loving beings who will do anything to make their master happy. Therefore, it is necessary to show your dog how proud you are of him/her when he/she responds to your commands. All it takes to train your adult dog to walk on a leash is a little patience, a pinch of firmness, and tons of love.

About Author
Here at, we share our dog-loving passion with the world. We like to give our dogs the best of everything and bring helpful, interesting information to our readers. Sharing personal experiences and our love of everything dog is our goal.
Add Anna to your Google+ circles at
Or You can follow her on Twitter:



Want to learn more about "Leash Manners" Training your Dog?

Check out our class, where we show you how you can teach your dog to have impeccable leash manners, even if right now, he's out of control, always jumping on you during walks, or biting and tugging on the leash..

Click here to learn this "Leash Manners" training process





Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Don says:

    I’m fostering a 2 year old Labrador (>50 lbs) for the shelter and want to leash train her. However, I have the opposite problem to tugging. The dog sits and won’t budge. She seems fearful of being taken somewhere. How can I get her to move?


  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Don, I might be late with my advise, but anyway. First the dog should feel safe with you, should get positive reinforcement for everything she does right. She might have some bad experience in her past, so be patient. Give him some time. Have you tried to motivate him with treats?


  3. Joyce St. Pierre says:

    I have a three year old who was with the breeder and I’m trying to train her on a leash. She was doing pretty good but there are two dogs next door and when they are out, she refuses to move. When children are out, she wants to go to them and tends to jump on them. I have tried a harness but I don’t think it was the proper one for her.


    Minette Reply:

    search our free articles on jumping


  4. Rickey Partridge says:

    I had the owners of a 1 year old shepheard/husky give to me because they couldn’t care for him anymore. he is house broken and is usually a gental dog. The trouble is that he lovesto jump in your chest and pull you down the street when trying to walk him. He is a very large dog and very very strong. Almost knocking me down and dragging me. Thanks for any help.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *