My dog doesn’t want its lead to be put on when he/she knows we are heading home…

Picture this: You are out walking with your dog, it is lovely weather and your dog is running around without his/her lead on in the park. You look at the time and think we really need to head home now to get there for dinnertime.

So you take the lead from your pocket and now your problems begin… Suddenly your dog doesn’t seem to listen to you and won’t come near enough to you for you to put the lead back on them.

You get more and more frustrated, and the more frustrated you get the less your dog seems to want to collaborate with you.

If you recognize this problem or do not want to have this issue, please read on…

So how do we avoid getting into this situation to start with?

The aim is to make the whole process of putting the lead on and going home a lot of fun for your dog!

As soon as you get your puppy (or rescue dog), get your dog used to having the lead put on. When you put the lead on give them a treat.

If you do this regularly, right from the beginning, your dog will have a positive incentive to go onto the lead and go home with you.

To do this properly, put the lead on first and directly AFTER give your dog a treat.

Result: You will get a dog that is happy to have the lead put on it.

What to do if the dog already has developed a problem with the lead and it almost is impossible to catch him/her?

Training starts at home – put the lead on, give them a treat, take the lead off, put the lead on, give a treat and so on.

When you start training your dog, try this just a few times in a row and then pause. The aim is to finish while your dog is still alert and not bored.

Then train your dog in short bursts – 3 lots of 10 times maximum and then stop.

The next step is to have two leads, one on the dog all the time during the walk (an extendable lead is best), the other one (your dogs normal lead) you keep taking on and off, exactly as above, the difference is that you are going to different places.

Work on this in different places – at the park, in the garden, at a friends house. Show the dog the lead, then put it on, treat or play a favorite game with you dog. Once again remember maximum 3 x 10 and then pause. Don’t let your dog get bored. Make sure you put the lead away in the pocket in between changing leads, exactly as you would do if you were on a walk.

You will soon start to see a difference – a positive expectation in your dog when he or she sees their lead outside on a walk.

Continue to change routine for your dog: When you get near to the end of your walk, put the lead on, reward them and let them off again and walk on a bit longer. Repeat this process.

Start extending the length of the walking lead so they have more and more room. Eventually you will find that their normal lead becomes a recall signal in itself.

Result: Your dog will be happy to be on the lead even when you are on your way home from free time in the park.

This video clip shows how my grown up boxer, Elsa, behaves when trained with this method. Notice her tail wagging and how happy she looks when I put the lead back on her.

Good luck with your training and as always, let me know if you have any questions and how your training is getting along.

Ewa xx