How do you train a fearful puppy on a leash? What to Know

Avoid forcing the leash onto your dog

It might feel impossible to avoid putting a leash on your dog while you’re working on leash training. But there is almost always a way to work around it. For example:

  • Let your dog out into a fenced yard to eliminate, or;
  • Set up inindoor “potty area”;
  • Forgo walks and providealternative exercise and enrichment;
  • If you have to get a leash on for a very short distance like getting to the car, you could try something that doesn’t need to be clipped on, like a slip lead or a martingale collar with a leash already attached.
  • Pancake, who stars in this week’s video again, used potty pads (like those used for puppies) until he was brave enough to go outdoors.

    Train your dog to come toward you, without the leash

    To train your dog to come toward you when the leash tightens, you need a way to call your dog to you. Some options for this include:

  • A “hand touch” cue;
  • A recall (“come”) cue;
  • Prompting your dog to come toward you with silly noises, by crouching down, and/or by holding out a treat.
  • Your Dog is Anxious on Walks: Triggers Vary by Dog

    If you’ve ever experienced strong anxiety, you know it can be irrational and overwhelming. You can empathize with what your dog is feeling. Ignoring it doesn’t work. Some trainers advise physically forcing an anxious dog to walk. We don’t agree with trying to force a dog to do what they fear. We believe in helping dogs overcome their fears with positive means.

    One question to ask–can you tell what triggers your dog’s fear? Is your dog anxious around other dogs? Is your dog afraid to walk on a leash? Are they frightened of people or loud noises? Maybe your dog is scared to go outside at all. Understanding what triggers your dog’s fear can help you in overcoming their anxiety.

    Learn how to help your fearful dog with my 5 keys to fixing fear