Merritt Milam | May 2, 2021

Whether you’re a new puppy parent or have a more mature dog, it’s never too late to train them to walk on a leash. This month we look at the many reasons your dog should be trained to leash walk and how we can help.

One of the first decisions a pet owner will make is leash or no leash while walking my pet? Training your dog to be off-leash is not for the typical pet parent. It requires a lot of training, patience, and comes with risk. Pets love to run, play, and explore. There is no guarantee of your pet’s safety if they are walking off-leash.

For the majority of dog parents, leash walking is preferred and highly recommended. We offer the following information for pet parents as you make a training plan and schedule.


Safety First

Training your dog to leash walk is also a big step towards keeping them safe from outside distractions. Pets are naturally curious, making distractions an opportunity to chase or run away if they are not on a leash. This can be dangerous for your pet and others. Dogs that learn proper leash walking skills will be safer from accidents caused by their unique curiosity when confronted with a variety of distractions.


Consistency and Bonding

Leash walking is a basic skill every dog should learn. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a trip to doggie day care – an on-leash pet is more secure, safe, and obedient. A dog that can learn to walk on a loose leash help build a strong bond and positive relationship with their parent. Leash training your pet also helps them learn to respond to your commands with confidence. A well-trained, obedient dog wants to please. Leash training will help encourage this desire.



Dogs that know how to properly walk on a leash learn important cooperation and discipline lessons. These skills will help them improve their socialization and progress to more advanced skills like “Leave it” and “Heal”. Also, keep in mind, some people and pets are afraid of dogs. A trained on-leash dog will help reduce the chance of an unpleasant or dangerous encounter; it shows your pet and others you care about their safety, too.


Stress-Free Time

An on-leash pet makes walking and interaction with people a more stress free activity. Not having to worry about your dog running away as the result of distractions from other pets, animals, or strangers is invaluable.


Local Leash Laws

Aside from the behavior and safety benefits of on-leash training, local laws may require your pet to be on a leash when they are in public. In Jefferson County, “…all dogs must be on a leash or confined on the owner’s premises at all times.” –

Check your local municipal code for the latest requirements.


Training to Walk On-Leash

The best method to get your dog to walk on-leash is through a structured obedience class at Wags ‘N Whiskers. We use positive reinforcement and feedback to help pets and parents learn valuable life skills that promote safety and bonding. Check out our training web page for all of the latest obedience and advanced classes.


In the meantime, here are a few tips from the American Kennel Club to get you started on a safer, happy experience with on-leash walking for you and your dog.

  • Introduce your pet to a collar or harness
  • Let them wear it around the house for short periods of time
  • Encourage them with play and treats so they associate the collar with fun and food
  • Add the leash and let them walk around without assistance indoors
  • Practice walking them on the leash indoors before venturing outside
  • Continue to use treats to reward positive behavior
  • Start outside walks in short sessions, using cue words and treats to reinforce training


For more details and help visit the AKC website page for on-leash training.


Last Thoughts

Training your dog to walk on a leash is a rewarding, positive skill that will provide your pet confidence, safety, and discipline. Leash training will also offer you peace of mind and develop a special bonding experience that will last a lifetime.


To reserve your pet in one of our professionally trained classes, call 205-902-WAGS (9247).