Teaching your dog how to walk on a leash is one of those crucial skills that forms part of obedience training.
While your Golden Retriever pup may have learned certain commands such as ‘stay,’ ‘sit,’ and ‘lie down,’ soon it will be time to take them outside.
Considering the sheer variety and number of distractions, it can prove challenging for you and your Golden Retriever.
Thankfully, this particular dog breed is known for its vigilance, so should grasp walking on a leash quicker than others.
I trained Bella to walk on a leash as soon as she had all of her shots and was able to go outside – and now she walks like a perfect little lady.
Below, I’ve included some top tips to help you leash-train your own pooch.
Start Leash Training When Still A Puppy
Golden Retrievers can soon grow into strong and large dogs who can prove difficult to train. Start their training early, as it will become harder and increasingly dangerous the older they are.
While training a puppy to walk on a leash can prove difficult, it is far easier than being pulled around by a full-grown 60-pound version.
Be persistent, be patient, and start when your puppy is around a couple of weeks old.
If you’ve bred your Golden and have a litter of pups, you can get ahead of the game and start training the little ones when they are around a month old, although, at this point, the training will need to begin in the home with a very gentle leash.
If you’ve just picked up a Golden pup from a breeder – first of all, congratulations – and next, let the training fun begin.
Again, until your pup has had all of their shots, the leash training will need to begin in the home, but this can be helpful for getting your pup used to a leash.
When your vet has given your pup all of the shots they need, you can start to take your leash training outside.
By starting training early, you can mold your dog into learning those good behaviors rather than hoping that you can fix them later.
Leash Training: Tips And Tricks
Get The Right Equipment
Starting a training regime early enough is important, and so is getting the right equipment. These should be tailored for the Golden Retriever’s size and age, as anything too loose or tight is going to prove problematic.
Measure your dog to ensure you buy the right-sized leash, collar, and harness.
To make the training easier, bring along some treats and toys. Once your Golden Retriever demonstrates the correct behaviors, reward them with plenty of praise and by playing with them and giving them a snack.
When you’ve got the leash training basics under wraps, you might want to invest in an extendable leash to use; this will allow you to give them some leeway or reel them in easily enough.
Before that stage, though, your Golden Retriever may struggle to learn their own boundaries, and a fixed-length leash is best.
If you’re having issues with your Golden tugging on the leash, you may want to consider a front-lead harness, which can redirect their pulling force – more on this below!
Soon enough, your Golden Retriever will realize that pulling does not succeed in taking them where they want.
Use A Harness
When it is time to head out for a walk, get them used to wearing a harness, as this makes controlling your pooch much more manageable.
Make it fun by putting the harness on while it is playtime, and they can easily associate the harness with games rather than freaking them out by putting it on for the first time before heading out for a walk.
Gradually, bring in a clicking sound so your Golden Retriever knows when you want their attention, especially while outside.
This can be a great distraction tactic on a walk – if your Golden is pulling or trying to get at something, a simple click can redirect their attention.
When they respond properly, reward them with a snack.
Preventing Your Golden Retriever From Pulling At The Leash
Due to the friendliness and eagerness of Golden Retrievers, it can feel like they are walking you rather than the other way around.
Your dog may be keen to investigate anything and everything while greeting other people and their dogs. Inevitably, they will pull at the leash, and you can try to train that particular trait out of them.
Harnesses can help with this, as can clicker training.
Getting your Golden Retriever to understand and learn self-control is a crucial factor in their training. That starts with those early, simple commands and extends to keeping your dog composed while walking.
Refrain From Tugging
During the training phase, it may feel difficult to allow your Golden Retriever a bit of leeway. They have to learn yet that does not mean playing a game of tug with your leash.
I’ve seen so many owners tug on the leash to pull their dogs back to heal, but, in my experience, it’s best to avoid this.
Resist the temptation to pull back on the leash, as that will make it worse.
Instead, stop in your tracks, allow the dog to return to your side, call them back, or use your clicker.
Make sure that the leash remains slack so your Golden Retriever returns at their own accord. And, when they do, make a fuss of them and give them a tasty treat.
Reward Good Behavior
Like any dog training, you should be keen to reward good behavior.
As your Golden Retriever learns to walk on a loose leash, encourage them with some positive words.
Once you get to an open space, reward them further with a game or give them a few treats.
Gradually, your Golden Retriever will learn that good behavior comes with rewards.
Retrievers love to please and respond so well to positive training.
The Final Woof
Golden Retrievers grow to be strong dogs who can have a lot of pull power on the leash, so early training is essential.
You can start leash training with your golden retriever indoors, and when they’ve had their shots, you can continue the training outside.
Incorporate additional items into your training routine, such as a harness and a clicker, and don’t forget to go armed with a pocket full of treats.
The good news is that Goldens aim to please – and they’re food-orientated pooches – so leash training them is usually a pretty easy feat.
Here’s wishing you many peaceful walks ahead.