Imagine going to buy leather dog leads online only to suddenly discover that your gorgeous new puppy or adopted dog simply hates being on the lead. It’s actually very normal for puppies to go through this resistive stage, and even older dogs who have been let loose for years can also baulk at the idea of being put on a lead. Regardless of the situation, you have to change this.

But it seems impossible! How can you get an apparently so stubborn animal to start liking something they clearly hate? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Strengthen the Bond Between You and Your Dog

At the foundation of getting your dog happily onto its lead is a solid and trusting relationship between you and your pet. By spending time with your pet indoors, making eye contact, dropping in treats here and there, will all help to intensify the feelings of closeness and belonging that the dog has with you.

This feeling matters because it’s the main hurdle to overcome that starts the dog thinking that if you want to put the lead on him/her, then they should go along with it because they are trusting you. If they are confident that nothing you do for the dog ever feels bad or is something to be scared of, they’ll start to apply it to the lead.

2. Use the Lead Around the House at Other Times

Your indoor space is a safe and controlled environment, and therefore a good place to start putting a lead on your dog, especially a younger dog still in training. Start by putting the lead on during times when the dog is going to do something fun. For instance, if you’re going to leave the dog with its chew toys, then pop the lead on and leave it there. It starts to create more positive associations.

This is all part of that same process of building trust and helping the dog to start to see the lead as a good thing. After a short time, you should be able to put the lead on when walking from one room to another. A good way to do this is to promise treats, which the dog loves, attach the lead, and then take them to those treats.

3. Start with Short Outdoor Walks

When moving outdoors, it might take some time for the dog to be comfortable walking naturally, and even walking very far, on their lead. Be very patient and keep the first few walks short, allowing the dog to sniff around and slowly explore the outdoor environment. Sometimes you just have to let the joys of the outdoors speak for themselves and start to make the naturally curious puppy excited.

4. Keep the Lead Loose and Gentle Early On

Don’t keep a tight hold on the lead when you’re doing these early walks. Keep things loose, and give your doggo some space to wander and look around. It’s very overwhelming for them at first, but over time they will come to love the experience of being outside, and they’ll get used to the lead, and start to associate it with walkies time!

5. Praise Outdoor Movement on the Lead

Keep a cool demeanour when you’re with the dog outside and try not to apply too much pressure of any kind as the dog is sniffing around, exploring and taking their slow steps. When the dog has stopped for a long time, try just applying gentle pressure on the lead, and then offer praise when they move in response. Keeping a few treats on your won’t go amiss here. The dog will start to realise that walking more brings all kinds of good things!