Many people adopt rescue dogs unaware that the dog may not know how to walk on a leash. Dogs need to learn how to walk on leash to ensure your safety and that of your pet. Guiding an unruly dog on a leash can be tiring and challenging. To make the process easy and enjoyable, here is how to train a rescue dog to walk on a leash.

1. Introduce Your Dog To The Leash

It is important to get your rescue dog used to a leash before trying to walk him on it. Begin by showing him the leash and introducing it as an item you use to distract. Put the leash on the floor and allow the dog to explore it. Talking to him in a soothing and cheerful tone, so he associates the leash with something positive.

2. Teach Your Dog The Basic Commands

It is important to teach your rescue dog the basic commands of Sit, Stay and Come before introducing him to the leash. Once he obeys these commands, reward him with treats for a positive reinforcement. This way, when you put him on a leash, he’ll follows your commands quickly.

3. Have Your Dog Sit Before Putting On The Leash

Before putting a leash on your dog, have him sit in front of you. Talk to him in positive tones and attach the leash to his collar. If he starts to move, guide him back to the starting position and reward him with a treat.

4. Go For Short, Consistent Walks

Make sure that your rescue dog is comfortable with the leash before you venture outside. For daily walks, try to stick to the same route and routine so he can become familiar with it. The important part here is to keep the walks short and consistent.

5. Correct Bad Behavior Promptly

Dogs instinctually want to pull and wander away and attacking this issue suddenly will be counterproductive. When your rescue dog begins to wander or pull, use the Sit or Stay commands as a reminder. Reward him with a treat or affection if he follows the provided commands.

6. Stay Positive And Have Fun

Treks and outings with your rescue dog can be a healthy and enjoyable experience. As you teach him how to walk on leash, make sure to praise him and keep him motivated. Having a positive attitude ensures that your furry friend will learn the necessary commands quicker.

How young should a rescue dog be before training on a leash can begin?

Each rescue dog is different and the appropriate age to begin leash training varies significantly. In general, it is usually recommended to wait until a rescue dog is at least 4-6 months old to begin leash training. Teaching basic commands and establishing young dogs’ trust in humans is often recommended before diving into leash training.

What should the trainer be aware of when introducing a leash to a rescue dog?

The trainer should be aware of the dog’s history and potential trauma associated with leash introduction. The trainer should use a positive reinforcement approach with lots of treats and rewards during the training process. The trainer should ensure the leash is the appropriate size for the dog’s breed and weight. The trainer should start slow and allow the dog to get comfortable with the leash at their own pace. The trainer should also be aware of the dog’s body language throughout the process and stop if the dog seems distressed or overwhelmed.

What types of treats are most effective when training a rescue dog on a leash?

Treats that are particularly effective for leash training a rescue dog are small, high-value treats such as small pieces of cheese, chicken, hot dogs, or liver. These treats should be given intermittently and rapidly when the desired behavior is exhibited. It is important to remember that dogs are motivated by both food and affection, so it is just as important to praise your dog and make them feel secure and loved as it is to give them treats.

How can an owner encourage good leash-walking behavior from a rescue dog?

The best way to encourage good leash-walking behaviour from a rescue dog is to reward the desired behaviour whenever it occurs. Positive reinforcement is key when dealing with a rescue dog. Try providing treats or toys when the dog remains focused during a leash walk. When the dog pulls, stop and turn around. When the dog returns to your side, clear your throat, and then resume walking when the dog has heeled. Avoid using aversives like jerks on the leash, yelling or threats, as this can damage the bond between the dog and the owner. Instead, use treats as a reward when the dog demonstrates appropriate leash walking behaviour.

What tips can be used to decrease fear and anxiety in a rescue dog while on a leash?

1. Start with low-distraction areas. Walks in areas with minimal distractions, such as residential areas or parks, can help build a dog’s confidence before venturing into more challenging environments.

2. Spend time engaging in activities and playing games to bond with the dog. Establishing trust and familiarity with the environment can help build a dog’s confidence and lessen fear and anxiety.

3. Move at the dog’s pace. Allow the dog to determine the speed of the walk, and offer treats along the way so the dog can learn to associate the leash with positive experiences.

4. Use distractions. Bring treats and toys along to redirect the dog’s attention and focus away from potential triggers that might cause fear and anxiety.

5. Be patient. Take your time with building the dog’s confidence and patience and understanding will get rewarding results.

Rescue dogs are special animals that come with unique dynamics and behaviors. They often need special evaluations and specialized training plans in order to become fully trusting and comfortable with their new owners. One of the most important parts of training a rescue dog is teaching it to walk on a leash. By following these simple steps, you can help your rescue dog learn to stay on a leash without becoming scared or overwhelmed.

The first step is to build trust with your rescue dog. Spend ample time getting to know them. Let them sniff and explore the environment to build confidence and encourage positive associations. Make sure to offer plenty of rewards for their good behavior, such as treats or extra attention. This will help your rescue dog learn that following commands is a positive experience.

Once your rescue dog is comfortable and trusting, it is time to introduce the leash. Start by having your rescue dog wear the leash indoors. Let them get used to the sensation of something being around their neck before progressing to walking on the leash. Make sure the leash is comfortable and not too tight.

Once your rescue dog is accustomed to wearing a leash, it is time to start walking. Start off slow and don’t expect perfection right away. If your rescue dog gets spooked or scared, take a break, stay calm, and offer rewards for behaving calmly. It is important to stay patient and consistent when teaching your rescue dog to walk on a leash.

When walking your rescue dog, it is important to remain calm and reassuring. Give them lots of verbal guidance and positive reinforcement when they do something right. Remind them that the leash is a reward and not a punishment. If your rescue dog refuses to move forward, make sure to stop and give them a moment to relax before continuing.

With patience and consistency, your rescue dog will soon learn how to walk on a leash without fear or discomfort. As they gain confidence and trust, you will be able to progress to longer walks and more challenging environments, such as crowded streets or parks. Following these simple steps will ensure that your rescue dog learns to walk on a leash in a safe and effective manner.


Rescue dogs can be difficult to train due to their uncertain past. However, it is not impossible to teach them to walk comfortably on a leash. Guiding them with love and patience is the best way to do so. Follow the steps provided in this article for a fun and enjoyable walk on leash with your four-legged companion.

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