Fear is a character or trait that can be caused by several reasons in your dog. And as a dog owner, it is your duty, to understand and know what causes fear or anxiety to your dog. Dogs as man’s best friends are supposed to be brave and not fearful; it is a big problem when you have a nervous dog that cannot even lift his/her head to look you in the eye. This article tells you all you need to know on training a fearful dog to walk on a leash.
Fear or phobia in dogs can be caused by lack of early socialization, fear of thunderstorms, busy environment, riding in car, negative experiences when growing and most especially the subject matter, which is walking your dog on a leash.
Having a fearful dog is not an easy thing for the dog and the dog owner, majorly because owning a fearful dog is a load of work and can be very tiring at times.
As an owner of a fearful dog, it is essential that you give proper training to your dog so that he/she will be able to go on a walk with you, without the fear of the leash.
The leash is a piece of necessary control equipment that gives you total control of your dog when out on a walk. Hence, your timid or fearful dog must get used to walking on a leash without any anxiety or fear.
This article has been writing to give you step by step guide, on how to effectively train your timid or fearful dog to walk on a leash.
Also read: Best Dog Harness for Stopping Pulling
Why dogs fear to walk on a leash
Dogs naturally love to be free and explore the environment around them, and this one of the reasons why most dogs are always excited when they are on a walk with their owner. They even go as far as pulling the leash out of their excitement.
Walking on a leash is not a natural thing for dogs and for this reason some or most dogs fear walking on a leash for so many reasons such as Negative Experience when him/her walks on a leash, he/she has not been trained to walk on a leash, he/she has been beaten or maltreated with the leash, he/ she has never walked with a leash, or maybe the leash causes Pain, etc.
As a dog owner, you have to effectively recognize the reason why your dog fears to walk on a leash and ensure you take corrective measures, to ensure that your dog finds it comfortable to walk on a leash without fear or anxiety.
How to train a fearful dog to walk on a leash: Step by Step
In training your dog irrespective of the breed, certain conditions have to be obeyed, such as establishing a great level of trust between you and your dog. Training a fearful dog is encompassed with so much stress and challenges. To overcome this, you have to build trust with your dog.
To effectively train your fearful dog to walk on a leash, you have to take into consideration certain rules. The rules are many, but the selected few that will be helpful that has made our list include:
- Build trust: This is the first step to take in training your fearful dog to walk on the leash. This is important because the instant you are able to build a great deal of trust with your dog, he or she will obey your every instruction and believe that the process is in no way harmful to him/her.
To build a great deal of trust with your dog ensure that you show your dog great affection, give him/her their own space, protect your dog at all cost and most especially comforting him/her when afraid. In no time, he/she will start bonding with you and develop a great level of trust.
- Reward your dog with treats: This is a continuation of the dog to owner trust process, during this phase of the training, ensure that you give him/her few treats when he/she comes near you. In doing this, it will teach him/her to understand that you don’t want to hurt him/her.
When giving these treats to your dog, ensure that are healthy, nutritious, and are not made of preservatives or any ingredient that can cause your dog any issue.
- Introduce your dog to a fun-filled experience: If you have effectively gone through the first two processes, by now your dog should have built little self-confidence, and one thing that is expedient in this situation is that they don’t get bored.
As your dog gradually begins to have its confidence, having fun-filled experiences ranging from swimming, taking a walk, go hiking, etc. will help in building his/her social life and in no time the fear is gone.
- Introduce the Leash: By now, as you have followed all the above steps carefully introducing the leash will not be a problem as your dog would have developed a great deal of trust with you.
After introducing the leash, it is very important that your dog gets used to the leash. Attach the leash and allow your dog to move about in free space, as this will encourage him/her to get used to the leash. The free space should be free of objects that can entangle the leash and cause him/her injuries.
When your dog is used to having the leash around, then you can pick up the leash, run around and play with him/her. Make sure you enjoy your time together as much as possible and then you can progress with taking him/her on a walk.
Fearful dog rehabilitation: one of the ways to train a skittish dog
Rehabilitation is a way of restoring your dog’s lost confidence. The dog rehabilitation process is a process of ensuring that your fearful dog overcomes fear, and several things are put into consideration to assist with the rehabilitation process.
The rehabilitation process is also a means of helping your dog eradicate bad behaviors that arise from being fearful. Several situations and circumstances cause a dog to be fearful, and because of this, the first thing that your dog trainer will do in this circumstance is to identify the cause.
If the root of fear in a dog is due to lack of socialization, the dog is effectively taught and trained on how to be a social dog that tolerates people and other dogs, and also be able to adapt and react in a way behaved manner when in contact with the trigger.
All in all, the rehabilitation process helps identify the root of the fear in your dog, and the proper training is given by the dog trainer to eradicate it.
Final word on training a fearful fearful dog to walk on a leash
Walking a fearful dog to walk on a leash is tasking and might be full of difficulties, it is expedient as a dog owner that you discover the source of your dog’s fear or anxiousness as this will make this issue a step easier.
Discovering the source of your dog’s fear is important so that you will be able to know how to help him/her overcome the fear and become confident. You will also need to be patient when introducing these training methods.
Read Also: Best Leads to Stop Dogs Pulling