The goal of this exercise is to teach a dog to sit patiently while you attach a leash. This is for dogs that like to have the leash attached, but are so excited that it’s difficult to snap on a leash. If your dog is shy or afraid of the leash, visit this page.
Most dogs become very excited at the sight of a leash. Dogs bark, jump and wiggle which makes it very difficult for us to attach our leashes. Some young dogs bite and mouth while we try and attach the leash. With theses guys, I usually place a chew toy in their mouth before I attach the leash.
There are several different approaches we can use to solve this problem. Here’s one that’s easy to follow and effective!
It helps to understand why your dog gets excited. The reason dogs become excited when they see the leash is because the leash predicts an outing. Therefore, if the leash does not predict an outing, the dogs will not become excited at the sight of the leash.
Get your leash. Do not speak to your dog. Hold the leash land walk around the house for a few minutes. Put the leash away. Repeat this sequence several times within a few hours. Repeat (several days if necessary) until your dog is not excited by the sight of you carrying the leash and then perform S tep 2.
Get your leash. Do not speak to your dog. Hold the leash for a few minutes. Tell your dog “leash time” and then attach it to your dog’s collar. Hand you dog a food treat. Drop the leash and let your dog drag it around the house.
After several minutes, tell your dog “leash time” and remove the leash. Hand your dog a food treat. Repeat many times within a few hours.
If your dog fails to sit during this step, just walk away with the leash in hand and try again later. If your dog fails again, go back to Step 1 and start over.
Get your leash. Tell your dog “leash time” and then immediately tell your dog “sit”. Praise your dog for the sit; attach the leash, and then give your dog a food treat. Let your dog drag the leash around the house for several minutes.
Tell your dog “leash time”; “sit”. Praise your dog for the sit and remove the leash. Give your dog a food treat. Repeat many times within a few hours.
After several of these sequences, your dog will know exactly what to do when you say “leash time, sit”! You can discontinue the food treat once your dog is reliable. Of course, if you have a treat handy, why not reward your dog for sitting politely?
When you are going to take your dog on an outing, tell him or her before you get the leash. Say something like “Let’s go out” and then say “leash time, sit”.
Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions for Aggressive, Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN