What’s The Best Way To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash?

I tell my customers that the most challenging part of dog training is training a dog to walk on a leash. Why? Dogs inherently pull on a leash to follow scent, test for pack order, and for muscle stimulation. Just like humans go to the gym for a workout a dog will look at the walk as the same thing.

My methods of training a dog to walk on a leash are a leather/nylon collar (with a buckle NOT a plastic clasp), a gentle leader (head harness), or a prong collar.

Ok, I know many of you are GASPING for breath when you read prong collar. RELAX! Time and time again my customers are amazed at the results they get from a metal prong collar. See below for more dog collar info.

1. Buckle Collar. This type of collar I prefer not only for strength (it doesn’t loosen up like a plastic clasp collar) but it is the most natural feel to a dog. The goal for any dog training leash work is for the dog to learn to walk at the handlers heel or behind the tip of the handlers foot. When using a buckle collar if the dog pulls, just simply STOP. Over time, the dog will learn that pulling equals no forward motion. Avoid any firm corrections with this type of collar. It will inflict more pain and possible injury to the dog (like a choke chain) and is not a natural form of correction like a prong collar.
The dog training command you will use when you want the dogs pace to equal yours is “heel”.

2. Gentle Leader. A gentle leader is a head harness where a loop goes over the dogs snout and its neck. When the dog pulls forward, the forward momentum will then bring him back towards you from the loop over his nose. This collar works great with dogs with larger noses with minimal pulling prey drive.

3. Prong Collar. (see testimonial below!) Ok..I can hear you now….OMG!! prong collars! “Don’t I see those on pit bulls?” “Does is mean your dog is aggressive?” Simply put, a prong collar to a dog is like a BITE from an alpha dog. They have blunt, metal tips, that won’t hurt the dog. All it takes is a slight correction with the prong collar to control your dog. This collar is MOST effective with large powerful prey driven dogs with smaller handlers. A prong collar with the right dog is the most effective and natural way to train a dog to walk on a leash.

From my dog training experience, over 80% of dogs that I train with a prong collar TURN INTO A NEW DOG! The 20% may exhibit fear or a “laying down” effect If this happens, give the dog a few more days to adapt to the prong collar. If this same dog behavior continues, then revert back to the above two mentioned collars for continued training.

So, with no delay, off for a dog walk and enjoy the day!


Prong Collar Testimonial:

Hey Mark,

My wife and I are currently enrolled in Mark’s group lesson program with our Miniature Bulldog (half pug, half bulldog) Pugsley. Mark has suggested to purchase the prong collar for our puppy since he demonstrates signs of selective hearing and disregards basic commands when distractions are present. Walking him used to be quite the hassle as well due to his aggressive lunging and extreme curiosity. Once we purchased the collar, we noticed a remarkable difference. Commands were followed instantly and the lunging stopped. Pugsley listens very well on walks now, making our time spent with him significantly less stressful. I understand that one of the complaints with the prong collar is it’s inhumane image; however, once you see that it doesn’t actually inflict pain on your dog and it’s used more as a corrective solution to misbehavior, then you will most likely notice a significant difference in your dog’s attitude and with Mark’s help, you can start to establish the ‘pack leader’ persona.


Jason Konopaske