In this article, we will be taking a look at how to train your golden retriever to walk on a leash. Although it is a relatively easy process, retrievers by nature want to run off and retrieve things for their masters.
This can result in a large amount of pulling on the leash or harness during initial training. Thankfully, these tips and tricks can be used by anyone to train their golden retriever to walk on a leash without issue.
How To Train Your Golden Retriever To Walk On A Leash
Although we have published a non-breed specific article on how to get your dog walking on a leash in the past, we also published a non-breed specific article on the best dog collars for dogs that pull. We thought we would publish this one specifically about golden retrievers due to their common pulling issues during leash training.
Take Advantage Of A Collar Designed To Stop Pulling
Not all collars are created equally, in our opinion, using a canny collar from the start of the training process will make the whole process easier. Canny collars have been specifically designed to help train breeds who want to run off and explore to walk on a leash without pulling.
They have an excellent success rate and have an established fan base throughout the dog owning community. You can click here to read independent third party reviews from dog owners who currently use the canny collar on with their dogs.
It works by adding an additional hoop to the traditional collar system that you attach to your dog’s snout. You can set the collar up in around 10 seconds and then you are off on your walk. If your dog decides to pull on the leash and go in its own direction then the secondary hoop on its snout will apply pressure and painlessly pull its snout down. This quickly discourages your retriever to pull when on the leash and it learns to walk by your side at your pace.
Start When Your Golden Retriever Is Young
Although many people know the saying, you cant teach an old dog new tricks, it has been proven wrong time and time again. That said, starting as young as possible has its advantages, especially if your retriever is still a puppy.
This is due to a puppy getting easily excited by new things and being more inclined try anything it hasn’t done before. Additionally, puppies are usually easier to bribe with a treat as they have tried fewer food types and still think that they are getting a good deal for doing as you want in return for a treat.
Try To Keep Your Golden Retrievers Attention On You
As we mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers were bred as gun dogs to run off and fetch the game their master had downed. Due to this, their natural instincts that have been bred into them over hundreds of years is to run off and look for “treasure” to bring back to their masters. This will usually lead to a large amount of pulling on the leash at the start of training if you let your dog’s attention wander.
In addition to using the canny collar, we mentioned above we advice that you take out a high-quality dog treat with you on your walks. This can serve as a reward if your dog does let its attention wander.
Some people choose a cue word along the lines of “focus” to work towards getting their dog’s attention on command. If you don’t have the time to train this into your dog then simply allowing the canny collar to do its work and correct your dog’s pace can help. Once your dog has matched your pace for a while after trying to pull away, offer it a treat and plenty of verbal and physical praise.
Take Advantage Of Treats
Although their packaging may not look like much (pictured left), make no mistake, the Stewart Freeze Dried Dog Treats are the best on the market. They have an excellent reputation amongst dog owners and have established themselves as a market leader. You can click here to read reviews from dog owners currently using these as a treat for their dogs.
These are perfect for treating your dog during leash training. They are also easy to break up into smaller treats so that you can treat your dog multiple times with the same treat without them gaining any additional weight.
They are 100% real meat with absolutely nothing else added to them making them perfect for your dog. If you are unable to find these, rather than using a grain-based dog treat, try using chopped up hot dogs, we’re sure your Golden Retriever will love them.
Prevent Your Dog Getting To Its Target If Possible
One of the main reasons for a golden retriever pulling on a leash is it wanting to go off and explore a target it has set its sights on. If your retriever starts pulling on its leash and you let it reach its target your dog may start associating pulling on its leash with getting to go and investigate whatever it has initially started pulling towards.
This is obviously negative behavior that you want to do your best to stop as soon as it happens. This is one of the main golden retriever walking problems we encounter as the dog is usually left to get to its target and then it develops a negative habit that can spiral out of control.
As we have mentioned, the canny collar should stop this kind of behavior dead in its tracks. If it doesn’t and you have trained a focus cue into your dog as explained earlier, this can help. If the cue fails then try to pull your dog back to walking at your pace. Once it has matched your pace for a while offering it a treat to reinforce it walking at your pace.
Golden Retriever Harness Or Collar
If your dog is well behaved it doesn’t matter if you use a high-quality dog harness or a -high-quality dog collar. They both perform fine and will help you keep your dog safe while out walking by offering you a way to control where your dog is walking to help it avoid traffic and other dangers.