Top 5 Leash Training Techniques For Big Dogs

leash training

Having a dog is a rewarding experience, and the bond you create with your dog is unparalleled by any other relationship you have.

Keeping that in mind, taking care of a dog is still a huge responsibility that you must be ready to face. 

You need to give it proper nutrition, house-train it, and conduct obedience training so that you can take it out in public.

It’s also essential to give your dog the physical stimulation it needs. Taking your dog out for walks is a crucial part of providing physical and mental stimulation to your dog.

Walking your dog on a leash is the easiest way to do this. First, you must train your dog to wear one.

Walking a big dog could be even more challenging if you have a big dog. Therefore, you must learn about leash training a large dog to overcome this challenge. Read on to find out how you can leash-train big dogs.

Leash Training Techniques

Leash training is a time-consuming process. Each dog has its own pace of grasping the concept. Therefore, you must be patient until your dog gets used to walking on a leash.

Here’s how to introduce the collar and leash and start getting your dog used to walking on a leash.

leash training

Introduce Your Dog To The Collar And Leash

It’s important to start training by introducing the collar and leash to your dog. Your dog should get used to seeing the collar and leash and not fear these.

The best way to do this is to let your dog see the collar and leash several times daily. As the best motivator for dogs is food, you can keep these items near its meal.

That way, your dog sees it every time it goes to have its meal. This method also helps your dog associate the leash with a positive experience.

Associating the leash with a positive experience is crucial when getting a dog used to the leash. Slowly start putting the collar on your dog and give it a treat each time it does so.

Practice Walking Your Dog Indoors With A Leash

Once your dog is used to the leash, you can start walking it with the leash attached. It is not something that occurs instantaneously. It will take time, similar to every other step in getting your dog accustomed to the leash.

First, start walking your dog on a leash indoors. Repeat this for several days, and remember to reward it for doing so.

Take your dog on practice short walks in a quiet area in the house so that there aren’t many distractions. It allows leash training indoors to be successful.

Train Your Dog To Stay On One Side

Ensure you teach your dog to stay on one side of you when training indoors. It will prevent the leash from tripping you up.

The side you keep your dog on is entirely up to you. However, if you plan to complete it, you must train your dog to stay on your left. The left is the traditional side used to keep dogs in competitions.

If you’re right-handed, training your dog to stay on your right is best, as you will feel more comfortable this way. 

Ensure the leash is short so your dog can’t zigzag or circle. Reward your dog with treats when it stays on the right (correct) side.

Take Your Dog For Walks Outdoors

Once your dog is used to walking with the leash attached indoors, you can take it outdoors. However, it will take time as there are more outdoor distractions than at home.

You can start by taking your dog somewhere near your home, like your backyard. That way, you’ll be more prepared to face what lies ahead once you take it out to the park.

Limit outdoor walks to a short time and gradually increase the duration. Your dog is more likely to get distracted by other dogs, people, and sounds in public places. 

Give your dog a treat if it stays with you and doesn’t get distracted. Over time, reduce the number of treats you give so your dog gets accustomed to it.

Work Through Leash Issues

Even if your large dog gets accustomed to the leash and learns to walk with it, you will still encounter problems.

Here are some problems you could run into concerning leash-training your big dog.

Leash Pulling

Leash pulling is the most common issue many owners face with their dogs concerning leash training. 

If your dog pulls on its leash, stay still and wait until your dog comes back to you. Avoid yanking on the leash, as it could potentially harm your dog.

Reward your dog once it comes back to you so that it knows that it should stay with you and not pull on the leash.

If your dog continues to pull on its leash, you should get a different collar to address this issue. Check out this buyer’s guide to help you find the best collar to stop your dog from pulling on the leash.


Lunging is common among herding breeds and dogs with high prey drives. It can also be an issue with dogs that tend to get excited. 

If your dog is used to lunging at passers-by and things, you must pay attention to it. Distract it with a treat when you see a possible target coming.


Dogs bark excessively, primarily due to boredom. If your dog barks a lot when going out, try giving it more exercise or mental stimulation.

You can distract your dog by giving it a treat before it gets a chance to bark, similar to how you did it for lunging. 

Leash Training A Large Dog

leash training

There are several things you must do to prepare for leash training. These include things like choosing a collar and choosing a leash.

Here is some information on how you can do it.

How To Choose A Collar?

The essential thing to consider is that the collar fits your dog. It shouldn’t be too loose that it slides off, nor too tight that it suffocates your dog.

Slide your fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck to see if it fits correctly. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.

You can also do the same by measuring your dog’s neck. Shops typically recommend collars for specific breeds, but it’s better to measure your dog’s neck and buy accordingly.

How To Choose A Leash?

Leashes come in many types, lengths, and materials. A standard leash is 4 to 6 feet long and ⅜ to 1 inch wide.

The most common type of material used in a leash is Nylon because it is easy to clean and affordable. However, it’s not the ideal leash if your dog enjoys chewing.

Leather or rope is ideal for dogs that chew because the material is sturdier. However, these leashes are difficult to clean.

For dogs with sensitive skin, hemp is the best option as it does not irritate them.

Apart from standard leashes, there are some particular leash types available.

Retractable Leash

A retractable leash is the best choice if your dog likes to wander. However, it’s not suitable for dogs with high prey drives. When these dogs run at full speed after other animals or objects, the retractable leash can cause harm to your dog’s neck.

Adjustable Leash

An adjustable leash has clasps at both ends. It is ideal for tying your dog to a post or walking multiple dogs simultaneously.

You can loop this leash around your waist, so you don’t have to hold onto the handle. However, using this type of leash is not recommended if you plan to take your dog for a run or hike.

Umbilical Cord Leash

An umbilical cord leash is an excellent hands-free choice for an energetic puppy. You can tie this leash around your waist and still control your dog because of its two built-in handles.

The leash also has a bungee cord injury when you take your dog for a walk and suddenly start or stop.

At What Age Should You Leash Train A Dog?

Leash training can start when your puppy is 7 to 8 weeks old. Waiting until they are older could make you miss the chance to set expectations for your dog’s behavior.

However, it is never too late to train your large dog. With patience and consistent training, you can successfully leash-train your dog.


These leash training techniques will help you start walking your big dog on a leash quickly. Remember to be very patient and start things slow.

Gradually increase the time you keep your dog on the leash and take it outside as the final step in training.

Keep your dog distracted using treats at the initial stages. As you go along, you can reduce the number of treats you give and get your dog accustomed to walking on a leash outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Age Is Best For Leash Training?

The best age for leash training is when your puppy is 7 to 8 weeks old. The earlier you start, the more effective your training will be.

How Do You Teach A Large Dog To Stop Pulling?

Use treats to distract your dog as you see the target approaching. Your dog will focus on the treat and miss the target, stopping it from pulling on the leash.


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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