Supplies for Training to Walk Like a Champ3 minute read
With few exceptions, most of the supplies you need for training how to loose-leash walk like a champ are things you already have on hand. Even those few exceptions are things you could make due without, so there's no reason you can't charge ahead and start playing games.
In the interest of "always be prepared," here are the supplies we use and reference when training loose-leash walking.
What You Need To Train Loose-Leash Walking
A 6-foot leash
This is a typical length for an everyday leash and the leash you'll use most often. To that end, we'd call this a "need to have." We like a 6-foot leash over a 4-foot leash because we find the extra length to give just enough freedom.
We do not like retractable leashes because of the dangers they pose, and we especially discourage using a retractable leash during the training stages.
A long leash (20–50 feet)
A long leash is great if you don't have a backyard or a fully enclosed safe space to let your dog off leash, but even in that case this is a "nice to have."
A 50-foot leash especially gives your pup the feeling of being free to make his own decisions while giving you the comfort of knowing you can keep him from running off into the street. It's hard for a pup to understand the limits of a long leash, so be careful not to let him start running at full speed and then get yanked back at the last second. Doing so could cause real injury to your pup.
A collar, head halter, or harness
You need some way to attach your leash to your dog and there are lots of options to choose from. See the article "Collars vs Head Halters vs Harnesses" for more information on which option is best for you.
It's good to figure out now what treats might be really high-value for your dog. Think of the strongest distraction you might encounter and ask yourself if you could still get your dog's attention with this treat. If so, it's a high-value treat.
Some common high-value treats are pieces of cheese, cut up hot dog, pieces of cooked meat like chicken or steak, and peanut butter. Whatever you choose, make sure it's small and quick to eat. Also, remember that, usually, soft treats are quicker for them to eat than hard treats.
Similarly, it's a good idea to figure out what you're going to use as low-value treats. These are the treats you'll use most often, so make sure they're small and don't fill your dog up too quickly. You also want them to be quick to eat so the eating of the treat doesn't interrupt your training.
A good low-value treat might be your dog's food or it might be a less interesting store bought treat. There are lots of options so you can experiment and choose what works best for you.
A treat pouch
In some of the videos you'll see the person doing the training wearing a pouch that almost looks like a fanny pack around his waist. That's a treat pouch, and it's a good solution for carrying treats on your walk if you don't like having dog treat crumbs in your pants pockets or jacket pockets.
There are lots of options for a treat pouch and as far as we can tell none of them look terribly cool. Find one that works for you and if you do find a cool one, let us know.