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How to Teach Your Dog to Get the Leash

Learn how to teach your dog to get the leash with this Howcast dog training video featuring professional dog trainer Andrea Arden.


Hi. Today, we're going to work on the trick of having a dog get their leash. Betty here already knows how to get her leash, but I want to show you how to get your dog interested in something and targeting something that they had no prior interaction with. She's never really worked with a Frisbee before, so hopefully, you can see the beginning stages of this.

I'm going to try putting this on the ground and letting her investigate it. When she touches her nose to it, I'm going to click this clicker and then give her a treat. As she comes over to it, I click and give her a treat. She might have even just looked at it or wandered over, placed her paw on it. Anything like that in the beginning of teaching a behavior like this is fine, and you should click and reward them. She knows the game of targeting something. Some dogs who have never done this before might take a while to become interested and understand the game. Now she's clearly interested.

The next thing I would look for is for her to put it in her mouth. That can take a little time, but in general, dogs are all about the mouth and they'll start exploring, and eventually, put their mouth on it. You want to be down really low, especially with small dogs, so you can see when they open their mouth and put their teeth on it. As soon as that happens, I would click and give them a treat. When they're getting good at that, you can take the object you're working with, and when they pick up, you click and treat. As they get better at it, you might want to start waiting until they bring it over a little bit. You can encourage them to bring it over or just wait and see if it happens naturally, that they walks towards you with it in their mouth.

This is one of the things you'll fight; she thinks its super-fun to swing this around. To avoid that, you can try tying the leash up, you can try doing a shorter leash. Her cue for getting this is just the world 'leash'. Keep your cues really short. Instead of 'get the leash', I prefer just 'leash'; it's much easier for a dog to understand. As she gets better and better, hopefully she'll bring it all the way to me, drop it, and place it in my hand, eventually.

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