Training

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How to Train Your Dog to Pick up His Leash

Training

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2 min read

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How to Train Your Dog to Pick up His Leash
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
Chores training category iconChores

Introduction

Training your dog to pick up his own leash makes your life all the more simple but also gives your dog a fun trick to do. You can teach your dog to pick up his leash and bring it to you before walks or you can teach your dog to pick up his leash while you are walking him so he feels quite proud and accomplished taking himself for a walk. Teaching your dog to pick up a leash also helps dog owners who may have trouble picking something up from the ground when it falls. Your dog can hand his leash to you and tell you he's ready to go for a walk. This may keep your dog from barking and telling you he's ready to go when he has control over how he communicates his needs for walking.

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Defining Tasks

Picking up his leash is a command your dog can learn quite easily with time and dedication. Much like teaching your dog how to fetch, picking up a leash will require repetition and work with the leash at hand. You can work on picking up a leash in your home before you go for walks, or you can work on picking up his leash while you are actually on walks and using the leash together. Once you've taught your dog how to pick up his leash and what his leash is, you could even keep his leash in the same spot every day and he can go get it and bring it to you when he's ready for a walk.

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Getting Started

You will obviously need a leash that is a suitable size for your dog. A collar or a harness for your dog will also be necessary to attach the leash to. Consider harnesses for large breed dogs or dogs who can pull and are possibly out of control while on a leash. Your dog is going to need some high-value treats to learn this trick. Keep him engaged and enticed with something like cheese or hot dogs. You will need time to take your dog for walks while doing this training, so make sure you schedule training sessions every day so it's always fresh on his mind and becomes part of your daily routine.

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The Leash Command Method

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Teach command

Teach your dog the word "leash" as a command. As you are walking your dog on the leash, let him sniff it often and use the word "leash". Each time you put it on him, use the word "leash".

2

Pick up

Train your dog to pick up the leash by placing it in or near his mouth while walking and during times you are not walking. Each time you show him the leash and let him mouth it, use the ‘leash’ command. Once he is successful at holding it in his mouth, say "pick up leash." This will be the new command to put it in his mouth.

3

Reward

Each time he puts the leash in his mouth or at least mouths it after using the command, give him a treat. Continue to practice this command several times a day for a few days.

4

Leash walk

Once your dog knows the word "leash" and the command to pick it up, take him for a walk on his leash. Add some slack in the leash so he has room to put it in his mouth.

5

Use Ccommand

While walking together, use the command to pick up the leash and place the leash in your dog’s mouth. Be sure to treat him for a job well done.

6

Challenge

As soon as he is used to you putting the leash in his mouth, begin to use the command, expecting him to pick it up himself. You may need to control the slack at first so it’s not directly on the ground.

7

Practice

Continue to practice this each time you go for walks together. Once your dog had this down, he will be able to walk himself with the leash in his mouth, and he should be able to pick up his leash in an effort to bring it to you before walks.

The Leash Walking Method

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Mouth leash

While not on a walk, introduce the leash to your dog and let him mouth it. Try not to let him chew on, it as the integrity of the leash may be compromised with chewing. Use the word "leash" while introducing it to him.

2

On walks

Take your dog for a walk and use the word "leash" as you let him sniff and mouth the leash. Stop now and then to allow your dog to mouth the leash.

3

Take it

Once he knows the word leash, use the ‘take it’ command to have your dog take the leash from you. Once he mouths it, let go so it is in his mouth.

4

Treat

Be sure to give your dog a treat for a job well done. He will probably drop the leash for the treat, so this is an opportunity to repeat the ‘take it’ command again.

5

Off-leash

Begin to use the ‘take it’ command with your dog when he is off leash. This works well inside your house. Place the leash in different areas of the house. Show it to your dog and use the ‘take it’ command. He should pick it up and take it in his mouth.

6

Reward and practice

Always reward your dog with treats and verbal praise when he does well.

7

Leash location

If you keep your leash in one location, you can train your dog to take the leash into his mouth to pick it up when he is ready for a walk.

The Pick it Up Method

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Leash command

Make ‘pick it up’ your command from the start. As soon as you introduce the leash to your dog, say the command ‘pick it up.’

2

Mouth leash

As you use the command to 'pick it up', place it in your dog’s mouth.

3

Practice and reward

Practice this new command several times a day with your dog for about a week. You can put the leash on your dog for a walk and use the command to pick it up. Also, start with the command before placing the leash on the dog. Each time he puts the leash in his mouth, give him a reward.

4

Off-leash

Once he knows how to pick up the leash, ask him to pick it up before you head out for a walk. Be sure to give him a treat once he has picked up the leash. This might mean he’ll let go of the leash, but at this point, you can take it from him and head out for a walk.

5

On walks

While you and your dog walk together, use the ‘pick it up’ command to have your dog pick up the leash while walking. You can even turn this into a fun trick and have your dog walk himself.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 10/26/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

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