IN ORDER TO save yourself some time and stress during a busy morning, wouldn’t it be easier if your dog could get the leash themselves? It would also be easier if they could walk themselves, but let’s not go too far… This next step will teach your dog how to get their own leash.
First, you’ll want to introduce the word “leash” to your dog by saying it every time you put it on them. Learning names and repetition of words is the key here — once the dog understands what “leash” means and what it is, the rest is just implementing previously taught commands. Some of the basics to teach your dog this trick are the same that we learned earlier with “fetch.”
For starters, set the leash on the floor and encourage the dog to take it. When they do, click and reward or praise with “yes” or “good” and reward. Go toward the door and tell them to come — make sure they still have the leash. You can use verbal commands here that that already know such as “bring it” or “bring the leash.”
Incorporating the word leash into the training over and over again will reinforce to the dog the importance of having the leash. Once they bring the leash to you by the door, tell them to drop it.
Click and reward. If they are having trouble with dropping it into your hands, do not reward them with a walk or a treat. This will let them know that when they don’t hand over the leash they will not be rewarded in the end. If they bring it and drop it on the floor, repeat the steps until they drop it into your hands, then you can clickand reward. Repeat these steps several times, and every time they drop the leash in your hands repeat the word “leash” for reinforcement.
Eventually, when the dog becomes more comfortable, you can eliminate the other verbal commands such as “take it, bring it, drop it,” or whatever you’re using to encourage them to bring you the leash. Instead, begin only using the word “leash” or “bring me the leash” to command them.
Once the dog has become comfortable with this, randomly tell them to bring you the leash. If they do, click and reward them with a jackpot.
Make sure you also end these training sessions with nice long walks! If the dog thinks they will get nothing out of it when bringing you the leash, they will be less inclined to follow your commands. If they know they will be rewarded with a walk, they will learn more quickly and be more eager to follow along.