How To Train A Rescue Dog To Walk On A Leash

This article will cover how to train a rescue dog to walk on a leash. 

Rescue dogs are dogs that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by their previous owners. These dogs have been hurt and need special love and care. 

how to train a rescue dog to walk on a leash
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If your dog has not been hurt but is just proving stubborn and refusing to accept a leash, you may be better off checking our other posts on how to get a stubborn dog to walk on a leash and our other post on how to train a dog to wear a harness.

Moving on, with the history of abuse, neglect, and sometimes abandonment experienced by rescue dogs, it can be difficult to get rescue dogs to adapt to new changes. Therefore these dogs are special and need special treatment. 

Most rescue dog owners find it very difficult to get their dogs to walk on a leash. For rescue dogs that have been abused with a leash, it could be impossible. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Please note as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However all the information provided on this site are my own honest opinions.

Nevertheless, here are some top dog training tips to try;


1. Purchase Very Comfortable Gear 

The leash you’ll use on your rescue dog should be the most comfortable one out there. Nylon and leather are two ideal leash materials you should consider. The leash shouldn’t be too tight and shouldn’t be too loose. There are some specific leashes made for rescue dogs. 

For rescue dogs, harnesses are recommended too. Harnesses come in different styles; you can test the different styles to find one that your pet would be comfortable wearing. 

Your rescue dogs’ weight will determine the size of the harness to buy. But, it is ideal to go for a harness that can be easily adjusted. 

2. Introduce The Leash 

Before you attempt putting the leash on him, gradually introduce it. Keep the leash around where he’ll see it and play with it if possible. 

At the same time, you should be spending quality time with your pet. Rescue dogs need all the love they can get to feel safe. 

You’re looking at how to train a rescue dog to walk on a leash, which would involve going outdoors. For this, you should take your pet outside for short walks within your compound or very close to home without any leash on. 

He needs to understand that you’re not trying to abuse him but instead that he has freedom.

3. Put On The Dog Leash While Playing 

It would be best to put the leash on while your dog is in a happy mood, and during your play session is an ideal time. 

This action should be done carefully and should be integrated as part of the playing activity. If you attempt wearing it and your dog tries to withdraw, don’t force it as your dog isn’t ready. 

If you succeed in getting the leash on without trouble, continue playing with him and act as nothing changed. Don’t rush him outdoors the next minute. 

Watch him play with the leash on until he’s no longer worried about the extra weight it puts on him. 


4. Try Indoor Dog Walking 

With the leash on, do a bit of indoor walking while holding the leash. If the rescue dog won’t walk or get up, get back to playing until he’s more relaxed. 

To entice him to walk, you can use treats. Drop some of his favorite treats ahead of him and propel him with the leash to walk towards it. You can go on with this for a few hours with breaks in between. 

At this stage of the training, it’s ideal to keep the leash somewhat loose so in case he attempts a breakaway like a loose leash walking, he’ll be free and won’t be restrained. It’s indoors, so he won’t get lost if he breaks away. 


5. Go For Short Outdoor Walks 

If you’ve succeeded in walking indoors, it’s time to get some outdoor experience. If you’ve taken your dog for short indoor walks within your compound as suggested earlier, your dog won’t find this strange. The only difference would be the leash on the neck. 

how to teach a rescue dog to leash walk
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As you walk, walk nicely and take calculated steps. Watch your pet to be sure that your pet isn’t uncomfortable. Importantly, avoid distractions such as loud noises or any places that could cause fear to your rescue dog. 


6. Repeat 

According to Pet Plan UK, consistency is important for all dogs and, most importantly, rescue dogs who have experienced many inconsistencies.

You won’t get your rescue dog to walk on a leash in one day successfully. It will take various repetitions of the tips discussed here to get there. 

However, it would help if you weren’t at it every day. You could overwork your pet and cause him discomfort. 2 to 3 times weekly is ideal. With each day, attempt walking longer distances, and for every successful walk, reward your pet with treats to keep him happy. 

See more tips on leash training your shelter dog or resuce dog in the video below.

Bottom Line 

When leash training a dog, it’s important to have patience, but you should have extra patience when leash training a rescue dog. These are dogs that have been through a lot. 

Nevertheless, with the tips on how to train a rescue dog to walk on a leash above, you should find the task less difficult. I hope you enjoyed this article on training rescue dogs to wear leashes; please share this post with others.

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