Leash Training

Train Your Dog to Untangle Their OWN Leash on Walks

February 19, 2024

One of my biggest pet peeves is having to untangle the leash from under a dog’s legs on walks.

Train Your Dog to Untangle Their OWN Leash on Walks

It frustrates me so much that I teach almost every dog that I walk to fix their OWN leash on cue!

On some of my leash training Youtube tutorials, you’ll hear me ask the dog to “fix your leash”. The dog lifts the tangled paw on cue, freeing the leash. I’ve received multiple requests asking how I taught that skill, so I want to show you!

Training a dog to untangle their own leash on walks rather than you needing to squat down and do it for them is a very simple skill to teach. I’m going to show you the step-by-step process of how I train a dog to fix their own leash on walks!

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can watch a 4 minute Youtube tutorial for how I teach “fix your leash” here:

What you’ll need for training a dog to untangle their own leash on walks:

Step 1: Teach your dog to lift their front legs when they feel the leash.

When I just start training this skill, I like to start with the dog in a sitting position. Put the leash under your dog’s leg close to their paw, and then wiggle the leash a little bit so that they can feel it. This should encourage them to lift their paw.

fix your leash

When they lift their paw, say your marker word and reward even the smallest paw lift as you free the leash. As your dog gets better at this you’ll practice with a leash higher and higher up their leg.

Please note: I’m not verbally cueing the dog at all yet. As with most of my dog training tutorials including skills such as sit and down, I don’t add a cue word until the dog is semi-proficient at the action. The reason for this is that when I do add a cue, I want the cue and the action to be heavily associated so the dog quickly follows my request.

By practicing the action and getting your dog solid on the movement before adding a cue word, you’ll build a stronger association. I also like building this particular skill as a tactile cue (I.E the leash touching their leg) so that eventually the dog automatically fixes their leash on walks without me even needing to ask them to!

Step two: Add a cue word

Once your dog has learned to quickly lift their paw to release the leash with both front legs, then I add a cue word. I personally say “fix your leash”, but you can choose any cue that you would like. Rehearse this many times so your dog lifts their paw to free the leash as soon as they’re asked to.

At this point I also start practicing the skill from a standing position since that emulates real life and walks.

Step three: Practice with their back legs

I start teaching this skill with the front two legs first because that’s easier for the dog, but you do want to proof it with all four legs. Same as step two, practice in a standing position with a leash at various heights on your dog’s BACK legs now.

Within a few sessions you should be able to ask your dog to fix their own leash out on walks without you having to bend over and fumble with it.

Happy training 🙂

Disclosure: Happy Hounds uses affiliate links. Purchasing with these links will not cost you any extra, but I get commissions for purchases made through these links. Affiliate links help me to continue to offer free resources & blog posts. I would love if you used them!

Train Your Dog to Untangle Their OWN Leash on Walks

About the author:

Stephanie Rombough, DBTMc, is a force-free dog trainer in Edmonton, Alberta. She owns Happy Hounds Dog Training, offering private in-person or virtual dog training services. 

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