This is one of my favourite tricks! I drop my leash, but my dog doesn’t run away, he politely picks up the leash and places it back in my hand. Nice! Thanks Doug! If your dog already loves to retrieve, you can teach them to fetch their leash in just a few steps.
Teach this trick immediately after a short session of playing fetch with items your dog already loves to retrieve like toys.
1) Tie your leash into a tight ball, tucking and hiding the metal clasp inside.
2) Introduce the leash-ball excitedly, “look who’s got a new toy!” Toss and play tug with it gently, you may need to re-tie the leash ball a few times depending on your dog’s level of enthusiasm.
3) Next, Try tossing the leash half-tied, then un-tied if they are still game to retrieve it.
4) Ask your dog to sit, place the leash a few feet away. Go back to their side and excitedly tell them to retrieve.
5) Now you’re ready to try the big number. Attach the leash to your dog’s collar and toss the end on the ground in front of you, ask them to retrieve and enjoy the fruits of your training!
Depending on your dog’s level of prior training and current enthusiasm, you may speed through these 5 steps in just a few sessions. Most dogs can progress at a rate of 1 step per week if you train at least a few times per week.
If your dog is struggling when learning a new skill, try going back a step and moving forward in smaller, easier increments. It helps to continually return to tasks the dog has mastered to keep their confidence up. Keep training sessions short and fun!
Watch our video: Teach ‘Get Your Leash’ with Roscoe and Douglas:
Roscoe is almost entirely blind, but he still loves to be helpful. I primed him for this session by letting him retrieve my glove, my favourite part of this video is when he tries to keep bringing me the glove again, he was pretty certain I would need my glove!
Bonus: Want your dog to retrieve their leash from a hook on the wall? Try practicing retrieving near the wall or an end table first before making the move to hanging the leash. Hang it loosely so that it can be easily retrieved. Make sure the clip is hanging down so that the metal clip doesn’t fall down and hit them in the head. Remove any poo bag attachment that might pose a similar hazard. Stand right next to the wall or end table at first and move away once they are getting the idea. Say “Yes!” and throw a big treat party, especially the first time the leash falls from the hook or table.
If your dog tries to grab your leash while you walk them, reserve teaching this trick until you’ve taught your dog to ignore the leash. Interrupt leash biting and focus your dog’s energy on obedience commands or perhaps on a game of tug with an appropriate toy. Many dogs like to walk with a toy or stick in their mouths. You can certainly have your cake and eat it too if you can be consistent. I love to use my leash as a reward because I always have it with me when we are out. I can whip the handle back and worth and give him a little tug or toss it to ground and let him retrieve it.