How to teach your dog to go to the toilet on the lead: Three tips from top dog trainer Ben Randall

It can be frustrating and stressful when your dog is stubbornly refusing to do its business while on a lead, especially if you’re in a scenario where you can’t let them roam free. Expert dog trainer Ben Randall explains how to encourage your dog to go on command.

Some dogs can find leads restricting and begin to behave differently as soon as you put one on them, especially if they’re still getting used to it — introducing the lead to your dog can be tricky and takes patience, as I’ve discussed before.

Helping your dog to feel calm and happy on the lead is an important step in training and can make life a lot easier for both you and your dog — something that J.W. is hoping to achieve with their rescue dog.

‘My family acquired Rosie, a lab-pit mix via a re-homing at 11 months old. Previously, she had never been on a leash or in a car — she was one of quite a few dogs who had access to a large backyard to go to the bathroom,’ [writes J.W., via e-mail.] ‘Since we brought her home a little over a year ago, she has never shown any initiation while on a lead to go to the loo. We’ve even tried leaving the lead on her for 24 hours to see if that would make a difference. Have you ever come across this?’

The answer is yes! I’ve been working on my BG (Beggarbush) foundation methods for nearly 20 years — you can catch up on my previous articles here, and see more at @beggarbush on Instagram. In that time I’ve seen pretty much everything you could think of, and probably quite a few things you couldn’t! And if you’ve got your own question, send it to me via email to paws-for-thought@futurenet.com.

As for this issue? Well, some dogs simply like to have release and freedom before they will do their business — a lead that is one or two metres long will make most dogs feel too restricted to go. But there are several things you can do to make it easier.

Three steps to teaching your dog to go to the loo while on the lead

1. Pick the right spot

When taking your dog out to the loo, it might be a good idea to aim for a familiar setting, a place where he or she has previously been to the loo. That could be a particular place in your garden or somewhere out on your walk where you know they have done their business before.

2. Use a long lead

Get yourself a retractable/flexible lead that will extend beyond two metres — then, when you take your dog out to go to the loo, take him or her to the toilet area and ask the dog to sit. Release the lead to its maximum length, give a toilet command (whatever that might be), point to the area and allow the dog to potter around and sniff, giving them the time and freedom to go to the loo.

Walking dog on beach

3. Offer a reward

Once your dog has done their business, you can reward him or her with praise or a piece of kibble — soon, this routine should become second nature for the dog, whether they are on or off the lead.

For more detailed advice about Ben Randall’s positive, reward-based and proven BG training methods, one-to-one training sessions, residential training or five-star dog-boarding at his BGHQ in Herefordshire, telephone 01531 670960 or visit www.ledburylodgekennels.co.uk. For a free seven-day trial of the Gundog app, which costs £24.99 a month or £249.99 a year, visit www.gundog.app/trial.