Training Your Puppy to Walk on a Leash
Many people are surprised when they first get their puppy and it doesn’t respond well to walking on a leash – but it’s important to remember that being on a leash isn’t a natural situation for a dog! The good news is that teaching your puppy to walk on a leash is a fairly easy thing to do, and the earlier that you can start leash training with your puppy, the quicker you will see results.
Being able to walk your puppy on a leash is not only an enjoyable way for you to spend time with your companion; it’s also a far safer experience for your dog. The first step to training your puppy to walk on a leash is to get them used to wearing a collar or harness. Many smaller dogs prefer to be walked on a harness, as the leash sits further away from their head, while many owners of larger dogs opt for a harness as it is easier to control the dog’s strength. Both options are fine, and you should choose whichever solution is best for you and your dog.
When you first put the collar on your puppy, be sure to take time to feed or play with them so that they associate the collar with something enjoyable. Many puppies will try to rub and scratch against the collar, but you should leave it on until they have forgotten about it.
Once your puppy is used to the collar, you need to introduce them to the lead. The best type of lead for a young puppy is one that is lightweight and made of nylon or fabric, rather than chain or leather. Let your puppy sniff the lead, clip it to their collar and walk around with it. Make sure that you supervise your puppy during this process so that they don’t get caught on anything.
When your puppy is used to the feel of the leash and the collar, it’s time for you to pick up the handle. You need only do this for brief sessions each day, so that your puppy doesn’t pull back against the lead. Use happy, positive words throughout this process to show your puppy that their behavior is what you want.
Next you should start taking short walks around the house and yard. Again, be sure to use positive reinforcement whenever your puppy is doing the right thing. If they start to pull or drag against the leash (or simply sits down) stop walking and call them towards you. Your puppy will soon realize that pulling is an unacceptable behavior and that when they are walking alongside you they are doing the right thing.
Your ultimate aim for leash training is to be able to walk with your dog without either of your pulling on the leash. Your leash should form a relaxed cord between both you and your puppy, enabling you to both take pleasant walks without any stress and strain.
As always, be persistent and consistent with training your puppy and you will reap the benefits of a well trained dog.