Leash training a puppy is one of the most important skills to teach your furry friend. Not only will it help keep them safe during walks, but it will also make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. Walking on a leash is not a natural behavior for dogs, so it requires patience and consistency from the parent. In this blog post, we will discuss how to teach your puppy to walk on leash.
Start early with puppy leash training
The best time to start leash training is when your puppy is between 8-12 weeks old. At this age, they are still curious about the world and can easily adapt to new experiences. You don’t want to wait until your puppy is older and has formed bad habits that are more difficult to break, at this point dog training becomes harder. Of course, if you adopt your puppy at an older age it’s never too late when it comes to training your dog!
Start with the right equipment so you can effectively teach your puppy to walk on a leash
Before you start training your puppy to walk on a leash, it’s essential to have the right equipment. You’ll need a collar or harness, a leash, and some treats.
Collar vs. Harness: Which one should you choose for leash training?
Collars are more traditional and come in various types such as flat collars, martingale collars, and slip collars. Harnesses are a newer option that is becoming more popular because they are more comfortable and provide better control and teaching your dog becomes easier. When choosing between a collar or harness, consider your dog’s breed and size, as well as any physical limitations they may have. You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably between the collar and your puppy’s neck. If you have a greyhound or whippet or similar breed they will need a special collar because they have long thin necks and can be injured by traditional collars.
Leash: What type of leash should you use?
The leash should be lightweight and not too long. A good starting length for a leash is around four to six feet. Retractable leashes are not recommended for training purposes, as they don’t provide enough control.
Treats: What kind of dog food should you use?
Choose small, soft, and easy-to-eat treats that your puppy loves. You should always use high-value treats when training your dog! Keep them in a treat bag or pocket so that you can easily access them during your training sessions.
How to train a puppy to walk on a leash?
First Introduce your puppy to the collar or harness and leash!
Before you can train a puppy to walk on leash, you need to introduce them to the collar or harness and the leash. Start by allowing your puppy to sniff and explore the collar and leash while they are lying down. The best way to leash train a puppy is to gradually increase the amount of time they wear the collar or harness each day until they are comfortable with it. Once they are comfortable with the collar, attach the leash and let them drag it around the house. This will help them get used to the feeling of the leash. As your puppy becomes more comfortable with the leash, start picking it up and gently guiding your puppy around the house or yard. Reward your puppy with praise and puppy food when they follow you and the leash.
Practice puppies leash training in a safe and familiar environment
Start puppy leash training in a safe and familiar environment without many distractions, such as your backyard or a quiet park. Avoid busy streets or crowded areas until your puppy is comfortable walking on a leash. Begin with puppy walks with a short distance and gradually increase the distance over time.
Teach Your Puppy to Follow You
The next step in leash training your puppy is to teach them to follow you. Start by walking around your house or yard with your puppy on a leash. If puppies start pulling or trying to lead you, stop walking and wait for them to come back to your side in the heel position. When they do, reward them with praise and a treat.
Repeat this process until your puppy learns that they need to stay by your side while walking on a leash. You can also use treats to lure your puppy to follow you. Hold a treat in your hand and walk in the direction you want your puppy to go. When your puppy follows you, reward them with the treat.
Teach Your Puppy to Stop and Wait
Another important skill to teach your puppy is to stop and wait. This will help prevent your puppy from pulling or running ahead of you during walks. Start by walking with your puppy on a leash and stop abruptly. When you stop, say “wait” and wait for your puppy to stop and sit. Once your puppy is sitting, reward them with praise and a treat.
Repeat this process until your puppy learns to stop and wait when you say “wait.” You can also use treats to lure your puppy to stop and sit. Hold a treat in front of your puppy’s nose and say “wait.” When your puppy stops and sits, reward them with the treat.
Practice Walking Outside
Once your puppy is comfortable with the leash and can follow you and stop on command, it’s time to practice walking outside. Keep your puppy on a short leash and walk at a steady pace. If your puppy pulls or tries to lead you, stop walking and wait for them to come back to your side. When they do, reward them with praise and a treat.
Gradually increase the distance and duration of your walks. As your puppy becomes more comfortable walking on a leash, you can start walking in busier areas with more distractions. Keep your puppy on a short leash and be patient. It may take some time during dog training to get used to the sights and sounds of a busy street.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the key to successful leash training. Reward your puppy with praise and treats when they walk calmly on a leash. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior. You can also use a clicker to mark good behavior and reinforce it with a treat.
Avoid punishment during the correction
Punishing your puppy for not walking on a leash will only make the process more difficult and stressful for both you and your puppy. Avoid pulling or jerking the leash, as this can cause your puppy to become fearful or anxious. Instead, use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. If your puppy starts to pull or becomes distracted during walks, it’s important to correct their behavior. Use a firm but gentle tone and say “no” when your puppy pulls or tries to lead you. Stop walking and wait for your puppy to come back to your side. When they do, reward them with praise and a treat
Increase the distance of walking a puppy on a leash
Once your puppy is comfortable walking a few steps on the leash, gradually increase the distance. Start by walking back and forth in the same area, and then move to a different area of your home or backyard.
Keep training sessions short and fun
Training sessions should be short and fun for your puppy. Puppies have short attention spans and can become bored quickly. Keep training sessions to 10-15 minutes and make them enjoyable by incorporating play and treats.
Be patient and consistent
Leash training takes time and patience. Walking a puppy on a leash may take longer to learn for some dogs than others, but with consistency and positive reinforcement, they will eventually learn to walk calmly on a leash. It’s important to be patient and not give up on your puppy.
As your puppy becomes more comfortable walking on a leash, it is important to introduce distractions to teaching your dog. This will help your puppy learn to focus on you and follow your lead, even when there are other people, dogs, or objects around.
If your puppy starts to pull or become distracted, stop walking and wait for them to come back to your side. Once they do, reward them with a treat and praise.
Repeat this exercise several times a day, gradually increasing the level of distraction until your puppy is comfortable walking in a busy area with lots of distractions.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Leash training is an ongoing process that requires patience and consistency. It is important to practice leash training exercises every day, even after you have thought your dogs to walk.
Incorporate leash training into your daily routine by taking your puppy for walks around your neighborhood or to the park. This will allow your puppy to continue to practice their leash training skills in real-world situations.
Remember to be patient and consistent with your puppy’s training. Every puppy learns at their own pace, so it is important to adjust your training techniques to fit your puppy’s personality and behavior.
Conclusion on how to get a puppy to walk on a leash?
Training your puppy to walk on a leash is an important part of being a responsible dog owner. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can train your puppy to walk on a leash and have an enjoyable walking experience for both you and your furry friend.
Remember to choose the right leash and collar, introduce your puppy to the collar and leash gradually, train your puppy to follow you, stop pulling, walk on a loose leash, introduce distractions, and practice daily.
By following these steps, you will teach your puppy to walk on leash and train your puppy to be a well-behaved companion on walks. Happy training!