Teaching puppy to walk on leash

How To Teach Your Puppy To Walk On a Leash

Think you’ll never get him to walk on a leash?

According to expert trainers, teaching your puppy to walk on a leash is easy. Beware, not all dogs innately know how to walk politely on a leash. But with a bit of patience and perseverance, training your puppy to walk on a leash is an important skill to teach and one you’ll value daily.

First things first:

Get your puppy familiar with wearing a collar or harness and a leash, by letting him wear them inside the house for short periods, like when you are giving him attention with indoor play, and giving him treats. By providing him to treats while wearing the collar and harness, he’ll begin to associate the leash-time with a delicious reward.

Decide on how you’d like to introduce your puppy to a sound that means “treats are coming” by using a verbal word, sound – perhaps a click with the tongue. Take him to an undistracted area where the two of you can be alone and while he is wearing the collar/leash make the sound, let’s say it’s a “click” and when he turns towards you, reward him with a treat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Soon he’ll be not only glancing your way but anxiously coming toward you for the treat.

While still wearing the collar and leash, back up a few steps and reward him when he comes to you. Continue with the progression until he comes within a few steps of you. Puppies have short attention spans so keep your beginning sessions short and end before he gets exhausted from the game. Continue your short sessions inside where there is little distraction. He’ll become accustomed to feeling the collar and leash and better prepared for when you take it “on the road.”

When you think he’s ready for the challenge, take him outside. Remember, outside there are going to be many sights, sounds, and smells that will distract his attention as it’s all so new and interesting to him. Take small steps and be patient. When you notice he’s about to lunge toward something he may find intriguing, like a squirrel, bunny, flying bug, or even the smells of your garden, make your cue sound (click) and move a few steps away, then reward him with a treat for following you.

Keep your walks short. Soon he will be walking on a leash nicely, but remember as he grows and experiences new distractions, you might run into new issues liking pulling in another direction, and thrusting toward his prey. Stand your ground. Stay still, and hold the leash tightly. Refuse to move until he comes back to you. No need to jerk the leash, you do not want to drag your dog along with you. Sometimes a front-hook harness or head halter is a better alternative to a collar for dogs who tend to pull.

Stay alert and be prepared for distractions. If your puppy starts to bark, it may be a lack of exercise. So taking him on short walks often and providing him with mental and physical stimulation is key. For puppies that bark, use the same theory to turn their attention towards you. A little patience and gradually you’ll reduce the number of treats. Just in case, keep a few treats handy at all times so you can reinforce good leash-walking behavior with every walk.