Teaching a puppy to walk on a leash is one of the most fundamental parts of training your dog. Having a leash-trained dog makes it easier for you as a pet parent since your dog will typically be less reactive and more obedient. Leash walking can be a daunting task, but with the right training tips and tricks – you can do it.
Read on to learn the tips and tricks behind leash training a puppy.
Why Should I Walk My Puppy On A Leash?
While it can be difficult for a puppy to learn, training your puppy to walk on a leash is an extremely important part of their life right from the start. Since they’re not used to leashes, there are training tips you can follow to ensure the safety and obedience of your furry friend. This can help you avoid playing tug of war with your pup while trying to walk them — it’s a win-win, really.
Walking your puppy is usually done while potty training to get your puppy to use the restroom outside as opposed to inside on a potty pad. Training your puppy to walk on a leash is essentially a two-for-one. You are able to train your pup to walk obediently while also showing them the proper place to go potty.
Plus, walking your puppy is good for their health through adulthood. By taking your dog for regularly scheduled walks, you are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle for both you and your fur baby.1
Pet Training: Teaching A Puppy To Walk On A Leash
When teaching your puppy how to walk on a leash, introduce them to their leash and collar. Make sure they get used to putting it on/taking it off so they won’t give you problems as they grow older. By doing this, you’re associating a walk with a positive action. The last thing you want is for your puppy to be scared of their leash and collar.
Then, teach your puppy to “come” by carrying a tasty treat or two – reward them every time they listen. You’re going to want to do this indoors at first. Take them outside when you feel confident in your pup’s new skills, and follow the same training.
Puppies are all different, so it may take some time. Make sure you are regularly training them, even if it seems like they’ve caught on to the training. By teaching a puppy basics, like desensitizing your pup to their collar or harness and teaching them the “come” command, you instill obedience in your pup. These are also basics that will be helpful throughout their entire lives.2
Prevent Your New Puppy From Pulling On Leash: Use A Clicker
When training your dog to walk on a leash, it’s common for your dog to pull. Firstly, a retractable leash is not ideal for dogs that pull. While it gives your dog more freedom, these leashes do not give you the full control you need when leash training. Definitely try a no-pull leash if you feel your dog tugging more than they should.
If your dog pulls, consider buying a clicker to curb pulling when you are on a walk. When your dog releases the tension of the leash as you walk, press on the clicker and reward them with a treat. Eventually, your dog will associate the loose-leash walking to a reward. From there, your dog won’t need a clicker to lessen the tension in the leash.
Clicker training remains one of the most popular forms of puppy training. The best part about clicker training is that it can be used for tricks and other obedience training too.
By associating the click to positive reinforcement, your pup is more likely to pick up on leash training.3
Using A Prong Collar To Curb Pulling
If your dog is still pulling, consider prong collars. When fitted correctly, a prong collar can be the easiest method to teach your dog not to pull. Essentially, it creates tension and lightly pinches your dog when they pull. This lets your dog know not to pull. Training your dog with a prong collar should still be done patiently and with lots of rewards – think of it as a training tool, not a solution.
Prong collars often have a bad reputation, but if used properly, they can show positive results. The negative reactions to prong collars are a product of incorrect use. If you aren’t sure about it, definitely reach out to a dog trainer to learn more.4
Puppy Training With Positive Reinforcement: Walking With Treats And A Loose Leash
Walking your dog with positive reinforcement is the most efficient and the nicest way to leash train a puppy. Leash train your pup with intention – make sure you reward your dog when they do what you want. Teach your dog that training is positive and not negative.
Always bring treats along when you walk your dog. Every time the leash releases tension, reward them with one. This promotes a loose leash, which means they will not pull you while walking. Keep your treats in a treat pouch and reward them while training.
As they grow older, you won’t need to rely on the treat pouch, and they’ll successfully be able to walk with a loose leash.5
Practice With Distractions And Remember To Stay Calm On Walks With A New Puppy
Puppy training involves various different components. When walking your dog, make sure you leash train them around distractions (loud noises, people, etc.). This will desensitize them and make them generally less afraid. This means that your dog will be able to go on walks without being scared.
Having a socialized and calm puppy is also extremely important. Many puppies can be reactive to other dogs while walking. Practicing with distractions means that your puppy will not approach other dogs in an aggressive or over-excited manner. This makes walking your pup much safer for you, your pup, and other dogs and their parents.
When walking with your puppy, make sure you stay calm – they feed off of your energy.6
My Dog Isn’t Picking Up Training
If you’ve followed the above for an extended period of time with little to no results, consider a dog trainer. Each dog is different, and a dog’s behavior might mean they need more training than others. This doesn’t mean a dog is good or bad, but some may need professional training to instill obedience.
Remember – being patient and giving rewards are virtues when training your pup. Don’t give up if your furry friend isn’t responding to training as quickly as you may have thought. Instead, think about seeking a trainer to promote obedience through positive reinforcement.
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