Leash Training Your Puppy the Easy Way
Leash training your puppy can be one of the most frustrating training experiences you can have. Especially when you are trying to train your puppy how to walk on a leash without choking, pulling, or lunging. It can also become a negative experience for your puppy or dog if not done correctly. If a puppy or dog learns to associate a negative experience with leash training (such as pulling or choking), you are far less likely to get your puppy to walk correctly on a leash and more likely to give up on leash training, which is what a good deal of puppy and dog owners do.
It is especially important when leash training your puppy that this behavior is taught without hurting your companion and reinforcing a negative experience.
While there are many variations of leash training your puppy or dog, the tips below are proven and work well. The added benefit to leash training your puppy is that your puppy will start seeing you as their leader. This is essential for future training. If you prefer to use a leash and not a harness, here is the method that is most commonly used and I have used over and over again:
Steps to Succeed in Leash Training Your Puppy!
- For puppies, I usually start leash training when the puppy is over 10 weeks old. I don’t use a choke collar. You can put a collar on your puppy after you train him on a leash. The reason I recommend you use a leash first before putting on a collar is that the leash makes the puppy more sensitive to your movements.
- I don’t want the puppy to associate leash training with a negative experience, so I start by loosely placing a leash around the puppy’s neck several times while rewarding the puppy with a treat each time. This way the puppy is comfortable with the leash being placed around its neck. I use the same method for dogs.
- Next, I, place the leash around the puppy’s or dog’s neck and use a treat to move him forward. I do not pull or strangle – this only serves to frustrate, cause a puppy or dog to wiggle around, back away, and cements a negative experience in the puppy or dog’s mind. If you want to move a puppy or dog forward, put a treat in front of him.
- Then, I walk the puppy or dog back and forth in a room using treats as rewards, and by day two I start by walking out and in of the house. I do this until the behavior is learned.
- By a few days later, I have graduated onto the sidewalk. The puppy always walks beside me, not in front or behind me.
- By the end of the week, I am walking the puppy or dog down the sidewalk.
- If the puppy or dog starts to wander away from me or from walking beside me I will gently pull the puppy or dog towards me. I don’t use a lot of force in doing so.
- I usually walk the puppy or dog, every day or every other day until the dog walks beside me with the leash down, following with a reward for good behavior.
- I make sure that each time I go out with the puppy or dog that it is on the leash and doesn’t wander out of the house without one, that way it is a part of the puppy or dog’s regular schedule and becomes a part of their morning, nightly, and “bathroom” routine.
What if Leash Training Your Puppy Doesn’t Work?
Don’t give up. There are alternatives. If the above steps don’t work for you and your puppy still wriggles and pulls, try using a harness.
Why Does a Harness Work to Stop Pulling While Leash Training Your Puppy?
It works immediately by restricting movement along the girth of the puppy, not just the neck which makes it more difficult for your puppy to pull or run away.
If you are wondering if you can use a harness for a small puppy, the answer is yes, I would suggest though, that you use a collar as well. The first step would be to collar train your new puppy or dog. You can do so by using the same method as I use for leash training below – placing the collar loosely around the puppy’s neck several times and rewarding with a treat. The puppy should be comfortable with this process before you tighten the collar. Remember to use the two-finger concept when gauging how tight the collar should be. You should be able to slip two fingers underneath the collar. Once the puppy is comfortable with the collar, then you can proceed with using a harness.
Related: No pull puppy or dog harness Information on the best harness for your puppy or dog
The 3 main advantages to using a harness:
- Your puppy or dog will be able to go outside and use the bathroom immediately, priceless.
- Your puppy or dog will be able to interact with a variety of dogs and people faster.
- Your puppy or dog will have an easier and better experience when learning how to walk on a leash.
- You will be able to walk two dogs at one time.
Because the object is not to stress your puppy unnecessarily and to get them comfortable, making the leash training experience as easy as possible is recommended.
If you are able to succeed with leash training your puppy or dog, the best reward will be your puppy or dog will be able to accompany you almost anywhere.