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Training a Puppy To Walk On a Leash

Soon after you bring your puppy home, you’re going to want that puppy to walk nicely on a leash. Training a puppy to walk on a leash makes that puppy safer for the rest of his or her life, and guarantees you’ll be able to give your puppy the exercise he or she needs to stay healthy – without the hassles.

Training a Puppy To Walk On a Leash

Anyone who has a young puppy and goes looking for an article called “training a puppy to walk on a leash,” deserves a round of applause. It’s good to get started on leash training, and all kinds of puppy training, right away. Starting early is much easier than correcting the wrong habits later!

Below, I’ve written a simple, step-by-step guide to help you with leash training your puppy. Training a puppy to walk on a leash only takes between a few days, to a few weeks – but don’t worry if your willful little friend takes a bit longer. Just stick to it and be consistent, and it will pay off in the end.

Remember: Walking on a leash is not a built-in habit for a puppy! That’s why you need to be clear and consistent about what you expect. Every puppy needs to be taught how to walk on a leash, and that means they need to be given the clear repetition that every dog needs in order to learn.


Training a Puppy to Walk On a Leash: Phase 1

Training a Puppy To Walk On a Leash

The first thing that helps your puppy learn the leash, is simply to get used to wearing a collar. You can do this starting the very same day you bring your puppy home. The best choice for this, is a plain, lightweight collar.

To help your puppy get used to the collar, put it on him when you’re about to play, or about to feed him – that way he’ll forget all about the collar. He might cry or try and remove it – don’t give in! Eventually, he’ll forget all about it, which is the whole point of this first step.

Training a Puppy to Walk On a Leash: Phase 2

After your puppy has stopped noticing his collar, it’s time to do the same thing with the leash. Get a lightweight leash, and just as before, put it on him whenever you’re getting ready to play or feed him. Make sure you supervise your puppy when he’s wearing the leash, and make sure he’s having a good time – then he’ll identify wearing a leash, with having a good time with you. Once he forgets the leash is there, you’re ready for the next step!

Training a Puppy to Walk On a Leash: Phase 3

So your puppy is comfortable with the collar, comfortable with the leash, and naturally by now he’s comfortable with you. Now, take up the other end of the leash, and just walk around the house. Most puppies will happily follow you around – which is one of the reasons training a puppy to walk on a leash is so easy.

Training a Puppy To Walk On a Leash

This is where the real leash training comes in. You walk, your puppy walks with you. If he’s keeping up and the leash is loose, praise him constantly, give him a pat and maybe the occasional treat. If he pulls on the leash, stop moving and wait for him to get the hint. Don’t let your puppy’s pulling, force you to go at his pace – that teaches him that he can pull you. Of course, you can call him over to you as well. Once he returns to your side, give him praise.

By doing that, you’re teaching him that pulling on the leash gets him nowhere. If he wants to be walked, he needs to stay near you, preferably right beside you, and leave slack on the leash. The same thing goes for when he lags behind or takes a seat – don’t pull, just stop and call him over, then praise him when he obeys.

Training a puppy to walk on a leash is about rewarding the right behavior, and waiting for your puppy to choose that reward.

The method I’m writing about above, is best-suited for training a puppy to walk on a leash. I wrote another article about leash training an older dog which is similar, but there are some important differences. In both cases, there’s no pulling! Just be patient, consistent, gentle and firm. Also, don’t forget that clickers are very helpful in all kinds of training, including loose leash walking.

For those of you who plan on training a puppy at home, I recommend these comprehensive dog training systems. They’re meant for anyone who owns a dog, who wants to give and get the best things out of that dog’s life. Click for my reviews on these systems, which I’ve learned from myself.

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