Training a puppy can be difficult, especially when they’re so excited to explore every nook and cranny of the home.
But with patience, consistency, and gentle training methods like leash walking beside you, you’ll have an obedient pup in no time at all!
In this article, we’ll discuss how to leash train a puppy. Let’s get right into it.
What is leash training?
Leash training refers to training your puppy to walk on a leash so that it doesn’t ever want to run away from you.
If your puppy has never been walked on a leash before, it’ll need some time to adjust and get used to it. The key here is that both of you will need to be patient throughout this process.
When it comes to successfully leash training a puppy, there are several things you’ll need and some important puppy behaviors that you should know.
Start by making sure your dog is comfortable with the collar and leash. If it isn’t, then start by acclimating it to those two things.
Benefits Of Leash Training A Puppy
Leash training is beneficial for both you and your puppy.
It teaches the dog how to behave around other people and how to respond appropriately when you call it back to you. Leash training can even help to stop a dog that likes biting.
Here are some other benefits of leash training your puppy:
1. Leash Law Compliance
Many cities have leash laws that require your dog to be on a leash at all times when you are outside. If you’re caught breaking this law, it can result in serious fines as well as having your pup confiscated and/or put down.
It’s essential to follow local laws to ensure your dog’s safety.
2. Taking Relaxing Walks Without Stress
Taking your dog out for a walk can be stressful and frustrating if it’s pulling on the leash and ignoring you.
With proper leash training, you’ll be able to take long walks together that are relaxing instead of stressful.
3. Develops A Good Relationship
Another benefit of leash training is that your dog will develop a good relationship with you. This helps it to be more receptive when it is learning new commands.
It also makes it easier for the dog to understand what you want from it and feel comfortable following those commands.
4. Promotes Good Dog Behaviour
As you learn how to leash train a puppy, it will start to behave better. It’ll be less likely to bark at other people or animals and act more polite in public areas.
It’s essential that you handle this task with care and understand that it does take time for your puppy to adjust.
5. Avoids Accidents & Unwanted Responses
When your dog is on a leash, it’s easier for you to supervise and stop any unwanted behavior. This includes sniffing around, barking at other people or animals, digging in trash cans, and so forth.
It also prevents it from running away from you when it sees an animal that excites it or another person that it wants to greet.
6. Prevents Physical Injuries Or Problems
Another benefit of leash training is that it helps prevent injuries or physical problems with your dog.
For example, a dog left outside without supervision can cause damage to the home, dig up plants in the yard, and bark loudly at other animals passing by.
How To Start Leash Training A Puppy
Leash training is not nearly as difficult as many people believe. In fact, there’s a systematic way to teach your puppy how to walk on a leash.
Using the following tips will get you started off on the right foot!
1. Set up the harness or collar & leash and introduce the puppy to it.
First, introduce the puppy to its harness or collar. Affix it loosely and let it go about its business as it always does.
Soon enough, it will become comfortable with the feel of a collar around its neck.
Next, attach a leash to this harness or collar and allow your puppy to walk around. The idea is that it should become accustomed to the leash as well.
Always walk in front of your puppy on a leash at this first stage, so that you can easily steer it away from any danger or distraction and prevent it from pulling.
2. Teach your puppy a cue.
Teach your puppy an audio cue to indicate when food is on the way. Clicking and treating are two ways to communicate while saying “yes” is another.
Whatever method you use, your puppy should be on a leash and collar, and you should do this in a quiet area with no distractions.
Reward your puppy the moment it looks at you or turns toward you. With a few more repetitions, you’ll notice your pup turning its head towards you and approaching you for its delicious treat.
3. Invite your puppy to come.
Next, invite your puppy to come when you want it to. While it knows the sound cue and comes for treats, use that very same sound cue to get it near you.
Stretch out your hand towards its collar while making the “yes” sound of approval well in advance. As soon as it reaches your hand at the collar or harness, reward it with a treat.
4. Start by practicing indoors.
You can now practice taking a few steps with your puppy in a room with no distractions.
It will be challenging enough just for it to feel and see the leash around it.
Praise your puppy as it gets in the habit of approaching you while wearing a leash, like mentioned before.
5. Progress to training your pup outdoors.
After all those preparations, you’re finally ready to see what your pup can do outdoors.
It will be challenging for the puppy to adapt to all the different sounds, scents, and sights it encounters with this step. Take short walks at first and be patient.
Make your cue sound and move a few steps away when your puppy appears about ready to lunge or become distracted (since you’ll always be watching it). Be sure to give it a tasty reward for following you.
Handling Certain Situations While Leash Training A Puppy
There may be times, especially in the beginning, when your pup needs your assistance to get through a certain situation.
This may involve handling distractions, helping it stay calm when it’s pulled away from you, or toning down excitement at the presence of another animal, person, or object.
Here are some tips that will help.
If your puppy begins to pull…
If your puppy begins to pull, then gently stop it by using a technique known as back chaining.
Simply hold onto the leash and wait for your puppy to stop pulling before you walk on. Don’t yank the leash, and don’t drag your puppy along with you.
If your puppy lunges…
You should always be proactive if your dog tries to chase something while walking, such as another dog, a person, or even a car.
Make sure to give it a treat before it lunges, and create space between the target and your dog. Don’t let it get too close to the object of its attention. Stay alert and prepared.
Although herding dogs are more likely to act in this way, all dogs can be startled when they experience something exciting and new.
If your puppy starts barking…
When dogs are out walking, they are known to bark at people, dogs, etc. A lack of physical exercise is often the cause of this behavior.
Ensure that your dog receives the appropriate amount of physical activity and mental stimulation given the specific breed and age. In case the problem persists, follow the same steps as if your dog is trying to lunge.
Leash training a puppy takes time and consistency. Always keep in mind that your dog is not to blame for its inability to walk properly on a leash and that it is only reacting based on its natural instincts.
Of course, this guide only gives tips for leash training and summarizes the process; reality will be much more involved. And there’s a chance that the information in this article won’t be enough for you to properly leash train your puppy. You may need to seek professional help.
But professional dog trainers can be extremely expensive – over $600 for four hours, or even more. Most people can’t afford this amount for just four hours of help.
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This trainer has figured out that common puppy challenges like leash or crate training, or unwanted behaviours like pulling and barking, fundamentally come down to learning how to calm the dog down so it can regain control of its emotions.
And so he’s put together a series of videos, including a special video diary called Project Moses, that will help your puppy develop the life skills needed to be well-trained, stay focused and listen to you, despite any distractions.
This dog training package is substantial, it has produced proven results for countless dog owners, and it costs a tiny fraction of what you would pay for the services of a typical dog trainer or behaviorist.
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Don’t give up, try to make the process fun, and sooner or later, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a leash-trained dog.
Thanks for reading this guide. Do you need to leash train your puppy? What has been your experience with leash training? Feel free to share in the comment section below!