Puppies aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. It’s up to you to show them how to respond to the leash and behave appropriately.
Why Should I Train My Puppy to Walk on a Leash?
Puppies are naturally curious. They love to explore their world. For this reason, it’s extremely practical to teach your puppy to walk using a leash. Walking is great exercise for you and your puppy and a leash serves to make this experience enjoyable.
Leash training is beneficial because:
- It keeps your puppy close to you while you walk
- Leashes can make obedience training an easier task
- It allows you to control your puppy when they become scared or agitated.
- Leashes are essential in many urban areas
How Do I Leash Train My Puppy?
The first step to leash training is to get your puppy used to wearing their collar. Puppy collars are important, not only because they are used for leash training, but also because they carry your information in the case that your puppy gets away.
Familiarise your puppy with wearing a collar from a young age by getting them to wear a well fitted collar early on. Your puppy’s collar should be tight enough that they cannot remove it, but loose enough that it is not uncomfortable. As your puppy continues to grow, it’s important to continually check that the collar is still fitted appropriately. If you can fit two fingers between your puppy’s neck and the collar, then it is well fitted.
Once your puppy is comfortable in their collar, you can begin training them to walk on a leash. At first, attach your puppy’s leash and have them drag it around the house under supervision. After 5 – 10 minutes of this, your puppy will likely have become familiar with the way the leash tugs at their collar.
Have your puppy walk on your left side. Shorten their leash so that they are unable to walk ahead of you but attempt to maintain slack when possible; the goal is to have your puppy walk alongside you without coercion. When your puppy is walking alongside you, praise them and occasionally treat them.
Behaviours Should to Look Out For
Your puppy should not be pulling on the leash. This will create an unpleasant walking experience for both of you. If your puppy is pulling on the leash, DO NOT pull back on the leash. Rather, stand still until your puppy realises that pulling is not getting them anywhere. When your puppy is walking on the leash properly treat them for their good behaviour.
Some puppies do not like walking; they will drag their heels and refuse to budge. In this case, do not be tempted to pull them by the leash. This will only increase their anxiety. Rather, squat down to their level and use your excited voice to call them, use treats or toys to convince them that walking is fun. Again, when your puppy walks on the leash properly, treat them for behaving appropriately.