Teaching your puppy how to walk on a leash is one of the first training lessons you should give your pup. This lifelong skill will make your dog more manageable, easier to walk and safer when leaving the home. Best of all, walking your pup will be a positive experience that the both of you will enjoy, leading to more exercise, fresh air and playtime. The good news is that training a puppy to walk on a leash is much easier than training an adult dog, so the best time is to start now.
The first step to leash training is to put a comfortable collar on your pup. It should be lightweight and as unique as you want it to be, just know that it probably won’t be his best friend in the beginning. He may try to roll around and take it off, so provide some distraction when you put the collar on such as by feeding him or playing with him. Some owners choose to leave the collar on long term, while others take it off when indoors. If you choose to take the collar off, do so when your pet has calmed down and isn’t trying to take it off.
Once your pup has become more comfortable with the collar, introduce the leash. You can use any lightweight leash for this task and buy a sturdier one down the line. Gently clip the leash onto the collar and let your puppy run around the house with it on. She’ll forget about it after awhile and be comfortable with both the collar and the leash in no time.
Now it’s time to start teaching your pup how to walk on a leash. Inside the home, pick up one end of the leash and walk around the house where he is comfortable. When he walks next to you, praise him with positive encouragement, a pat on the head or a small treat. If he starts pulling on the leash, stop. Make sure you don’t pull him back to you, as this could hurt your puppy. Don’t continue walking either, as this will only reward him for pulling at the leash.
The goal is to show your puppy that when she walks alongside you, she gets positive praise and a treat. When she stops walking, pulls or sits, there is no reward. The best thing to do if your pet tries to yank at the leash is to tell her to come and reward her when she does. Fortunately, consistency will help your young pup learn how to properly walk on a leash, coupled with short but frequent training sessions.