Easy Puppy Leash Training: 6 Basic Tips
Updated: Oct 7
Good leash training lasts a lifetime and will make walks
a pleasure, not a chore!
We have all seen the dogs who missed out on good leash training. Once fully grown and strong, these dogs dominate the walk and drag their hapless owners – and anyone else – behind them completely out of control! While it’s funny to watch, it is dangerous for the walker and the dog!
If you have adopted a puppy recently, start loose leash training immediately and enjoy the benefits throughout your dog’s life no matter how large or strong they get.
Start Training Indoors
Once your new puppy has completed all his vaccines, you can take him out for walks outside. But leash training should not wait until then. In fact, the earlier you begin training, the better! Good leash training sets a firm foundation for all future training.
Training indoors also makes it much easier to get and keep your puppy’s attention and focus without constant distractions. In addition, there is no risk of the puppy slipping away and getting hurt.
So, let’s start training good leash manners to your new puppy below. Always include the entire family too!
Puppy Leash Training: 6 Basic Tips
1. Choose a collar
Use a flat and light collar for a puppy. Calmly introduce the collar to the puppy, letting him sniff it and then wear it for short periods. Make these introductions fun and rewarding!
· Do NOT use a choke or prong collar on a puppy.
2. Choose a leash
Use a light leash 4-6 feet long (for better control). Once your puppy has adjusted to his collar, attach the leash and drop the other end to let him get used to the leash. Again, make this introduction fun and rewarding to avoid unnecessary fears from developing.
· Do NOT use a retractable leash for training.
A slip leash or harness can also be used instead of a collar and leash. Only use no-pull harnesses to discourage your pup from pulling.
Your puppy wants to please you, so use lots of patience and positive reinforcement! If you are having a bad day or don’t have enough time to patiently teach your pup, wait until another time. Yanking, pulling, dragging and yelling will not teach your dog what you want. It may inadvertently teach him to be afraid or skittish around you.
Always train and reward consistently and positively. Address and discourage unwanted behavior every time it occurs to stop the creation of bad habits. Inconsistency sets your puppy up for failure if sometimes he can get away with bad behavior. Patience, consistency and positivity will help your puppy learn easier and faster while looking up to you as the leader he wants to follow.
Calmness is another critical piece of effective training. We all know dogs who go crazy when they see their leash! Non-stop barking, whining and even spinning around, ready to explode with excitement. Never encourage this behavior. First, calm yourself and then ask your dog to sit and calmly wait before all walks. This simple request sets the tone for the walk that follows.
6. Reward, Reward, REWARD!
Always use positive reinforcement with a happy, excited voice. Small, irresistible treats are great rewards for a dog who is motivated by food. But if your puppy is not food-motivated, try using a game of fetch, tug-of-war or playing with a favorite toy as his unique form of positive reinforcement. Find what works best for your pup when it comes to a high- value reward to make training easier and more fun for your dog.
Finding it difficult to teach your puppy good leash etiquette?
Reach out to a local dog professional for expert help.
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Hill’s Pet: How to Leash Train a Puppy
The Spruce Pets: How to Leash Train Your Puppy
Positively: Victoria Stilwell: Loose Leash Walking