One of the perks of owning a dog is the long walks across the park or around the neighborhood. However, new dog owners may be surprised that attaching a leash to your puppy’s collar does not guarantee they will walk.
So, how do you teach a puppy to walk on a leash?
When I first got my new puppy, I was so excited about the adventures we would go on together. I could not wait to walk her around the block as I go for my morning and evening jogs.
For the first few months, I let her roam freely around the house and the back yard so that she could get used to her new home. When I decided to take her to the park, it is safe to say she did not have it.
From relentless barking and snarling to biting and grabbing, she was not happy about her new leash. Sooner than later, I realized I had to take my time and teach her how to walk on a leash.
Here are some few tips I came across during our leash training lessons.
Choose a Good quality leash and collar for your puppy
There are numerous types of dog collars and leashes available every where. Preferably, choose a light collar and leash for your puppy.
For instance, buying a flat and nylon collar with a metal buckle, which allows you to fit two fingers, is perfect. It helps in making them feel comfortable and not restrained.
Some dog owners may also prefer lighter to darker colors, depending on their young pup’s preference. Pick an appropriately sized leash for your puppy.
Young pups tend to respond better to light material leashes while heavier leather ones are best for larger pups. Avoid getting a retractable leash for young puppies as it rewards jumping up and down.
A 6-foot length leash is enough to provide sufficient freedom to a puppy without the owner losing control.
Slowly Introduce the Collar and Leash
Begin by allowing your puppy to wear the collar and leash in the house for short periods. Play with him and give him treats.
It is beneficial when the puppy associates the leash with playtime and loads of treats.
It is also helpful if you encourage the pup to sniff the collar and leash before putting them on him. Dogs communicate primarily by their sense of smell, so a good sniff may beneficial.
However, do not allow the young pup to chew, bite, or play tug with the leash as it may mistake it for a toy.
Walk your pup on a leash in familiar places and reward good behavior
Walking around areas where the pup is familiar with its atmosphere and smells, such as around the house or backyard. As a result, he will not break off in a dozen directions because of the exciting new smells.
When your dog walks nicely alongside you on a loose leash, also known as heeling, praise him and give him a treat or a favorite toy. Avoid dragging and tugging your pup while on the leash. A dog will naturally pull against a leash if you keep it tight.
Hold the leash with your right hand at the belt buckle level and do not forget not to drag. Praise your pup whenever he sits or stands at your side. It is also vital to have a clear mode of communication with your puppy.
Take him outside
Once your pup learns how to heel and sit on command, he is ready for the outdoor training. Ensure your dog maintains your pace and is always by your side, rather than in front of you.
When dogs walk at the front, they may wander off and smell everything.It also helps when you start practicing changing directions at a young age.
Usually, dogs associate walks with time to relieve themselves. As such, give your puppy time to find and mark his territory where he will be doing his business.
Once you notice he wants to relieve himself, allow him leash room to explore and conduct his business. Upon finishing, praise him with the occasional treat.
However, some dogs may want to relieve themselves multiple times, meaning they might mark various territories. Only reward him for the first time he stops.
As a result, he will learn that he only needs one opportunity to do his business; thus, he will start walking better.
All dogs should learn basic leash skills for purposes of safety and adventure. Walking with your dog on a leash also allows the two of you to bond and build your relationship.
If you have a new puppy, now is the perfect time to teach him how to walk on a leash.