Teaching your puppy to walk with you on a leash is a critical skill that they must learn. Walks will be more fun for both of you when you aren’t being pulled around by a dog or dragging one after you. But getting a dog to walk calmly next to you can be very challenging. This article will unlock the secrets of teaching your puppy to walk correctly on a leash.
Start Right Away
The earlier you can introduce your pup to a leash, the better. Some trainers even recommend letting your puppy drag the leash around the house, just so they can get used to the feeling. However, if you do decide to do that, you’ll want to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get caught on something or tangled up.
When you’re first beginning (the first few days), don’t worry so much about how your dog is walking on the leash. Just get them used to the feel and help them understand that they’re attached to you.
Focus on the Basics
After your dog has adjusted to being on the leash, you’ll want to focus on the basics. Make your dog sit before your walk. Then, give a walk command. Walk slowly and keep your dog on a short leash. If your dog doesn’t want to move, try holding a treat in front of their nose to get them in the spirit.
If your dog is walking well and not pulling much on the leash, stop every 5 to 10 steps to praise your dog and give them a treat. Once your dog begins to understand that concept, increase the distance before giving pats and treats.
Stop right away if your dog begins to pull on the leash. Your dog will learn that pulling stops the walk. Some trainers also recommend stopping the walk if your dog tries to walk ahead of you or behind you.
To stop the walk, we don’t mean that you need to carry your dog home (they may take that as a positive!) Instead, command them to sit and once you have their attention, give them the walk command again.
Whether you’re working with a young puppy who is full of energy or a rescue dog who may have already developed bad habits (or may have never been on a leash), you’ll need to keep calm and patient. The process may take longer, but it is never too late to leash train a dog.
Get Help From a Dog Trainer
If you’re finding it especially difficult to train your dog on a leash, consider seeking the advice of an expert dog trainer. Canine College has expert dog trainers and can teach your dog behaviors and commands to help him walk on a leash, as well as give you guidance on how to better support your dog. We offer several group classes, and private one-on-one lessons to help teach your dog leash etiquette and many other important behaviors. Checkout our list of offerings here, and get in touch with us today to sign up!