Teaching your dog to walk on the leash is very important, even if you have a big yard. Once your puppy learns how to walk calmly by your side, it will give him more freedom to explore a world that’s much larger than your backyard.
Many tiny puppies grow up to be large dogs, and leash training an older dog isn’t as easy, especially if the dog weighs more than his owner. If you’re wondering what age to start leash training a puppy, you should know that walking a grown dog that doesn’t behave well on the leash can be very dangerous for both owner and pet. If you don’t control your dog, he may run into traffic, or you may end up getting tripped over and hurt. You should teach the puppy to walk on a leash as soon as possible.
Dogs don’t know how to walk on the leash by instinct. Their instinct is to pull back or stop when you pull on the leash, so it’s no surprise so many people wonder how to leash train a dog that won’t walk.
In this article, we’ll explain the easiest way to leash train your puppy.
Start With the Essentials
First thing’s first. Buy a collar and a leash for your puppy. With so many different types on the market today, it may be a tough choice to make. Not every lead or collar will suit every dog. You need to choose the essentials according to the specific needs of your pup. If your dog pulls when you try to teach him how to walk on the leash, using a harness instead of a neck collar may be worth considering.
Let The Puppy Get Accustomed To The Collar and Lead
Your puppy has to get used to the feeling of a collar around his neck, and he also needs to accept the leash. Start by putting the collar on and leaving it on the puppy’s neck while you play with him around the house and treat him with his favorite snacks. It will help the puppy to associate the collar with tasty food and fun times.
Introduce a Cue
Think of a sound cue that can be associated with “food is on the way” and introduce it to your puppy. Some owners use clickers and treats and it’s often a very effective method. Every time you click or make your sound of choice, give your pup a treat. Soon enough, the puppy will associate the sound of the clicker with food, and whenever you click during the walk, you’ll have your pup’s attention.
The Dog Should Come to You
You shouldn’t drag your puppy or pull on the leash to make him walk. Remember, his instinct will only make him stop or pull back. If you’re wondering how to get a scared dog to walk on the leash, you should know that the easiest way is to make your dog come to you. Put the collar and leash on and call your puppy to come to you. When they do, reward them with a snack. Continue to walk and keep calling him, all the while rewarding him when he does what you ask.
Now that you’ve taught your puppy how to come to you, you should start practicing walking for a little bit around the room. As you walk, make sure to distract your puppy with treats. The leash and collar shouldn’t be a distraction to him, and his focus should be on something else. Keep praising and rewarding your puppy as he keeps coming to you and following you.
When you feel you’re ready, take the whole game outdoors. There will be many new challenges once you go outside, so don’t expect your pup to behave the same way he did in the house. All the new sights smell, and sounds your pup experiences will be new and exciting to him. Remember to be patient and keep those first walks fairly short. While you are out walking, if your puppy starts pulling or looks like he’s about to run toward something, make your cue sound and take a few steps back, then reward the puppy with a treat when he follows you.
New Encounters During the Walk
Once your puppy starts walking on the leash, you have to make sure he’s had all puppy vaccinations before taking him outside. You will encounter other dogs, and some of them may be carrying dangerous pathogens that can devastate your puppy’s health unless he’s vaccinated.
Walking your puppy is often going to be calm and relaxing, but it won’t always be plain sailing. Dogs are natural explorers, and they love meeting other dogs and animals more than anything. Socialization is crucial for the mental development of your puppy, and you should teach him early on how to behave in situations that include other dogs. When your puppy encounters another dog, your sound cues may not work, so you shouldn’t set your expectations high in the beginning.
You need to teach your dog that focusing on you is worth it, so your regular treats may not do the trick. Bring his favorite toy or something that your puppy always enjoys eating. If you are still not sure how to teach your puppy to walk, you may consider consulting with a professional pet sitter.
Bonus hint: Slices of meat have always worked better than dog biscuits.