Five Top Tips: How to Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash
Being able to walk your dog on a leash is one of the essential training elements for keeping them safe. This is especially important if you live in a busy, urban areas with plenty of traffic, people, and other dogs. It is also important in some countryside spots and on beaches where leads are mandatory. Starting to learn lead skills from a puppy really helps. Here are our five tops tips for training a puppy to walk on a leash.
If you are welcoming a puppy into your home, there is often the ‘pre-vaccine’ phase where they can’t walk outside. This is why puppy proofing your house is so important. This is the perfect time to start learning their lead skills. Get them used to wearing a collar or harness first, then begin to practise walking your dog inside. This way, you can get your puppy used to the sensation of being on a lead, without having to worry about anything going wrong. Just calmly walk your puppy around the house and get them ready for the idea of being on the lead. Give lots of praise for your puppy moving with you and make it fun by using an excited voice, and perhaps rewarding with treats. Use the opportunity to work on recall too- getting puppy used to responding to their name is a vital skill.
2.Choose the right kit
Getting the right kit for your puppy is important. For a start, you need to decide whether to get a harness or a regular collar and lead – this will depend on how powerful your dog will become. Nervous dogs sometimes prefer a harness to avoid pressure on their neck. Whatever you decide, from there, you will need to purchase all of the other dog walking essentials you need, the all important poo bags (get used to always having these in your pockets!), treats, and toys. Build familiarity with all of these things in the home, alongside recall training, before you take to outdoors.
3. Train your puppy to come with you
The next step is training your puppy to come with you. Initially, when training your puppy, you might find that they pull on the lead to head off in the direction they want. But by training your dog to heel with patience – and plenty of treats! – you should soon find that they obediently follow you. You are on your way to training your puppy to walk in a leash!
4. Loose-leash walking
The next step is to practise loose-leash walking in your garden. This is where you calmly walk with a loose lead to see if your dog will follow. Ideally, they’ll hurry along by your side. If they’re still pulling in another direction you might need to train a little more before heading outside. Always make the training fun and rewarding for your puppy.
5. Introduce leash walking outside
Once you’re confident that your puppy understands the lead, you can introduce walking outside. Be cautious at first: go on short walks and introduce your puppy to other dogs, sights and smells carefully. By incrementally increasing the length of walks you go on, your puppy will soon get used to being outside and walking on their leash. Remember that this is a new and perhaps scary world for your puppy, so give plenty of praise and reassurance.
How long will it take to train a puppy to walk on a leash?
Training your puppy to walk on the lead is an essential skill but it takes time and it can be stressful trying to train them. How quickly they learn is very variable and the training needs to continue well into adulthood for them. Nevertheless, with consistency, positivity, and patience, you will soon be enjoy your walks outside together.
Reluctant walker? See our top tip here.