Before your puppy learns to walk on a leash, you’re going to have to show a little leadership. While some pups get it straight away, others take a little longer. Just remember: patience is the key, as having a collar and lead attached for the first time can be confusing. For personal advice and tips on how to train your puppy to walk on a leash, enrol them in Petbarn’s puppy school where professionals will guide you through all the puppy training basics.
Begin training early
Before you start training and exploring, it’s important your puppy is comfortable with the collar and lead you’ve selected. Introduce these new items to your puppy as soon as they come home. Your puppy is likely to get excited about these new objects, so before putting them on, let your puppy sniff them and wait until the novelty has worn off as you want your puppy to be calm and attentive when you begin training. If you want expert advice on how to choose the best training collar for your new puppy, come into your nearest Petbarn store today.
Start with the collar
Now that your puppy is nice and relaxed around these items, it’s time to attach the collar. You want about a two-finger gap between the collar and your puppy’s neck. Any looser and it might slip off, any tighter and they may feel constricted. Give your puppy a treat and praise them enthusiastically after you’ve put the collar on so they feel positive about this experience. Let your puppy go about with their collar on for a few minutes and then take it off to give them a break. Repeat this process later on in the day and keep building on it, remembering to reward your puppy’s good behaviour each time, until your puppy is comfortable wearing their collar.
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Add the leash
Once your puppy is happy wearing their collar, it’s time to add a leash into the mix. Gently attach your puppy’s lead to their collar and continue to provide treats and praise. If your puppy is not enthusiastic about this new arrangement and tries to drag away, let them, but keep your puppy within eyesight in case they become tangled. By letting the lead drag next to them as they walk around, your puppy will get used to the feeling of a loose lead. Spending more time on the lead will ease the adjustment, and should make your puppy more comfortable with these new accessories.
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Let your puppy lead
Here’s where the fun begins! The trick to puppy lead training is to not drag or force your puppy into walking. Instead, encourage them to walk to you while their lead is attached. If your puppy doesn’t respond, try introducing a tempting snack. Once your puppy becomes familiar with walking to and around you, it’s time to pick up the leash. Your puppy will soon try leading the way! Teach them the rules of the leash: no pressure on the collar means go, while pressure means stop. If your puppy is pulling too eagerly, simply stand still and wait for them to calm. Never yank them back as this may cause stress.
Train in the backyard
If you have a backyard, this is a great place to take your lead training to the next level. Here you can introduce your puppy to walking outdoors but there are minimal distractions compared to the wider world, so your puppy will be focused on following you around. Keep up a string of conversation so your puppy excited to walk next to you.
It’s time to go outside!
Congratulations, your puppy is really in the swing on things now! Make sure that they’ve completed their full vaccination schedule before you take your puppy outside. Remember to take this process slowly. Once you leave the safety of your home, your puppy will be encountering many new things for the first time and they may feel apprehensive. If you have an easily scared puppy, it’s important to socialise them to new people and places.
Take your puppy out for short sessions on the lead at first. You may find that your puppy is a lot more distracted by new sounds and smells than they were when you were practising walking on a lead at home. Check out our article on how to stop your dog from pulling on their lead if you’re experiencing any troubles.
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If you’re after professional support and advice, basic puppy lead training is one of the many topics covered in our fun and interactive puppy school program so enrol your pet today!