Leash training a puppy may seem like a daunting experience at first but it is really not difficult. Dogs and puppies become naturally adjusted to the leash quite quickly. Still, as with any sort of training it is important to start young especially because we will have to walk our dog on a leash sooner or later. A daily walk is also a necessity for every dog, at the least for mental stimulation.
You will quickly see that going outside for a walk becomes the joy and highlight of any dogs day as they really enjoy being outdoors, with you. Below are some tips on how to get your pup comfortable with their new leash and collar.
How To: Leash Training
As with any training, persistence, consistency, and calm assertiveness are your ultimate keys to success. You need to repeat the experience so pup can get use to it. Always be consistent in your behavior and expectations when training, and always be calm and assertive. For a more detailed look at how to get a pup comfortable, here is how:
1. Wait till both you and your dog are calm before you put on the collar or harness. Give your pup time to adjust to the collar or harness without the leash. They may act annoyed and try to get it off at first but will calm down if you give it a little time.
2. When your pup is calm you can attach the leash. Allow them to struggle if they do, again, just wait it out before you start moving.
3. If your pup does not naturally follow you out the door, you can use a treat to lure them to follow you out, or pick them up and carrying them out.
4. The natural curiousity of the outdoors will be your benefit, as your pup will likely forget about the leash, becoming distracted by the surroundings.
5. Start walking, calling your pup to follow you, and keep a steady pace. If you keep them focused on walking, they will forge about the leash and harness/collar they are wearing.
6. Remain calm, because as you walk in a new environment, your pup might be dealing with newfound anxiety of new sights and sounds (like that of loud traffic), as well as being on the leash.
7. Eventually they will get use to the leash and recognize it means they are going outside, getting excited and happy at the sight.
What is Proper Leash Etiquette
How you choose to walk your dog, specifically their positioning, is entirely up to you. It is often recommended that you do not allow a dog to walk ahead of you, however, because this can lead to pulling. Asking a dog to walk beside us or behind us is also a way for a human to maintain and establish themselves as pack leader. You must be the pack the leader in order to have a calm, friendly dog, which is what you want if you come across other humans or dogs on your walk.
How to Train a Dog to Walk Beside or Behind
In order to prevent or deal with a dog that pulls, you must ask your dog to walk beside you or behind you, at all times. If you do not consistently ask them to walk behind or beside you, they will test you more often by not doing it.
To train a dog to walk beside you:
1. Correct them anytime they try to walk ahead of you by pulling them back to being beside you. It helps to have a short leash for this training.
2. Release the tension immediately when they are beside you.
3. If they pull again, repeat the process, making sure to release the tension so they know that when they are beside you, they do not feel the pull, which makes it more comfortable for them.
4. If you are dealing with a dog who has a bad habit of pulling already, it may help to walk them and reduce their energy. Then take some time to repeat the process of pulling them beside you, and releasing tension.
Eventually, after the first or second walk, you may want to teach your dog to sit, calmly, before you attach the leash. You will want to start this as soon as they learn the sit command. It is easier to put a leash on a dog who is sitting waiting in front of you rather than bouncing around excitedly.
If you are worried about taking your puppy out if it is not vaccinated, then consider practicing in your own back yard or in the house. Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work that well though. The newness of the outdoors and what can be discovered is the ultimate positive association. It will entice your puppy to forget being annoyed and ultimately look forward to wearing the leash.
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