How soon can I start leash training my new puppy? Even though the walks at first will be short it’s important to start good habits. Puppies can begin leash training when they are teeny tiny. As surprising as it may seem, pups can begin learning leash skills at four to six weeks old.
Learning how to walk on a leash is one of the most important skills you can teach your puppy. Not only does walking your dog provide much needed exercise for your growing puppy, but it will improve overall obedience and responsiveness. The keys to successful leash training are consistency and patience. Remember this in all parts of training your puppy, and you are likely to share many happy walks together.
Be patient. This is the most important part of introducing a puppy to a leash and collar for the first time. No puppy has ever learned to be perfect on a leash in one day. Proper training involves confident, calm, and consistent practice with the dog.
Develop a reward system. The easiest method is rewarding the puppy with small, easily chewable treats. These are tasty rewards for the puppy that are also quick enough to avoid distracting the dog from his training.
Choose a collar and leash. A flat, light collar and light leash are great to begin with and allow your puppy to get accustomed to having something around his neck.
Allow your puppy to get used to the collar. It is not uncommon for puppies to get nervous when attaching a collar for the first time. Some puppies will throw tantrums or try to chew on the collar. Here are some ways to get the collar on your pup:
- Distract the dog. Try putting the collar on while you are playing with him, or while you’re out in the yard.
- Loosen the collar. The collar should be snug around his neck, but not tight to the point where it causes discomfort.
- Follow up with a reward as soon as you get the collar on the puppy.
Introduce the leash. Start training your puppy at home rather than out on a walk so he doesn’t get distracted. The first time you attach a leash, drop your end on the ground and let him run around. Play with the puppy, or introduce him to another dog and let them play while the leash is still dragging around. Pick up the leash occasionally and call the dog to you, offering treats when he comes.
Once your puppy has some success with the collar and leash it’s time to head out on some walks.
Many dogs get extremely excited upon seeing a leash, and will bark, whine, or spin. If this is the case, stand perfectly calm with the leash in hand until he calms down.
Make sure you bring some treats and reward often for good behavior. It’s important for success to stop bad habits from developing by addressing them every time they occur.
If the puppy pulls the leash. As soon as this happens, stop walking and stand still. Don’t yank on the leash, just let the dog know that, when he pulls, he gets nowhere. Call the dog back to you, and give him a treat when he comes. If you consistently and calmly do this every time he pulls, he will quickly learn not to.
If the puppy sits or lays down. When a puppy resists going for a walk, take a few steps away, call him, and offer a treat. Start walking until your puppy resists again, and repeat the process.
With calmness and consistency, the puppy will learn to enjoy walking and being on the leash.
Being consistent is the most important part of any kind of dog training. The dog is eager and happy to learn, all he needs is for you to properly communicate your expectations. When you consistently reward positive behavior and stop bad behavior, the dog will develop good behavior.
Your Move Your Doggie team includes leash training with all our walks. We have had many successes with our furry friends. We also offer tips for our pet parents to continue on their personal walks so the dog has consistent ques.
If you’re struggling with leash training with your puppy, please reach out to Move Your Doggie.
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