Learn all the tips for leash training a puppy, and have your questions answered in this guide for new puppy owners.
Do you have a new puppy that’s resistant to walking on a leash?
Many people assume that puppies will innately know how to walk on a leash, but it’s actually a skill that must be taught and encouraged.
How to Leash Train a Puppy
Introduce Your Puppy To The Leash And Collar
Start off by showing your puppy the leash and collar.
They may not know what’s going on yet, or what’s to come, but this gives them the chance to familiarize themselves with the leash training tools. Allow them to smell the leash until they’re ready to move on to something new.
Then, put the collar and leash on and let them get a feel for it for short periods of time in the house.
Let them play and do their regular activities with them on.
This also allows them to make the connection that leash and collars are associated with fun time!
Let them play and eat with the leash dragging with them, safely of course.
Start Off By Leash Training Your Puppy In The House
Teach a cue that your puppy associates with getting a treat.
Once they get the hang of coming to you when you give them the cue (this could be clicking your tongue, saying “here,” or “come), you’re ready to start your practice inside.
Keep your treats handy, even when you think they understand the command.
Practice taking a few steps at a time, doing the cue, and rewarding.
Remember to keep the sessions short, as puppies don’t have great attention spans, and you don’t want them to associate leash time with rules and drawn-out sessions.
Once your puppy has the hang of walking a few steps at a time with you indoors, it’s time to take their new skill outside! Immediately you will notice that this brings a ton of new challenges.
Most notably, you will no longer hold their attention as well with all of the new and interesting things to explore outside.
Puppies want to smell everything and interact with other people and pets.
Because of this, keep your first few walks short, and try to pick a spot that has little distractions.
How To Teach A Puppy To Walk On A Leash Without Pulling
When you can’t figure out what to do when your puppy pulls during leash training, try this trick: turn yourself into a “tree.”
Whenever your puppy pulls, simply stop walking and stand still.
Remember not to pull or drag the leash.
Simply make yourself an immovable force and let your puppy finish their pulling until they’re bored or tired of trying.
You may also decide to use a harness instead of a regular collar if this becomes a consistent pattern for your puppy, so they don’t injure themselves or slip free.
Praise Positive Behavior
Instead of focusing on the bad behavior, praise your puppy every time they come or walk at your side.
Keep those treats coming!
Keep The Leash Short
Especially at the beginning of your leash training, try to keep the leash nice and short.
This simply gets them in the habit of walking close to your side, and will soon become a habit, even when the leash is loosened.
What To Do When Your Puppy Bites The Leash
Leash training a puppy that bites the leash is a problem in and of itself.
While it’s a different issue than tugging or lunging, the tactics we use to address the bad behavior and still pretty similar.
Remember to praise good behavior.
Any time the leash is in front of their face and they don’t bite, give your puppy a treat.
You might also try bringing an alternative chew toy with you on your walks to offer your puppy so they understand what they can chew on.
As with all forms of puppy training, patience is key.
In the meantime, you might consider purchasing a heavy-duty leash, like this one.
When Your Puppy Won’t Stop Pulling
Leash training a puppy that pulls, even when you make yourself a “tree,” can be frustrating for new pet owners.
More often than not, it’s simply because your puppy wants to continue exploring things all around them.
When the problem persists, try redirecting their attention with a treat when you think the pulling or lunging is about to happen.
What To Do When Your Puppy Barks At Everything On Walks
According to the American Kennel Club, barking can be a sign of lack of exercise.
Making sure your puppy or dog gets the proper amount of mental and physical stimulation for their age can help tremendously with barking.
When Should You Start Leash Training A Puppy?
You can start leash training your puppy as soon as you bring them home!
Most puppies will remain with their mothers until about 12 weeks old, but you can start teaching basic principles beforehand.
The sooner you begin, the better, but remember, your puppy should have their shots before walking outside to protect them from viruses.
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How Long Does It Take To Leash Train A Puppy?
The general consensus is that it takes about4-6 weeks to leash train a puppy, given that the tactics being used are consistent and positive, and you started at a young enough age.
Remember that puppies under 5 months old will lack self-control and attention, so be patient and persistent with your training.
And, as always, all puppies are unique and are on their own path to successful training.
Can You Leash Train An Older Dog?
Leash training an older dog can take a bit longer, but remember, it’s never too late.
You can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks. It will no doubt take patience and time but will be worth the effort.
Older dogs can also benefit from training classes if your efforts are not working.
Should A Puppy Wear A Collar All The Time?
It’s important to keep collars on our pets, should they get lost or escape.
There’s nothing worse for a pet owner than having their dog get out of their backyard with no way for people to call them.
Thankfully, we now have chips so your furry friend will likely make their way back to you once it’s checked.
But, collars with your information usually make for a faster return.
If your puppy is displeased about wearing their collar, check out this article to learn how to get your puppy used to it.
What troubles are you facing while leash training your puppy? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to help!