Contrary to popular belief, puppies don’t just learn how to walk on a leash naturally. It’s something they need to be taught over time. Fortunately, dogs are quick learners, and you don’t have to be an expert to train your dog how to walk on a leash. Below is a simple dog leash training program to get you started:
Step 1: Basic Training
Introduce Him to A Collar and Leash
The first thing is to get your little furry friend used to the feeling of having a collar or harness on his neck. Use a slow-burn approach, where you put the collar on him for short periods of time. While at it, make him associate “collar and leash” time with fun, by playing with him and feeding him treats whenever you put the collar on him.
Teach Him Some Cues
Teach your puppy how to respond to particular sound cues when wearing a collar and leash. You may use the click-and-treat method or a phrase like “come” or even clicking your tongue. Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is to train your pup to come over to you whenever you cue him to.
One way to go about it is to have your pup wear a collar and leash then take him to a quiet, distraction free room. While there, move a few yards away from him, and make your preferred cue sound. When he looks at you, respond positively, whether with a word of praise or a treat. Repeat this until he learns to come over to you when you call.
Practice Indoors First Before Taking It Outdoors
Now that your puppy is comfortable with a leash and collar on his neck and knows how to respond to a cue, it’s time to train him to walk alongside you. In a quiet room, take the dog’s leash into your hands and with minimal pressure, pull on it for 5 steps then stop. Give some treats and praise to motivate the pup. Then, repeat the entire process a couple of times.
After several days of walking practice in the house, it’s now time to hit the outdoors. Start by getting your dog to feel comfortable walking around your yard as you hold the leash. Remember to periodically make your cue sound (and reward compliance) while at it. Only take him to the park or the streets when he’s able to walk without getting distracted by various sights and sounds.
Step 2: Dealing With Occurring Problems
It’s safe to say that unless you’re a dog training expert, you will experience some issues in the initial stages of the leash training. Here are a few tips to help you deal with any trouble:
- If your puppy starts pulling in different directions, stand firm without jerking the leash, until he cools down and gets back to you.
- If you’re out in public and you notice your dog is trying to go after something or someone, distract him with a treat or a cue.
- To prevent your puppy from barking at people or other dogs (while on a walk), ensure he gets the recommended exercise for his breed.Oftentimes, the behaviour is caused by lack of proper exercise.
It’s as simple as that!