Leash Training: When and How Should I Begin?

Poodle on a LeashWalking on a leash is a skill all dogs should learn. Teaching yours to behave on a leash is much easier when they are young, so begin training early so you and your pet can enjoy outings together!

Before introducing your new puppy to a leash, they should be comfortable wearing a collar. Choose a flat, lightweight option that clips on. Your puppy’s collar should be snug – but not too snug. The collar should be loose enough that too fingers can be slipped beneath it. Get your new puppy used to their collar slowly, first accustoming them to it while they are playing or eating. This will allow them to associate their collar with positive actions.

Once your pup has spent time with a collar on and is used to wearing one frequently, introduce the leash. While playing with your puppy, put a short, light leash on them. Let them continue to run and play with the leash dragging behind them so they get used to the feel of it.
When you first begin holding your leash, don’t yank on it – even if your puppy does not walk at heel. This takes a lot of practice, and you want your pet to enjoy being on its leash while learning. Practice walking around the yard or through the house, teaching your pup to follow you. To do this, just put on the leash and begin walking. Your curious little guy will soon walk in another direction, so when he does, stop and walk in the opposite direction. Praise your pet and give him a treat when he follows and walks beside you.

As you and your puppy gain confidence on the leash, venture out down the street. Be sure to wait until your young pet has had all his shots though. When your pup pulls on the leash, stop until it goes slack. Reward him and keep walking.

Teaching a young puppy to walk on a leash takes a lot of time and most importantly, patience! Visit Cesar’s Way and the ASPCA for more tips and techniques!

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