Puppy Leash Training Tips
Puppy leash training is an important part of your
dog's obedience training. Learning how to walk properly
on leash makes it safer for your pet and more enjoyable
for both of you (ever seen someone fighting to keep
their leashed dog under control, while it drags them
relentlessly down the street? Doesn't look like much
fun...). Remember that cute little balls of fluff are
still very young and their attention span can be short,
so patience is a must when it comes to leash training
your puppy. Positive reinforcement is important
- reward your puppy for every little thing he does
right during your
Of course, before you can get the leash onto your
little puppy, you'll need to get a collar on him! Some
puppies won't seem to mind the collar at all, while
others will fight it. Try to distract your pup with
food or toys so that he's not thinking about the
collar. Give him time to get used to it - wearing
something around his neck is bound to feel weird at
first. Take off the collar once in a while, but only
when he's not fighting it (otherwise you are rewarding him for
fighting the collar; he'll think that scratching / biting / pawing
at the collar will result in the collar being removed).
Once your puppy is accustomed to the collar,
you can begin attaching the leash. Again, some
puppies don't appear to notice the leash much,
while others will initially fight it. Here are
a few tips on helping your pup accept the leash:
- Use a long leash initially. It will give you the
freedom to drop the leash and not have to panic /
chase your pup if he starts to run (you can just
step on it if need be). Switch to a normal length
leash once you begin the real training.
- If possible, find a nice safe space where you
can introduce him to the leash. A fenced area is
preferable, but at least somewhere that there isn't
a risk of your puppy running into traffic.
- To get started, attach the leash but don't hold
it. Let your puppy sniff at it and drag it around.
- Don't engage in a game of 'tug' with your puppy.
Some puppies will try to grab the leash and play
tug-of-war with you. Simply drop the leash.
If he likes to tug on something bring along an
appropriate toy - allow him to romp with his toy
instead of grabbing the leash.
If your pup likes to carry the leash you might
decide it's okay so long as he doesn't chew it...
or instead, substitute something else like a stick
or a toy that he can carry with him on walks.
- Eventually you'll need to pick up the leash.
Keep it slack (unless, of course, you need to pull
your dog away from a dangerous situation). Bounce
a couple of short feet away and use a high, happy
voice to encourage your pup to come towards you.
You can use a squeaky toy or treats too if it helps.
Make it fun for your puppy to come to you. Keep
repeating this, making it into a game.
Try to keep the leash slack unless need be.
People instinctively tighten their grip on the leash
if a puppy pulls, but this tends to tighten the leash
and makes the puppy fight it more. So keep it loose.
- Follow your pup around sometimes, and at other
times, make it fun for him to follow you. Don't try
to pull him in the direction you want him to go.
Encourage your pup with body language, rewards,
praise, and the tone of your voice.
- If your puppy tries to pull you around, simply
stop in your tracks. Don't move, don't do anything,
just stand there. Your pup will learn that pulling
gets him nowhere. Once he senses that he can't pull
you, immediately bounce away and entice your pup to
follow you again. Make it fun!
Above all, be patience and consistent. Your young
dog will learn that it's fun to go out with you, and
that the leash isn't anything to worry about. Make
leash training a positive and fun experience for your
puppy and he'll be eagerly awaiting your next outing!