Bringing a puppy into the family fold can be an exciting time in your life. But there are so many things you need to know when it comes to raising a puppy, ranging from food to medication.
If you have any questions about properly caring for and raising a puppy, you can take a look at WalkiesandWhiskers.com for some helpful information.
Yet there’s one very important thing you must focus on: teaching your puppy to walk on a leash. Without this training, you will be unable to take your puppy outside your home.
Many people think that dogs have the innate knowledge of how to walk on a leash. However, this is completely false, and you must teach your puppy this valuable skill.
Training Your Puppy to Walk on a Leash
There are a couple of major steps you must take to successfully train your puppy to walk on a leash. We have outlined these below for your convenience.
- Introduce the Leash, Harness, or Collar
To effectively teach a puppy to walk on a leash, you must begin by letting them familiarize themselves with the equipment. We’d recommend allowing your puppy to wear these items for periods in your home while you are caring for them and giving them treats.
By associating positive things with these items, you are encouraging your puppy to like leash and collar (or harness) time as it represents fun and food.
- Create Positive Associations
You should then focus on giving your puppy a cue that indicates that food is about to be served. This may be a word such as “food,” and “look”, or a specific noise that you make such as clicking your tongue. It doesn’t matter which of these you settle on.
When you are teaching your puppy to walk on a leash, use this same noise to attract their attention. Ensuring that they do this is essential when it comes to taking your puppy for a walk otherwise there’s a chance they may start to run around or pull on the leash.
Once you have done this, reward them with a treat of their choice. Eventually, your puppy will not only acknowledge you but will walk to where you are to receive their reward.
- Make Them Come to You
While your puppy is on the way to you inside your home, wearing its collar and leash, continue to back up, and then provide a reward when they make it to your location. It might seem a bit counterintuitive but it’s a great way to encourage movement without any pulling!
Continue to mark, reinforce, and praise your puppy so that they learn that traveling toward you is a positive thing. Keep doing this until your puppy can walk to you without any issues when you call them, and reinforce the behavior with treats.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Once your puppy has mastered the art of coming to you when you call them without the risk of running away, you must practice the skill to make it better.
One key skill you may want to practice is throwing a treat a few steps away from you while your puppy is wearing their leash and collar. Once the treat has been eaten and they turn back to face you, use the noise or word you have previously trained them with and reinforce the behavior when they begin moving toward you.
- Move Outdoors
You also need to move the indoor leash training you have done outside.
Try to find a location with minimal distractions such as your garage or your backyard. Practice by walking a couple of steps at a time and then stopping every so often and asking your puppy for attention.
The key here is never to rush your puppy. Go at the pace that they are setting. Baby steps are better than no steps at all!
- Increase the Distance
Start to introduce your puppy to training in your local area. Try going a couple of houses down from your own and then work on further distances to get your puppy used to the process of going for a walk.
Teaching your puppy to walk on a leash is all about having patience with their progress. They are not born with the innate ability to go for a walk and require gentle encouragement to do so. As long as you somewhat follow the steps above, you’ll be walking your puppy in no time at all.