Your puppy is not a domesticated animal until it learns basic obedience training. Without proper training, it will be chaotic in any home–relieving itself anywhere, chewing on your personal belongings, and more. Basic obedience training is necessary for everyone in the home to be happy, and that includes teaching your puppy to walk on a leash, so that walks are pleasant and safe. This step-by-step guide on how to walk a puppy will teach it and you the essentials of walking politely.
A well-behaved puppy grows up and becomes a well-behaved adult dog. While it’s adorable when it does cute things when it’s tiny, a big dog can be catastrophic in the home if it is untrained. Keep that in mind when you neglect to correct it when it misbehaves.
The Best Way to Teach Your Puppy How to Walk on a Leash
- Introduce the collar and leash as early as possible. Allow it to become accustomed to wearing both around the house. Reward it with treats so that it loves them and understands that these mean both fun and food.
- Get its attention by clicking your tongue, or use another cue word or sound. As soon as your puppy looks at you, reward him. It won’t be long before he understands exactly what this means–a treat!
- Once he understands the clicking and rewarding, next, make him come to you, of course, still wearing the collar and leash. As he improves, take a few steps back, so he has to walk more to get to you. Praise and reward him.
- Keep practicing indoors, where distractions are minimal — it’s a whole other world outside. Keep offering praise and rewards until he comes to you without hesitation.
- Once he masters the above, take it outside. Keep in mind that there will be endless challenges, from sights, sounds, sights, critters of all kinds, and strange people. That said, keep the first few walks short. There will be many occasions that he’ll become distracted and want to take off, but that’s when your cue sound or word comes in to save the day. As soon as you use your cue, step away from him, and he should follow you. Offer him praise and a treat.
- Always walk your puppy on one side! Be consistent, as this will simplify training.
Note: This is a step-by-step guide on how to teach your puppy to walk on a leash, and by no means should you expect him to learn all this in one day. Remember puppies have very short attention spans, so sessions should be short.
Loose-Leash Walking Tips
No matter what, you’ll experience some issues when teaching your puppy to walk.
Barking At Others
He’ll likely bark at others on his walk, and often, the reason for this behavior is just a result of a lack of mental and physical stimulation.
Be sure your puppy is getting the appropriate amount of exercise and stimulation each day, and continue to provide it throughout its life. Each breed has different physical and mental exercise needs.
Chasing Objects and People
At first, and forever if not properly trained, your dog will likely chase after people, dogs, cars, or what have you. For various reasons, including his own safety, apply the following to correct this behavior:
Get his attention, by using the cue sound and give him a treat. Be vigilant and spot whatever triggers his lunging beforehand. Being proactive will eventually end this dangerous behavior. Of course, breeds of the herding group are more likely to chase after moving objects.
Pulling is another common issue dog owners encounter, and if not nipped in the bud, your cute little puppy will grow into a full-grown adult that will take you for walks (of course, if it is a large dog breed). This behavior is frustrating and can lead to various injuries for dog owners. This is how to teach your dog to stop pulling on the leash:
Stand still. Don’t pull back. Just use all your strength and don’t move. Use your cue sound, and if and when he responds, give him a treat. Eventually, he’ll learn not to pull, but if issues persist, invest in a front-hook harness, for example, which is specifically designed for dogs that pull.
Slowly, the treats will reduce, and you’ll have a well-behaved dog that is a pleasure to go on a brisk walk, a run, or a stroll.