Did you know you can begin leash training your puppy as early as seven to eight weeks old? It’s true!
If you plan to start puppy training at this point, be sure you stay inside, at least until they have all their vaccinations. This will keep them safe from potential diseases from other dogs.
However, when you are ready to begin training a puppy to walk on a leash, you may need a few tips. After all, the naturally curious nature of puppies can make the process frustrating if you don’t know what to do.
Here, you can find several tips on how to leash-train your puppy successfully.
1. Introduce the Harness and Leash
Don’t gear up your pup to start leash training immediately. Instead, introduce the harness and leash and let them get used to it.
The first step is to put them in the harness and get used to it. Once they are accustomed to the harness, add the leash. Just allow your puppy to drag the leash around your house for a while.
You can hold the leash and let your puppy follow you around, too.
Doing this lets the puppy know that when they see the harness and leash, you get to be together. This will create a positive association that will ensure they don’t fear or mind the harness and leash.
2. Start Walking Using Small Steps
When it comes to puppy training, you should go slow. Give your pup time to get accustomed to the harness and leash before you work on walking with it.
As mentioned above, you should begin indoors and limit distractions. The goal is to show your puppy that if they walk with you, they will get a reward rather than letting them get frustrated by reaching the end of the leash repeatedly.
Attach the leash and give your puppy treats for staying close to you. Take small steps away and give them another treat when your puppy comes to you.
You may want to use a marker sound or word to let them know that they get a treat each time they come to you.
The goal at this stage is to keep your dog close to you while walking.
3. Practice Walking in Different Environments
Once your puppy follows you on the leash, move to a new, distracting area. This is called “proofing” and ensures they will continue the desired behavior despite distractions.
If your puppy goes potty in your backyard, use trips for potty breaks (find more on potty training here) to practice your walking skills.
It is important that you do not try to “level up” too quickly. Never go from inside, to the backyard, to a busy street. Build up the number of distractions until your puppy is walking politely in all environments.
Leash Training Your Puppy Requires Time, Effort, and Patience
Don’t get too frustrated with your puppy if they don’t seem to get the concept at first. This is a process that can take time and patience.
The key is to remain consistent when leash training your pup, and you will see results.