When you bring in a new puppy into your life, you’ll quickly realize that your puppy may be pulling everywhere on the leash, stopping in the middle of the walk, biting the leash, and it all may all seem like your pup is a bit out of control.
Don’t worry; most owners get concerned, but this is perfectly normal for a young puppy. So if you are ready to begin training puppy to walk on leash, read on as we dive deep into leash walking for puppies!
Why Puppies Pull, Stop, and Bite The Leash.
As dog owners, we may think that puppy’s naturally know how to walk on a leash, but as you’ll quickly learn, that is not the case!
The most important thing we must understand as puppy owners is that puppies have little to no life experience; it’s our job as our puppy’s owners to provide our puppy with that life experience and guide them on how to behave in a given situation.
Knowing that your puppy may be experiencing walking on a leash for the first time is essential in understanding why your puppy may be pulling, biting, or stopping when walking on a leash.
If your pup displays any of these behaviors, have no fear as we go over how to begin training puppy to walk on a leash.
Training Puppy To Walk On Leash
When training puppy to walk on leash, you don’t want to pop on the leash and go on a walk. The first step before even going on a walk with your pup is initially introducing your puppy to the equipment we use to walk your puppy.
Introducing Leash, Harness, and Collar
Now that we understand that we must take the time to introduce our puppy’s to the equipment they’ll be wearing, here’s how to do so;
- have some treats handy
- have the collar harness present so your pup can see the equipment
- reward your puppy around the equipment
- begin putting the equipment on your puppy while rewarding your pup
- Once the equipment is on your puppy, have him walk around while rewarding your puppy
- Attach the leash to the harness
- let your pup drag the leash and reward your pup, so your puppy doesn’t focus on the leash
Following the steps above begins getting your puppy comfortable wearing the harness, collar, and having a leash on.
You want to reward heavily, ensuring that your pup is focused on you instead of on the equipment.
repeat this occasionally so that your puppy continues to understand that equipment is “good.”
Teaching Your Puppy To Heel
Now that your pup is comfortable with wearing the harness, collar, and leash, let’s jump into teaching your puppy to walk on a leash.
Luring your pup into the “heel.”
The first thing we want to do is teach your pup what the “heel” position is.
The “heel” position is essentially when your puppy is walking at your heel or behind.
To do this, you want to use your puppy’s treats, lure your puppy into the “heel,” and reward your puppy when he gets into the correct position.
If you guide your puppy into heel position consistently for 7 days, you’ll notice that on the 8th day, your puppy will begin getting into the “heel” position on his own, which is precisely what we want.
Walking In The “heel.”
Once your puppy knows how to get into the “heel,” you can add movement to begin training puppy to walk on leash.
The easiest way to do this is to start by taking one step when your dog is in the heel position and reward your puppy.
Then you go from one step to taking 3, then 5 each time, rewarding your puppy at the “heel” position. From there, you begin extending the time your pup is in the heel position.
Be sure to reward your pup at the heel position. If you reward your puppy in front of you, your puppy will naturally want to walk ahead of you because that’s where the reward is.
As a rule of thumb where ever the reward is produced, your pup will naturally want to stay in that general area.
You may notice that your pup may be great at staying in the heel position with no distraction, but when something interesting arises, your pup may focus on the distraction.
This is perfectly normal. If your puppy gets distracted and begins to pull, you want to use some treats and guide your puppy back into the heel position.
You want to stay consistent with this drill. If you let your puppy “get away” with puling once, your pup will begin to test to see if they can pull again.
Stay consistent so that your puppy learns that they have to walk in the “heel” position regardless of the distractions present.
Here’s how to handle potential issues that may arise when working on these drills
If your puppy bites on the leash, the first thing you want to avoid is pulling back on the leash.
Pulling back on the leash is rewarding for your puppy; it’s a game of tug of war!
Instead of tugging back on the leash, hold the leash still close to your puppy’s mouth. What this does is take the “fun” out of pulling and biting on the leash.
You then want to use one of our puppy’s toys to play tug of war with your puppy. Doing this begins teaching your puppy to bite his toys instead of the leash.
When training puppy to walk on leash If at any time your puppy barks on leash, you first want to see what your puppy is barking at. Once you know what your puppy is barking at, interrupt your puppy’s barking by using the treats to guide your puppy into the heel.
If you notice that your puppy is barking because he feels uncomfortable with something in the environment, reward your puppy around what’s making them uncomfortable.
Ex; puppy barks at a fire hydrant, reward puppy around a fire hydrant, and then let puppy explore the fire hydrant.
Training puppy to walk on leash takes a bit of time, patience, and consistency, but as long as you stick to the plan, you’ll notice that your puppy will have no issues walking on a leash!
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!