Leash Training My Puppy: Introduction To The Leash 10/06/10
If you want to teach your puppy to walk properly on the leash then this is the article for you. I will run through how to get your puppy comfortable with the leash and deal with leash biting.
- Leash Training My Puppy: Introduction To The Leash
- Leash Training Your Puppy: Stopping My Puppy Pulling
- Leash Training Your Puppy: Training My Puppy To Walk To Heel
- Leash Training Your Puppy: Helping My Puppy Overcome Fears On The Leash
- Leash Training Your Puppy: What Kind of Collar Should I Buy?
- Leash Training Your Puppy: Training My Puppy On A Headcollar
Here you will learn how to teach your puppy to be happy wearing the leash and not view it as a negative piece of equipment but as something that leads to fun. You will also learn how to keep your puppy calm when you produce the leash, which can be a major problem for many dog owners. The presentation of the leash should not cause too much excitement but a puppy or dog who has as happy and relaxed attitude to walking.
Puppies can struggle with the early stages of leash training and this is a fairly common problem, especially in young puppies who have not become accustomed to the lead or who are fearful when out in the big bad world. If your puppy is not trained to walk on the leash then they are likely to refuse to walk when restrained. This can manifest into tugging on you or the leash like it’s a toy, stopping and lying down or generally being skittish. You need to train your puppy in the basic manners of leash walking.
Presenting the Leash
When you take the leash over towards your puppy make sure that you have a treat in your other hand. Ask your puppy to sit before clipping on the leash, whilst feeding a treat with your free hand. Be consistent every time you do this and soon enough you will produce the leash and your puppy will automatically sit as the leash itself becomes the cue as opposed to you even having to ask for it. For example the puppy sees the leash in your hand and because you have been consistent and always asked your puppy to sit followed by a treat, they will actually view the leash as the connection to the action. This means you puppy will not be jumping all over you excitedly when you produce the leash. If your puppy refuses to sit due to being excitable then simply put the leash behind you back and wait patiently for your puppy to calm down and respond. If you don’t get the response that you were asking for then your puppy does not get the reward, the reward here being a treat or a walk. You cannot make exceptions to this rule as your puppy will soon discover you are inconsistent and they will then become inconsistent to their response to you. This doesn’t mean that you don’t walk your puppy that day simply that they will have to wait another five minutes until you present the leash again.
Light Puppy Leash
When you first get your puppy or if you are solving an existing walking problem, attach an extremely light puppy leash and allow it to trail whilst they potter around the house. Keep it attached whilst you feed them and calmly stroke them to build up a positive association. Remember you must supervise your puppy when doing this as leashes can catch on furniture which may cause injury or distress.
Once you are happy your puppy is not fazed by the leash you can begin training by holding the leash in your home or garden. To get started firmly grip the treat in your fingers with enough poking out to allow your puppy to smell and lick at. Now you have your puppy sniffing at the treat (you want an almost magnetic effect), use the treat in a semi circular motion to guide your puppy around to your left hand side. Begin walking keeping your hand low (this stops jumping up), when your puppy is walking on a loose leash say ‘good’ and dispense a treat. After ten steps stop and have a game or make a fuss of your dog, keep it short and sweet. Extend this to twenty steps and so on until you can walk for a good five minutes without a halt.
Progressing the behaviour
If your puppy bites on the leash use the leave it cue. You can use this and give them a treat when they release the leash. Once your puppy is being responsive, practice the training sessions in many different locations when you are out and about. You are now ready to progress to teaching the ‘heel’ command and reducing the treats, which is covered in part 3 of this series. If you are struggling with your puppy pulling you on the leash then part 2 will give you the answers you are looking for.