Getting Your Puppy Used to Walking With a Leash

There are many things to teach a new puppy but one of the first should be puppy walking with a leash. Walking on a leash not only teaches a dog proper manners when out in public, but also helps establish your dominance over him which is essential when teaching a puppy the rules of the house.

Necessary Puppy Walking Supplies

Here are a few items you will need for your first outing with your puppy;

  • A thick collar that fits your dog (not a choke chain). Make sure it is at least 1/2" wide and when adjusted properly, you should be able to insert your finger under the collar. If there is more than one finger width, you need to tighten to the next level and continue adjusting.
  • A non-retractable leash (no longer than 6'). This will help your puppy be aware of the space between you and him and indicate how much room he is allowed to "roam".
  • A "Gentle Leader" (Optional). This is a harness of types for adolescent or older dogs that fits around the muzzle and prevents him from pulling. Your puppy will probably roll around trying to get it off and you may think he hates it, but it is a very effective and humane tool to use when teaching dogs not to pull.
  • A pocket-full of "high value" treats to use as rewards. Hot dogs that are microwaved until they are hard and cut up into small, bite-sized pieces work good for this purpose.
  • A "Clicker" training tool. This is used when the dog has done something positive and is about to be rewarded.

Puppy Training Process for a Leash

Once you have these items you are ready to walk out the door with your puppy.

  1. Keep the clicker in one hand and the leash in to other at all times during the walk. Your first outing should be very short and perhaps just outside your door. As the puppy gets used to the rules of the walks you can extend the time you are out and the area you cover.
  2. As you begin, carefully observe if the puppy is pulling on the leash. If so, stop and wait for the leash to slacken. Once this happens, click and reward with a treat.
  3. Another behavior you may observe is that the puppy will stop to sit. Simply call him to you and when he comes, click and reward. These are the simple beginnings of getting your puppy familiar with a leash and the proper behavior involved while walking.
  4. Once the typical puppy behaviors of pulling and sitting during a walk are overcome, your puppy will learn that good behavior is rewarded while negative behavior is ignored.