When getting a puppy, the main thing new owners want to learn is how to train their puppy to walk on a leash. It is challenging, and while some dogs are quick to learn, others take time. It is crucial then that you stay patient. There are different steps required when teaching your puppy to walk on a leash so that both you and your puppy can have a positive experience when out on a walk.
Positive reinforcement will be mentioned a lot when training your puppy to walk on a leash. You might be wondering what positive reinforcement is? Positive reinforcement is rewarding and praising your dog for their good behavior, encouraging them to continue it, and preventing them from picking up bad habits. You can positively reinforce your puppy by giving them something they like, with treats being the most obvious choice. You could use play time as a positive reinforcement tool to promote good behavior. It is essential to ensure your puppy develops good habits to stop them from pulling, which will make walking more enjoyable for both puppy and owner. Reward your puppy often in the beginning to establish good behaviors.
Introduce The Harness/Collar
The first, and probably most important, step when training your puppy to walk on a leash is to introduce them to their collar/harness before taking them out on a walk. Place the collar or harness on your puppy for short periods of time each day leading up to your first outing. This ensures they associate it with positive feelings (so more positive reinforcement). If you are looking for a dog harness or collar, make sure you choose a high-quality and comfortable harness and collar for your dog. The good folk at Voyager Harness offer such quality items. By positively reinforcing your puppy when they are wearing the harness or collar, they will become keen to wear it again, which makes preparation for walks and the walk itself easier.
Get Them Used to The Leash
Now it’s time to introduce the leash to your puppy. Add the leash to the puppy’s harness or collar and reward them with treats to once again positively reinforce the use of the leash so they identify it with good feelings. Walk your puppy around the house and garden to allow them to get used to the feeling of the leash and make sure they are comfortable. Make sure your puppy knows you’re in charge when going out on walks. When they pull on the lead, simply stop in place until they realize they shouldn’t pull. Once they have stopped, positively reinforce this good behavior. Continue to practice this with your puppy around the house until it is time to go out and take them on their first walk.
Take Them on A Walk
Make sure your puppy has had all the required vaccinations before taking them outside. Take your puppy out to a quiet environment where they can discover the outdoors. They may become excited and overwhelmed by the new smells and sounds; however, it is important that you stay patient as this will eventually stop the more you and your puppy go out on walks. In the beginning, keep your walks brief so they can adjust to the entire experience. Make sure you remember to bring treats or something that will positively reinforce your puppy’s behavior.
Taking your puppy out on a walk can be challenging in the beginning, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort to train them then it will be a positive experience for all involved. Remember to positively reinforce good behaviors and ignore the negative ones to establish a good walking routine.