Walking on a lead sounds so simple, yet can be such a pain to get right!
There are a few different parts to walking any dog on a lead:
- Getting them used to the lead;
- Walking to heel;
- and behaving on the lead!
Start with the obvious, by getting your puppy used to having a lead on – which is what we will go through in this post.
Getting Your Puppy To Walk On A Lead
We put a collar on all puppies we breed when they are young – so we can identify them easily but also to get them used to wearing one – but make sure your pup is used to wearing a collar before introducing a lead.
Start off small and simple, buy a lightweight puppy lead and show it to them. Let them have a look and a sniff, then they will probably ignore it or try to eat it. Don’t let them chew it or run off with it, or else it will become another toy.
Why a lightweight puppy lead? Because they are light and quiet, meaning your pup will be able to move around easily and the lead won’t clank and bang, which would scare them.
Once you’ve shown them the lead, try clipping it onto the collar, if they seem ok with that, let go of the lead and let them wander around inside with it. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t get caught on anything!
If they get distressed when the lead is attached, wait a few seconds to see if they get used to it and then if they don’t, calmly take the lead off. Don’t tell them off.
Try attaching the lead again, if they react badly take it off and try leaving the lead around the house where they can see it and get used to it. Leaving it on the floor is a good idea.
Try again and if your puppy manages to keep the lead on, praise them and give them a treat.
Once they are used to dragging the lead around, start picking the lead up and following them around. Keep the lead loose, don’t pull them or try to direct them. Let them lead you.
The next stage of getting your puppy used to a lead, is to slowly encourage them to come to you while on the lead, call them and reward them when they come.
Next, try walking a step or two away from them and encourage them to follow, call them or give a gentle tug on the lead to get their attention.
If they are already learning (or know) how to sit on command, start asking them to sit before you clip the lead on – this will help keep them still and calm when you are taking the lead on or off.
Praise and reward them every time they follow you! Make training fun, short, and interesting otherwise they will get bored or grow to hate the lead.
Takeaway Tips For Getting Your Puppy Used To A Lead:
- Keep training sessions short
- Keep things calm but interesting
- Don’t reward behaviour you don’t want
- Get them to sit before taking the lead on or off
- Don’t let them chew or play tug with the lead
- Start with a lightweight puppy lead
- Make sure their collar is comfortable
- Take ‘baby (puppy) steps’ when training