Lead training can feel like a frustrating and often endless endeavour. Regardless, it’s a vital step for every dog to learn, so here are some handy tips on getting your pooch lead-trained in a stress-free and as quick amount of time as possible!
Step 1 – Teach Them Early
The earlier you teach your dog how to walk well on the lead, the easier your life will be. When they’re a puppy around 8 weeks of age, try putting a collar on them for 5 minutes at a time twice a day so they adjust to the sensation. Later, attach a short leash and let them drag it around when they’re playing so they can familiarise themselves with the feeling and weight. Their lead should have positive and rewarding connotations for them, so don’t force a leash onto a dog – they should be showing calm and active interest, and approaching you themselves. Patience is the key!
Now comes the tricky part…
Step 2 – One Step at a Time
Once your puppy is accustomed to the feeling of a collar and leash, it’s time to move onto the next stage. Dogs are natural followers, and if you have asserted yourself properly as their pack leader, they should have begun to follow you around already. However, in the outside world this isn’t enough, and we require the physical lead in order to keep them safe.
Always begin a walk calmly and assertively. For a first walk, a quick 5 or 10 minutes is enough – puppies have very short attention spans! You should leave the house first as to the dog, this means you are leading the excursion.
Hold the leash in a relaxed manner. If they start to pull, gently pull the leash upwards and immediately release the tension once they’re back in line. Try to keep your eyes focused ahead. They should be walking beside or behind you with zero tension on the line. If your puppy begins to wander to the side or insists on pulling, using a walking stick or another long object like an umbrella to create a physical barrier should help enforce the rules they need to follow.
Use treats as encouragement if they are hesitant about moving forward or get easily distracted.
Step 3 – Positive Reinforcement
When you have had a successful 5/10 minute walk, give your dog a reward by allowing them a bit of freedom to sniff around, have a wander at the end of the lead, and pee/poop. After 3-5 minutes, continue with the structured walk. Once home, make sure you enter the house first and ensure the puppy is calm before removing the leash.
Repeat the above every day! An adult dog should ideally have two 30 minute walks every day.
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This high-vis and ultra-reflective lead is ideal for puppy training and night-time walks.