Walking is a fun exercise that you and your beautiful, snuggly puppy can enjoy to bond together. Sometimes, however, a puppy’s irresistible energy can get the best of them. They may pull, drag, and even tangle themselves around their leashes. They may also run into traffic or towards other people, which can pose as a serious danger (and annoyance for non-puppy lovers!).
That’s why it’s important for your puppy to have proper leash etiquette so that they can have adventures far beyond their backyard.
Here are a few ways you can leash train your puppy.
Decide on a collar or harness.
Ah, the eternal question: collar or harness? While the arguments for each item are valid, the answer depends solely on your puppy’s breed, size, and personality. We recommend starting with a standard collar for temporary use (well, until you test out your fur-baby’s walking habits).
A nylon collar that you’re able to put two fingers in is ideal for your little fur-baby. You will need to buy large size collars as your puppy gets older as well.
Once you’ve observed how your puppy acts when you’re out walking, you can decide on a harness. If your puppy is the type that loves to pull against their leash, a no-pull harness is the way to go.
This type of harness also helps train them to not pull—the leash is hooked onto a clip on the chest area of the harness, so that when your pooch pulls, it turns them back to their owner.
Let your puppy sniff the collar and leash.
Before placing your puppy’s collar on their neck, make sure you introduce them to it first. Allow them to sniff, lick, and wear the collar so that they get used to having it on.
Smell is an especially important form of communication among dogs, and giving them the chance for a good sniffing alleviates any stress they may feel. Just make sure they don’t chew or tug on the collar!
Get the right leash.
Choosing the appropriate leash is a must for any puppy parent. We recommend choosing a lighter weight nylon leash for smaller breeds while heavier weight nylon leashes work best for large breeds.
It’s also a good idea that you use a retractable leash, at least for the first few walks with your puppy. This allows you to control the distance your puppy walks and keeps them close to you.
You should avoid maintaining a tight leash on your puppy as this can naturally cause them to pull against it. Instead, keep a relatively close yet loose leash distance to let your puppy engage with their surroundings.
You can also check out our blog, How to Find the Right Leash for Your Puppy for more tips on finding the perfect leash for your cuddly furry friend!
Practice walking with your puppy.
When your puppy is used to walking with their collar, you can take them out on a few practice walks in your neighborhood. Make sure your puppy knows the necessary commands like “sit” or “stay.” You can check out more about these essential commands on our blog, How to Teach Your Puppy to Stay Close During Walks.
You can also change up the speed of your walks or change directions to train your furry friend into following cues. You may need to have some treats in hand to encourage your puppy to learn these new tricks. You can even turn it into a game to make it more fun for the both of you!
Praise good behavior.
Remember to reward your puppy when they follow all of your commands. A puppy should always know when they’re being a good fur-baby! You can provide their favorite toys or yummy treats in your free hand.
You can also use these treats during obedience trainings. Just hold out your palm with the treats and wait until your puppy focuses on the reward. Once your puppy sees the treats, say “let’s go” and lure them to a walk. Make sure to keep these commands and verbal cues consistent to avoid confusing your puppy.
When walking your puppy, you should avoid ever taking your eyes off them. Yes, you may have trained them to heel, sit, and stay close, but puppy instincts will always remain intact. Have some patience, keep training with your puppy, and you will have the best walking buddy ever!
We know you love walking with your puppy, but when a lot is a lot, it can affect your puppy’s health. Check out our blog, How Often Should You Walk Your Pup? for helpful tips on when you should walk your puppy.