Puppies are delightful bundles of curiosity! However, one of the challenges that come with bringing a puppy home is their inability to behave during outdoor walks. You may worry that they might grow too strong and pull you on the leash and make you trip and fall.
We will share with you the importance of leash-training your dog while they are young, the right steps to take when training, and what age to start leash training a puppy!
Why You Need to Leash-Train Your Puppy
The most basic reason why you need to leash-train your puppy is that you don’t want them to get used to pulling you on the leash especially when they grow strong and stubborn in their adulthood. And besides, it’s going to be tougher to train them later as there may be more bad behavior they need to unlearn.
We share with you some benefits of leash-training your puppy that will help you understand why it is important.
You Can Relax with Your Dog
The leash gives you a sense of control over your dog. By simply coiling the lead, they’ll know they need to follow you. Picking it up means it’s time to stop playing and start to go home. It makes outdoor activities more manageable and relaxing!
It helps you train them! If you want to relax with your dog, make sure there is consistency in your training method.
The Wildlife is Protected
Loose dogs can destroy bushes, dig soil, and even hurt other small mammals. Guide your dog with a leash to stop them from disrupting other creatures and the environment.
Your Dog Stays Safe
The leash is the best way to keep your dog away from injuries and illnesses while outdoors. When walking loose, your dog can easily get into mischief. They might drink contaminated water, catch birds or other wildlife, or get hit by vehicles. The leash will help you control your puppy and stop them from getting injured.
It Means You’re a Responsible Dog Owner
Putting your dog on a leash means you take responsibility for their actions and you are paying attention to their training. Do not let your dog create problems for anyone else!
Also, it will help you set an example for other dog owners!
What Age to Start Leash Training a Puppy
You can put your puppy on a leash as young as possible for outdoor exercises, housebreaking, and other activities. But as for the actual leash-training, which entails teaching them proper leash manners, 10 weeks old is the ideal age.
The belief that puppies should not be trained until they reach six months is not true. By six months of age, almost all behavior problems are already in place and harder to correct. This means that early training can be used to avoid problems before they become more difficult and frustrating.
At 10 weeks, your pup should already be aware of their routine, such as when they will be taken out, and when they should go to the bathroom. They should also already be familiar with your signals of what behavior is pleasing or not with words like “good dog,” “yes,” “ah-ah,” and others.
They should also be adept at staying calm indoors without nipping and being destructive. Lastly, they should know how to interact well with other pets in the family.
Once your puppy already has the previous skills mentioned, they are ready to be taught how to properly walk on the leash! The sessions will be easier as they already know what some words mean and how to behave when they see other people and dogs.
Remember that good puppy behavior should start at home. Don’t take them for any more walks until you’ve first taught them to stop pulling inside your own home and yard.
You can also combine leash training with recall training. Teach your puppy to come every time you call. For now, that might mean keeping them on a leash in the house and a long cord in the yard, so you can make sure they approach you.
How to Leash-Train Your Puppy
Here are some things you can do to start training your puppy for a walk on the leash!
Get the Right Equipment
A no-pull dog harness is always the best tool to use when leash-training your puppy. Even if you’ll only be training indoors, using a collar on them can put a lot of tension on their throat as they strain forward, especially if you yank the leash back.
Puppies have more sensitive throats than adult dogs and can suffer from long-term respiratory and tracheal problems when leash-trained with a collar.
The best harness to use should have straps above your puppy’s shoulders and can be sealed at the center of their chest and behind their back. Once you clip the leash to the front ring and begin walking, your dog has to stay by your side in order to keep moving forward. If they do pull, the leash goes off to the side, directing your dog back to you.
As for the leash, it should be sturdy enough and not too long for better control. Retractable leashes are not the best option for training. Go for a standard leash that 4-6 feet long that has a comfortable grip and is made of durable fabric.
Introduce the Equipment
You can introduce your puppy to the leash even weeks before training them. When they do something positive while playing, eating, or getting affection, slip the harness and leash on them to start to create a positive association.
Help Your Puppy Follow You
Of course, proper leash training means your puppy should be the one following you and not the other way around. Walk a few steps, and when they start to pull ahead, turn and walk in the opposite direction. When they stop pulling and start approaching you, reward them with praise.
Remember to keep these sessions short and frequent. Practice and consistency is the key to successful dog training.
Preventing Problems is Easier than Solving them!
The truth is, you can leash-train your puppy as soon as you need to. When you’re excited to take them out and show them off to the neighborhood, it’s important that they know the proper manners when walking first!
Before training your pooch, make sure they’ve mastered the important prerequisite skills and that you have the right tools for training! Above all, stay consistent as it will have a huge impact on the success of any dog training task.
For more comprehensive dog training tips check out this great dog training course now.