How to get your puppy used to a leash?

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Editor of Dog Articles
Written By Editor of Dog Articles

Tips & Training Guidelines to Teach Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

Since your dog has collar-and-leash walking mastered indoors, it’s time to introduce a few more distraction by going outdoors. All the sounds, smells, and sights will be new to him, so you can expect challenges and a few mistakes. He should be able to walk on a leash nicely by your side. Remember that you are in control. Don’t drag your dog along with you if you yank or jerk the leash.

Keep your walks short and be patient. If you keep your eyes on your dog, you can anticipate any behavior issues.

If he wanders too far away from the task at hand, use your marker sound to distract him. If you follow him, give him a treat.

Being proactive and trying to avoid distraction like bicyclists, skateboarders, other dogs, and cars is very important when walking outside with your pup. You can increase the distance between you and your dog if you see some improvement. Stand still and refuse to move until your dog comes back to you, if your dog starts lunging at something or pulling in the other direction. If he does, make your marker sound again and reward it.

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If barking while distracted is a problem, use the same process as you would if your dog is lunging or pulling, create distance and offer treats before he starts barking. He will turn his attention towards you when he sees a dog.

When Can You Start And How Long Will It Take?

I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to get used to a completely new environment during the first 2 or 3 days in your home.

Many people get used to a leash and collar from their 3rd day home, but there isn’t much point.

Wait until they are 10 weeks old.

They don’t need ID tags until they’re 12 weeks old, as they’re too young to take outside further than your back yard.

They are so small that you can simply scoop them up and carry them during house training.

When you can start to walk them outside, they will be comfortable wearing a collar and leash.

How long will it take for them to get used to a leash and collar?

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Most will be comfortable by the end of 2 weeks as long as you introduce them to it slowly.

By starting at 10 weeks, you have a full 2 weeks to get them used to it, one week for a collar, then another for the leash before you really need to use them.

Choosing The Right Leash And Collar

It is very important that you buy the right leash and collar for your puppy.

There are two highly informative buying guides for choosing the right size and style of leash and collar for every situation that you can find here. How to choose the right leash and collar.

I recommend reading these articles so you can make the most informed buying decisions, but here are the most important things to consider when buying the first leash and collar for a young puppy.

Buying a collar that your puppy will grow into is not a good idea. It will be too heavy and uncomfortable if you choose a small collar. It will be easier to get used to the lighter weight. Choose a wide, flat collar and not a thin round one. Thin and round will be lighter. It is easier to put pressure on your puppy’s neck and throat if it is wider. It’s better to get a wide flat collar, but one that’s as light as you can find. You need to get the collar on quickly and not have to fiddle with it. The experience is stress free because of this. Your puppy’s leash should be light and thin. It is the least intimidating. Make sure they are lightweight and stay away from heavy chain style leashes.

If you are yet to buy a collar and leash for your puppy and would like some guidance, we have put together a small selection that you can see by clicking the following links.

Recommended Collars for Labradors. There is a new window.

There are recommended leashes for labradors. The window is open in a new window.

A Few Tips Before We Begin

Before you begin training your puppy to accept a leash and collar, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

There is a Stay relaxed and calm. If your puppy doesn’t accept them for a long time, don’t make a big deal out of it. They can be made to dislike it by the negative energy. Be patient. It may take hours, it may take a couple of weeks, not all puppies learn at the same time. They will get it eventually. Try to act like wearing a leash and collar is normal. Don’t make a big deal out of it. You promote calm energy in your puppy. If you don’t supervise your puppy, remove their collar and leash. Don’t leave them unwatchable for a minute. If your puppy gets their paw caught in the leash and panicked, which can slow down their acceptance of the leash, you can buy a cheap one and cut the looped end off. The leash is likely too long if you find your puppy getting tangled in it, or if they are wrapping it around your legs. Wrap it around your hand a couple of times. For a puppy that chews on the leash. If you want to deter their chewing, spray it with a bitter-tasting spray. We like using Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray and it works with most puppies.

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Common Mistakes We Make As The Trainer

When leash training and our dogs becoming future pullers, there are a few mistakes we make that can lead to problems. Try to avoid them.

Pulling on the leash yourself will not achieve anything. The mild pain that you cause won’t deter your puppy from pulling and it won’t teach them anything.

When you pull, dogs fight against restraint so it makes pulling harder.

Your puppy goes forward. They still go forward after you pull back a bit.

Their pulling gets them where they want to go, even if it’s only for a short time. There is no benefit or gain from pulling.

Rushing forward will teach the puppy that pulling works. If your puppy pulls one bit, you need to stop and not move until they move towards you.

The occasional snap on a leash is an effective correction, but most people use it incorrect and way too often.

When you snap a leash, loosen it first, then snap it tight to startle the dog and get their attention.

It is a reminder. Your puppy pulls, feels the leash go slack and then gets yanked back.

A loose leash can lead to a snap and then try to avoid it by keeping the leash tight. Not good.

Pulling when your puppy is heading towards you.

You shouldn’t pull on the leash if your puppy is heading towards you.

We want them to think the leash is free when they move toward us, so never add any back in, it’s usually only a problem when using a long leash to be fair.

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