Lead Training Your Puppy
You will walk your dog every day, and even the best trained dogs will need to spend some time on a lead.
Teaching your dog how to behave on the lead will make this safe for you both, and certainly more enjoyable!
Equipment: Treats, an appropriately sized collar, a lead
Time: Start slow and build up over time Being able to safely lead walk is important for dogs, keeping you both safe and allowing you to be in control when there may be dangers like cars. Puppies have very short attention spans, and trying to introduce new training for more than 5-10 minutes at a time will just result in frustration for both of you!
More about lead training
Lead training is a common sticking point for many owners, as it is time consuming, frustrating and can impact initially on the enjoyment of walks (in the long term, of course, the opposite is true!). Some tips include:
- Pulling. If your dog is pulling on the lead, it's because they want to go somewhere! This can be the most frustrating part of lead training. If you are struggling, use a double ended lead and attached to the harness and collar when in training mode and just the harness when it's leisure time. Make sure to capture your dog's behaviour when they are walking nicely this means giving a treat or praise when they check in with you or are walking with a loose happy lead. Dogs love reward, and will start to repeat behaviours that work! Giving treats from behind you will also encourage your dog to spend more time there, as that is where the food comes from!
- Lunging. Dogs may lunge at something on the walk, such as another dog or a vehicle. When you know your dog's triggers for lunging, try and pre-empt the lunge and distract your puppy with treats and attention.
- Treats. Take some high value treats when you know the environment is going to be full of distractions, and try and pre-empt problem areas, items or individuals by getting your dog's attention ahead of time.
- Collar choice. Some dogs really struggle to get pulling on the lead under control. Head-collars can help with this, and are used instead of neck collars to attach to the lead, although your dog is still required by law to wear a neck collar with an ID tag on. Head collars need to be introduced very carefully to avoid frustration and anxiety before you even get out of the door like anything new, buildup the time worn slowly, and reward positive behaviours. Never use a choke chain or a prong collar or shock collar as these are very negative and training should always focus on rewarding correct behaviours rather than punishment, this is called positive reinforcement./li>