Puppy on a lead
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Become an expert: learn about puppy loose-lead training

By Daniel Mar Journalist

Updated on the

Puppy loose-lead training takes time and patience for it to actually work. Even though it can be a tiresome process, it is worth the time and sacrifice.

Training a dog is never easy. There is no fast way for your pet to understand what you want from them. Dogs are very much like us in that way. We all need an adaptation process to learn and follow new rules. Puppy lead training is among the hardest things that dog owners have to face. Most dog trainers believe that the key to introducing a dog to loose-lead walking is patience. Just by taking it slowly, you will have better chances to succeed.

Puppy loose-lead training begins with the right lead and collar

In order to get your dog walking on a loose-lead, you first need to get a collar and a lead. Even though this may sound like an obvious step, it is one of the most important ones! Since there are many different types of collars and leads out there, picking the right ones is often crucial. At first, since your puppy is small, it is advisable to get a flat collar and a light lead. Afterwards, as your puppy grows, you can move onto other styles. 

How to begin training?

Puppy lead training starts with your pet getting used to a collar. You must try to avoid situations that could make your puppy feel afraid, concerned or angry. These feelings can result in a rejection of the collar. It is easier for your dog if you put on the collar while he is preoccupied with other matters like playing with a toy or eating.

While you attach it, make sure that it is loose. If the collar is tight around his neck, he will be irritated. In other words, your puppy should forget that he has a collar on. If the collar is placed, and your puppy didn’t reject it, it’s a done deal! In no time, he will come to accept the feeling of the collar. However, if your dog begins to scratch the collar, try to get his attention off of it. Encourage him to play, or offer him some tasty puppy food. Make sure your puppy is not paying attention to the collar for a few minutes, then take it off, put it away and repeat the same process another time. Once this process is completed, you can move on to the next stage of puppy loose-lead training.

Puppy lead training can’t work without the lead

Once your pup has accepted its collar, it is time to introduce the lead. It is very important to associate the lead with something pleasant, such as playtime. So pick a moment when your puppy is feeling playful and attach the lead. Initially, you can let him run around while dragging the lead. Under no circumstances must you make your puppy feel restrained the first time you attach the lead. This will make the adaptation process a million times harder.

Another great technique when introducing a lead is to invite another dog to playtime. This other dog must have the lead on so that when you attach your puppy with one of these, he can relate with ‘his friend’.

Also, you can use treats to make this step easier. Get small bits of food and give them to your dog to chew. While he is doing it, you can put the lead on and off his collar. Associating puppy lead training with mealtime can also be a good thing, as long as your puppy is relaxed around his food bowl.

How to teach your puppy to walk on a loose-lead?

When first walking your puppy with a lead, do not attempt to make him walk at heel yet. However, if he does this naturally, tell him he is great! You have to do everything calmly and gently. Sometimes, just standing still while your puppy is figuring out what to do is a good thing.

Give him all the time he needs to process the information. Let him gain confidence in you, the lead and himself.

If you have a treat, offer it to him. This can encourage him to walk alongside you on the lead. Reward him with some more treats for a job well done.

There are times when a puppy can sit down and refuse to move while on a lead. If this occurs, you need to go back to the previous step and give your pup more time to get use to the lead itself.

On the other hand, if your puppy rushes ahead pulling the lead, you need to stand still and reward him only when he walks nicely and close to you.

Final considerations about puppy lead training

For many puppies, puppy loose-lead training can be restricting. They may become frustrated towards the lead and the collar. This is why it is very important to take your time but remain persistent in this type of training. Only by doing so will you achieve the results that you want. Take ‘puppy steps’, don’t rush it! Eventually, your pup will walk on a lead with no problem!

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