A puppy pulls their owner on a leash in the park.One important thing to remember when bringing a new puppy home is that they will need to be trained on how to walk properly on a leash. The process of getting your puppy to walk on a leash may seem daunting, but with a little patience and consistency you will have them trotting around like a pro in no time!

Leash training can also be a great way to socialize your puppy as they learn how to behave around other people and animals. It’s important to start early so that your puppy can get used to being on a leash and respond well to you when you’re out and about. 

Here are some tips on how to get started.

Reasons to Leash Train Your Puppy

There are many benefits to going through the process of leash training, including: 

  • Safety: The number one reason you should start leash training your puppy right away is for safety purposes. A well-trained dog is a safe dog. When outside the home, leashes keep dogs from running into the street and getting hit by a car, getting lost, or getting into conflicts with other animals. Without a leash, dogs can also get into dangerous situations, like eating poisonous plants or getting into trash cans full of dangerous items. By keeping your dog on a leash, you can prevent them from getting into these types of situations and keep them safe.
  • Exercise: Leash training also provides an opportunity for much-needed exercise for your pup. Puppies have a lot of energy and need to burn off that energy somehow. Going on walks or runs with your dog is a great way to bond with them while also giving them the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. Plus, it’s a great way to get some fresh air and exercise for yourself, too!
  • Training: Leash training is an essential part of obedience training for your pup. Just like with any other command, puppies need to be taught how to walk on a leash before they can do it correctly. If you wait too long to start leash training, your pup may develop bad habits that will be difficult to break later on. Starting early will make the process much easier for both you and your pup!
  •  It teaches them boundaries: One of the first things you need to do when leash training your puppy is teach them where their boundaries are. Just because they’re on a leash doesn’t mean they can go wherever they want: they need to learn to heel and stay by your side. This training will come in handy when you’re out walking and you need them to stay close. It also teaches them that there are limits to what they can do, even if they want to explore more.

Starting Out With Puppy Leash Training

The best place to start leash training is in your own backyard. This familiar location will allow your puppy to get used to the sensation of walking on a leash without too many distractions. 

The Farmer’s Dog Digest suggests you let your puppy wander around on the leash while you follow close behind. Then, work on walking together. If your puppy starts to pull ahead, simply stop walking, and wait for them to catch up. Once they’re by your side again, you can start walking again. Repeat this process until your puppy seems comfortable walking on a leash with you.

DO keep sessions short at first, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend walking on a leash as your puppy becomes more comfortable. 

DON’T try to make up for lost time by spending hours walking your puppy all at once; this will only overwhelm them and make them less likely to enjoy the experience.

How to Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash: The Essentials

Here are some key steps to get you and your puppy started off on the right foot (and the right paw) when you first begin leash training:

  1. Start with a collar and leash that fit properly. Too tight of a collar can be uncomfortable for your pup, and a too-loose collar can slip off. Likewise, a leash that’s too long can be difficult to control, while a leash that’s too short can be constricting. Fit is important, so make sure you get it right. Avoid retractable leashes.
  2. Get your puppy accustomed to wearing a collar and leash. Put the collar on your pup and let him wear it around the house for short periods of time at first. Then, gradually increase the amount of time he wears it. Once he’s comfortable wearing the collar, attach the leash and let him get used to that, too.
  3. Teach your puppy to heel. This is the command you’ll use to tell your pup to walk by your side, not ahead of or behind you. To teach this cue, put your pup in a sit or down position, then hold the end of the leash in one hand and a treat in the other. Slowly walk forward, rewarding your pup with the treat whenever he stays in position by your side. 
  4. Teaching your puppy to walk nicely on a leash. Start by walking with your pup at heel, then give the cue “let’s go” and begin walking forward. If he starts to pull ahead of you, simply stop walking and wait until he comes back to your side before continuing. Reward him regularly for walking nicely on the leash until this becomes second nature to him.

Leash Training is No Easy Task: Let Us Help

There are many benefits of leash training your puppy, from teaching them boundaries to helping them get exercise to giving them a safe outlet to explore the world around them. It’s an important part of responsible dog ownership, and it sets your pup up for greater happiness and success as an adult dog. Starting early will make the process much easier and provide many benefits, both for you and your furry friend!

At Greenlin Pet Resorts we understand leash training your new puppy is no easy task. If you haven’t already started leash training, now is the time. Our professional puppy trainers are able to provide you with instruction, classes, and a full obedience program, depending on your needs.

Do you have more questions about puppy training? Or want to know about the basic skills to set you up for a happier, healthier relationship with your pup? Feel free to reach out to us at one of our six locations in the Harrisburg area today, and one of our experienced dog trainers will be happy to help!