Now that you have your absolutely adorable new puppy, when and how are you going to train him? A well-trained adult dog is a delight to have around, no question about it. But how do you get from this bouncy ball of energy of a pup to that? You definitely want your new dog to be able to accompany you on that much needed daily walk. I have seen many a person struggle every day with their dog or puppy tugging at the end of the leash. So, let’s look at some tips on how to train a puppy to walk on a leash without pulling or tugging.
How Early Should You Start Training Your Puppy?
This usually depends on your particular puppy breed as well as your living environment.
Some dogs can be so feisty that they need training from the get go, particularly if you live very close to neighbours, such as in the case of an apartment block.
But even the calmest of dogs should be trained from an early age. When asked at what age puppy training should commence, one well-known expert replied:
“The answer is immediately!”Cesar Millan
Train a Puppy with the Right Collar and Leash
Rather than choosing that cute, brightly colored, studded collar, it’s a good idea to adhere to the advice of experts. For example, I like the guidance provided by one expert:
“Initially, I prefer a light flat collar and a light leash for a young pup. We can move onto other forms of collar later if required.”Martin Deeley
Puppy Collars (affiliate link)
Puppy Leash Training Inside
Your initial training sessions can actually take place inside. In fact, it is a good idea to bring out the collar and leash and let the puppy smell and paw them so he can see there is nothing to be afraid of. Familiarity can remove any sense of fear.
Then, when puppy is otherwise distracted, gently put the collar over his head and attach the leash. Let him prance around for a little while he is getting used to this strange contraption hanging from his neck.
You can then start to use some simple ‘come’ commands while the puppy is wearing his new collar and leash. All of this can take place inside at this stage. Of course, whenever the puppy comes to you, during this training session, you can reward him with a little treat.
Kathy Santo has some excellent tips and takes this ‘come’ exercise a little further by enticing the puppy to come a little further each time he hears the command.
Puppy Leash Training Outside
Once puppy appears to be accustomed to wearing the collar and leash during your inside training sessions, he is ready to graduate to the outside environment.
I would make these initial sessions very short.
Puppy Leashes (affiliate link)
Remember puppies have a short concentration span, at least with respect to the things that you might like them to concentrate on. Your puppy will be easily distracted. There’s a big world out there to be discovered, so many things to pounce on and bark at. So don’t expect your initial leash training session outside to ‘work’ the first time.
Try to compete with other distractions by catching your puppy’s attention whenever he is about to pull on the leash in an attempt to run off in the other direction. Every time he comes back to you, reward him with a little treat as well as a verbal response that you use each time he has done something right.
I would avoid any kind of dragging if your puppy stubbornly refuses to come your way. Instead have an arsenal of tricks up your sleeve such as standing still until curiosity wins out and your pup looks back at you. Another good idea is to hold a very small treat in your hand but with your arm straight down so that puppy knows something good is just around the corner.
The leash should never pose a threat or any kind of punishment. In other words, if puppy is intent on looking at a ball in the distance, with the hope of breaking free, resist any temptation to yank on the leash. Instead, hold still and use voice commands until pup is ready to pay attention to you again.
Calmness and patience are the keys. Heeling can wait.
It’s a good idea to work out your preferred voice commands ahead of time. That way, you can use the same command to mean the same desired response.
How Often Should I Train my Puppy?
Rather than make a guess at this answer, let’s look at a study that was done with 40 dogs. A comparison was made between daily training sessions and just once or a couple of times a week.
The results concluded that it was better to have 1 to 2 training sessions of a short duration per week.
Now it should be noted that the Beagles used in the study were not puppies.
Many others suggest that puppies need daily training. I think, where puppies are concerned, this is desirable. The daily training interaction serves to reinforce desired behaviour patterns. It also provides a great opportunity for additional bonding with your young dog. Just remember to keep the training sessions short and fun-filled for your puppy.