Lead training is a great way to develop good behaviour in your puppy. As our pet behaviourist, Nick Jones, says: “Prevention is always better than cure” and indeed, a lead should be looked at as a safety device before anything else.
Introducing your puppy to a nice soft collar or body harness will also help lead training. Once your puppy seems comfortable wearing the collar with the lead attached, you can begin to train your dog how to walk alongside you.
How to lead train a puppy for walks
Use food to lure your dog around a pre-prepared course of small obstacles in a back garden or spacious room. Use your voice to encourage your dog around the course as well as a few food treats.
You can break the guided walk up with ‘sit’ or ‘down’ commands depending on how the dog is keeping up. When moving off again, use a bright, enthusiastic voice. If your dog gets jumpy at any point, settle them down using the ‘sit’ command, so they don’t get too excited.
Problems you may experience with lead training
You can sometimes run into a few issues when lead training your puppy, however, they can be easily corrected:
- Dog jumping up toward you – if this occurs, simply ask your dog to sit and settle them down
- Grabbing and biting at the lead – this is often due to the excitement. However, it can be quite a worrying behaviour depending on the size of the dog. A calm solution to tugging on the lead is simply to stop, request the sit command, wait for your dog to settle down and once the dog is calm enough, see it as a green light to move forward
- Pulling on the lead - should you find that your dog is pulling you on the lead, just stop and come back to basics. Using simple methods such as those outlined above will help your dog learn to walk alongside you again
Remember, consistency is key for the dog to understand that over-excitable behaviour results in the walk stopping temporarily.