How to Leash Train a Puppy

puppy training tipsTraining your puppy to walk on a leash and collar (or harness) nicely, without pulling or biting the leash, is a really worthwhile thing to do with your dog.

Once your young dog is really well trained with great leash skills taking them for walks is so much more fun than if they are not well trained.

If your puppy constantly pulls and bites on the leash going for walks can be really unpleasant for both of you, so let’s find out how to train your puppy this new skill as easily as possible.

NOTE – Really young puppies tend to stay closer to you, so it might not seem that you need to leash train if your pup is still fairly young.

However, as they get a bit older and more confident, they will feel much happier walking further away from you, and this is when good leash manners will be much more necessary.

How Do You Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash?

The best dog training philosophy to apply when teaching your puppy new skills is to reward desired behavior rather than punishing undesired behavior.

This makes sessions much more enjoyable for both the puppy and the dog owner. It is also a much more effective and efficient way of teaching the pup.

Let’s go through leash puppy training step-by-step (this is all explained in a video further down this page if you prefer watching to reading):

  1. Pick a small, quiet area with as few distractions as possible for the first training sessions.
  2. Put the harness or collar and leash on the puppy.
  3. Walk the puppy around the area using lots and lots of tiny treats to focus their attention on you.
  4. When they follow, you praise them and give them more treats.
  5. If they bit or chew their leash, use treats to distract them from doing so.
  6. Keep this up for about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Repeat these sessions with your pup in this same area until you can confidently and consistently lead them around without too much problem.
  8. Ideally, you want them walking at your side. You can position them here using the leash and snacks.
  9. Next, pick a noisier and busier place to train your puppy, such as a nice park or a path where other people walk.
  10. Repeat the same training process you have been doing, using lots of snacks to get the puppy to focus on and follow you.
  11. Remember, this is not exercise. This is training, so do lots and lots of turns, stops and starts, etc. The idea is to make the dog really work hard, so normal working is much easier.
  12. Expect the puppy to be more distracted, but that’s ok. It’s why you moved to a busier area, just keep working on the training and their behavior will improve.
  13. Again your goal is to consistently walk with the puppy on the leash, at your side, without them being constantly distracted by chewing the leash, other people, dogs, cars, etc.
  14. Hopefully, your puppy will have already encountered a cat and know what it is so he is not going crazy barking and running wild.

If you can get to this last goal, then well done. You have trained your puppy to be well behaved when they are walking on a leash.

What Happens if You Really Struggle?

walk your poochOne great little tip you can try is to really tire your puppy out before you work on your routine.

Play fetch with a ball or run around the house or yard with them until they burn off lots of energy.

Then give them a drink, let them catch their breath, then start to train your puppy as described above.

Also, please remember to really encourage your puppy with vocal and physical praise as well as with little snacks. This really helps to reinforce good behavior.

It might help, too, if you understand beforehand what you are getting yourself in for with a new baby dog.

What if all of that fails? If you are still struggling to get the dog walking nicely on a leash without lots of leash pulling, the next step is to work with a dog trainer.

If you can afford it, some one-on-one sessions with the trainer would be great, or you could attend a puppy training class. (A bonus of this is you get to meet lots of owners and their puppies!).

At What Age Should You Start Leash Training a Puppy?

The short answer to this question is for all puppies, the sooner, the better.

So as soon as you get your little dog, you should start working with them on leash training.

If your dog is too young to be near other dogs, then you can work with them in your home or your backyard (assuming no other dogs have access to it).

All you need is a leash and either a harness or a collar. We would always suggest using a harness as we think they are much better, but a collar is fine if you prefer it.

Some More Advice on Puppy Leash Training

Here is a video showing the same process we just outlined above, as promised earlier in this post.

It is beneficial to see a trainer working with the pup (In this case, a gorgeous little labrador puppy called Flurry).

If you watch carefully, you can see how he uses the treats really effectively to get the dog to follow him and eventually walk nicely by his side.

NOTE – This same training routine for a puppy works just as well for an adult dog.

The only difference would be that an adult dog has a longer attention span, so it can probably work for longer without each day without needing a rest.

Ok, so that is the end of this post sharing puppy training information for walking your pup on a leash.

If you can apply regular training to your walking routine, your pup should be walking nicely in no time.

We hope it helps you and your dogs really enjoy your walks together.

Thanks for taking the time to visit We really appreciate it!

PS – Please make sure to check your local state leash laws before you take your dog out for walks.

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