Leash training a puppy is both fun and challenging, and crucial for several reasons. Any time you spend training is an opportunity for you and your dog to bond. Learning a new task you can reward them for will strengthen your relationship.
Bringing home a new puppy and training them can be tough, but you don’t have to struggle through training alone. With the proper guidance, you and your puppy can master training tasks together in no time. Here’s how to leash train a puppy in 3 simple steps.
Why You Should Leash Train Your Puppy
There are a few reasons why you should leash train your puppy, the first being safety. Leash walking allows you to take your dog to all kinds of places without fearing them taking off for one reason or another.
When your dog masters leash training, you can walk down public streets, through the park, or along hiking trails knowing your dog will stay safely by your side without behavior like pulling or pacing. The leash connects you and your dog and gives you guaranteed control regardless of the situation. Daily walks are also great for your dog’s mental stimulation, giving them something active to enjoy and look forward to every day.
Leash training your puppy while they’re still young is preferable since the earlier they’re exposed to training, the more likely they are to master it quickly. Of course, it’s still entirely possible to leash train a dog at any age, but the earlier you can begin the better.
When to Start Leash Training a Puppy
Puppies are generally ready to separate from their mother and head to their forever home around eight weeks old, though some puppies may need closer to 10 or 12 weeks before they’re ready.
You can start leash training your puppy as soon as you bring them home. At this age, they’re ready to start learning simple dog commands and can be introduced to a leash or harness as well. The sooner you start training the better.
What You Need to Start Leash Training a Puppy
Before you start leash training your puppy, there are a few things you’ll need. Having the right tools is key to mastering the art of leash training a puppy. Trust us, you’ll be glad you had everything ready and waiting when it’s time to take on leash training. These items will have you and your puppy on your way to leash training success in no time at all.
- A well-fitted collar or harness
- A leash that’s 6 feet long
- Treats as positive reinforcement
How to Leash Train a Puppy in 3 Simple Steps
Leash training a puppy doesn’t have to be complicated, and we’re here to help break down the basics. Remember every dog is different, and that all dogs (like people) learn at their own pace. Stay patient and follow these 3 simple steps to start leash training your puppy.
Practice in a Controlled Environment First
When leash training your puppy, practicing in a controlled environment first can be extremely helpful. This means a place free from distractions like people, other dogs, or exciting activities that might get them excited. Puppies are full of playful energy and can easily be interrupted from the task at hand when other stimuli are present.
To help your puppy keep their focus when leash training, try practicing somewhere like your own backyard or an area of the house with enough space to walk around first.
Teach Your Puppy to Walk Beside You
You’ll want to teach your puppy to walk beside you right away when you start leash training. This is a great opportunity to use the “heel” command, which tells your dog to walk next to you instead of in front or behind. Start by attaching the leash to your puppy’s collar or harness and patting the side of your body you want them to walk beside. When they join you, reinforce it with a treat and start walking to show them the next step.
Take Your Training into The Real World
Once you and your puppy have had some practice leash training in a distraction-free environment, it’s time to start training outside your home. It’s still best to keep leash training sessions short at first, but once your puppy has the basics you can try going for a leash walk down the street or at the park to give them some real-world experience.
How Long Does it Take to Leash Train a Puppy?
The time it takes to leash train a puppy varies depending on a few factors. Your puppy’s age, previous training, and the consistency with which you practice leash training will all influence just how long it takes to master the task of leash walking. Typically, puppies are ready to learn and can master new tasks after training for around four weeks. Some puppies may learn faster, some may take a little extra time. There’s nothing wrong with moving at a pace that works best for you and your puppy.
Puppy Leash Training Challenges
Training a puppy comes with challenges, but few that can’t be overcome with a little patience and persistence.
Lots of dog owners will say their puppy went through a “teenager” phase around eight or nine months, which can feel like all the work you’ve done training has gone right out the window. Don’t worry if this happens at any time during your dog’s puppyhood. Simply maintain your expectations, be patient when they need reminders, and keep reinforcing the behavior you want to see.
Online Puppy Training Courses with Pettable
Training a puppy is no small feat, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Pettable’s online training courses for dogs of all ages are designed with you and your dog in mind. Each lesson is curated by professionally certified dog trainers who will guide you and your dog through the process of leash training, crate training, basic commands, and more.
Pettable’s online lessons are made accessible to you at any time, so you can move through the content at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home. If you’re ready to start training your dog, get the right tools from Pettable for the best dog training results.