When raising a puppy, every dog owner experiences the familiar behavior problem of the puppy strongly pulling on its leash. When you want to leash train a puppy it’s much easier to prevent the problem than trying to correct it after it has become an ingrained habit.
There are some training methods that will teach your puppy the right way to behave while on its leash.
The slack leash method of training requires a regular buckle collar and a six foot leash. The first step to teaching a puppy loose leash walking is realize that when you are walking the puppy on a leash, it is a reward for the dog, not a necessary chore. Do not continue walking if your puppy is pulling at its leash. Stop and wait until the puppy gets a sense that what it is doing may not be right.
Give your puppy enough leash to allow it to walk about four feet in front of you. Every time the leash goes slack you can reward your puppy with a small treat, or just a praise if you’re concerned about feeding it too many treats.
When you are ready to begin walking again, say “let’s go” and take a few steps forward. If your puppy begins to pull on its leash again, stop walking. When the leash goes slack again, praise your puppy and start walking again.
Don’t yank your puppy’s leash. If it continues to pull, try talking in a high pitched voice which will usually help a puppy focus its attention on your commands.
The “Donkey and Carrot” method is a very good way to train your puppy while on its leash. Start walking while holding a treat in front of your puppy’s nose. Reward your puppy with a small piece of kibble every few feet that it stays in step with you. If you find that you run out of kibble before the walk is over, try cutting down on the number of treats by rewarding the puppy only when it behaves exceptionally well.
Don’t attempt to train your puppy to walk on a loose leash if it’s acting hyper and needs to burn off excess energy. Play with it for a few minutes to help burn off that energy, then go for a walk when the puppy calms down.
Here’s a quick and easy test to determine if your puppy has mastered loose leash walking: when you can walk your puppy while holding its leash and a glass of water in the same hand without spilling it, your training has been successful.