What Age Should You Start Leash Training a Puppy?
Contrary to what many people think, dogs don’t learn to walk on a leash on their own. Walking on a leash is one of the most important skills that must be taught by pet owners to their pet. Training your puppy to walk requires the use of a leash. This is why this is also known as leash training.
The key to successful leash training is to be consistent and patient as well. It’s just basically the same as teaching your kids to walk, where it will take time before they can manage to do it on their own.
As soon as you bring your puppy home, you should immediately start training it. Dogs start learning since birth and some good breeds of dogs learn to socialize almost immediately. But there are certain skills that you can start introducing to your pet the moment it opens its eyes and learn to walk. Although younger dogs have a short attention span, there are those that can learn a few obedience commands as early as 7 or 8 weeks old. These commands include “stop”, “go”, “sit” etc.
Traditionally, formal dog training should be delayed until the dog reaches 6 months old. But this juvenile stage is already considered a poor time to start training since dogs tend to learn things based on experience. So if you delay training your pooch, you’d miss out on the opportunities to teach your pet how you want it to behave when growing up. At this juvenile stage, your dog will already be at a point where it solidifies adult behaviors.
Behaviors learned during puppyhood might need to be altered. In addition, any skills that have been taught incorrectly to the pet must be re-taught. Dogs are well capable of learning even when they are very young.
If you start training your dog around 7 to 8 weeks old, you should rely on positive reinforcement methods such as leash training. Since puppies have short attention spans, training sessions must be brief and must be done regularly. At this stage, you can teach your pup basic skills and use treats to encourage it to learn.
Introducing the Retractable Dog Leash
Start by letting your pup wear a collar with a leash or harness and make sure that it gets used to wearing this thing. Make your dog wear it for a short period of time each day, whether inside your house or when your pup is playing outdoors. Encourage your pup to wear the retractable dog leash by giving it treats as rewards.
Teach Your Dog Sound Cues
Next, teach your puppy some of the most common sound cues. For instance, when food is about to come, you should associate a sound to it that your pet recognizes. Some pet owners cluck their tongue to signal that it’s already eating time.
When teaching cues and sounds to your pup, make sure you do it in a quiet environment that’s free from any distractions. Also, the puppy should be on a leash with a collar while on training. As you make the sound, whenever your puppy looks at you, offer it a treat. Do this over and over again. That way, your pup will know that those sounds refer to food.
Make Your Pooch Come To You
Train your puppy to come to you with the use of some commands. While the dog is heading towards you and with a leash on, walk backward for a few steps and when it follows you, give it a reward. Continue walking at the same pace until your puppy understands that such a particular noise or command means that you want it to go near you.
When teaching your pet this skill, it’s essential to use a retractable dog leash. That way, regardless of where you’re going, your puppy will still be close to you. You are free to adjust the leash to whatever length you prefer, which is what’s great about retractable leashes. If you want your dog to be closer to you, simply shorten the leash.
Practice Inside Your Home
When your puppy finally learns and understands some commands, practice walking for a few steps inside your home with less distraction. Seeing that there’s a retractable leash around your pet should be a challenge. Once your pet gets used to coming to you using a few commands, give your pet some treats.
Then Take The Practice Outdoors
If you are confident about your puppy’s abilities, it’s time to take it outdoors to test its skills. This can be challenging at first because your puppy might get distracted by the outside noise, smell, and sights. But if you have a retractable leash, you should still be able to have control over your pup.