The friendliest breeds of puppies get scared at some point. A leash offers comfort and security when guidance is offered by a trusted owner. However, these animals will not automatically know how to walk politely, even when on a leash.
Teaching a young dog to behave on the leash is easier than teaching an adult dog. If you have a puppy, it is advisable to start the training process immediately. The following is a simple and easy guideline effective for training your puppy to walk on a leash.
Majority of purebred dogs have a color-coded ribbon or temporary collar. If you get a new collar, you need to give the puppy some time to adjust to the change. An ideal option is a metal buckled nylon collar that can fit two of your fingers beneath it. Since you will need to get larger collars, it is advisable to start with inexpensive ones.
If you have powerful pups, you need to use a no-pull harness. They are exceptionally good for hard-headed pups that are older. Such a harness is designed to self-train a dog not to pull. The system ensures that a dog is turned back to the person holding the leash when she pulls. The end result is a dog that will avoid pulling.
Encourage the dog to sniff a leash or harness before you put it on. It is crucial because smell is an essential part of puppies’ communication. Remember it is not a toy and doesn’t allow your pup to play tug or chew the leash.
Go for the most appropriate style of leash for the size of your dog. Smaller pets will work well with lighter weight nylon leashes. Larger pups may need heavier leashes such as those made from leather. Retractable leashes are not recommended. The may encourage a small dog to pull with the result of jumping up. Generally, a six-foot leash offers enough space for freedom while ensuring the owner maintains control.
At this point, “heel” should not be something to worry about. With a puppy, aim for a position that allows you to walk without dragging or pulling the pup behind, or letting it surge forward. Ideally, you should be walking comfortably on either side of your dog on a loose leash.
Keeping a tight leash is counter-intuitive for most small dogs. By keeping a tight leash, the animal will pull against it, naturally in a bid to avoid dragging or tugging him. A good method is keeping the leash in your right hand. Doubling the extra slack to prevent drag is a good addition. For the best results, hold the right hand at the same level as your belt buckle.
Favorite toys, some treats, and other rewards should be part of the training process. If your pup is nosy or cheeky, you can include a sniff of something unpleasant or stinky. Make sure these are doled out using your free hand. Find the best way to communicate with your pup by trying out a few methods.
Make sure you are consistent when it comes to the side your pup walks. If you start training using your left side, keep it that way. The dog will automatically adjust as time goes by.
As you are training the dog to walk on a leash, make sure you don’t give rewards randomly. The best option would be waiting for the pup to focus on the reward. Commands such as “heel” or “let’s go” should be used consistently. Treats should be held right in front of their nose before you start walking to encourage him to keep pace.
Once the dog has responded successfully, avoid taking advantage of the situation. Go for a few steps and have your puppy sit. This is the best time to reward him. Repeat the exercise, but each time increasing the duration by adding two or three more steps. The dog will understand your commands mean they should walk at your side. In their mind, they will know when you start walking and you stop. They will be rewarded by obeying your commands and movements.
After a few exercises, the dog will not require any luring, but will need to see rewards. To ensure you train it properly, offer treats intermittently. Instead of giving rewards every time, change it to every other time, or once every three times. The pup will learn to obey without expecting a treat every time they do so.
Once he stops, sits, and walks depending on your command, you can increase the steps. Make sure you can do this by going for 20 or more yards interchanging the commands. At this point, the treats should be minimal or non-existent.