“Who wants to go on a walk?!” were the words that made my face cringe. Honestly, I used to dread taking my dog for a walk. Getting my arm ripped off in front of all my neighbors was clearly not on the agenda. The extendable leashes helped me tolerate the tugging, but they were clearly no solution by far. This was five years ago and I can happily say that Ginger now walks better than ever. Follow these effortless leash training tips to avoid embarrassment, arm pain, and have a happy puppy:
- The collar is the key. Get your dog used to wearing one as soon as you’re considering a leash. Most puppies don’t like the collar and try to pull it off, simply because it is a foreign object. Don’t take it off because he doesn’t like it – wait until he’s forgotten about the collar to take it off. A helpful tip is to put it on him when he’s eating, so that way he’ll associate the collar with something that he loves. Honestly, he’ll probably not even notice it at first.
- Once your puppy is happily wearing the collar, the next step is to get him used to the leash itself. Let your puppy run around the house with the leash attached to the collar, hanging freely. This is showing him that the leash is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. When your puppy runs away from you, call him over and reward him when in leash-distance (so he becomes familiar with being close to you).
- Finally, it is time for a walk! As soon as you step outside, your dog is probably going to be very excited. Tire him out with a few games before beginning, so he’s not distracted by the new surroundings. If your dog pulls on the leash, do not pull him back toward you. Instead, don’t move at all and call him back to you. This teaches him that by tugging on the leash, he doesn’t get anywhere without you. When your puppy comes back, generously reward him.
This may take your dog 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months to learn. Be patient. The only way he’ll learn is if you teach him. Be sure to keep up this new routine every single time you go on walks to ensure consistency. Before you know it, you and your puppy will be a lean, mean walking machine!