2nd May, 2017
Lead training your puppy takes a lot of time and patience. The best thing to do to start with is buy a clip-on collar that is not too heavy and can be clipped on and off quickly.
As with training any dog, you need to condition them so that when they do something good you reward them with a treat. As they repeat the good action, and more rewards are given, your dog will start to think that even without the treat, they will feel good for doing the so-called action. So once putting the collar on your dog, reward them with a treat.
Make sure the collar is kept on for a short while and not taken straight off because your dog will think the collar coming off is when a treat is given. Leave the collar on for longer and longer periods of time, but make sure to take the collar off when you are in the house so it does not get caught on anything in the house.
Once your puppy is happy wearing the collar you can introduce the lead and just start off in the house, don’t try to go straight away out and about. You should think about the lead as a safety device so that he doesn’t run off anywhere. Not something that you pull him around by.
You want a dog that doesn’t pull on the lead, so you don’t start by pulling first.
First of all, clip on the lead and give him a treat while you put it on if need be. The minute the lead is on, just use the treats (instead of pulling on the lead) to lure him beside you so that he gets used to walking with the lead and with the collar attached.
As well as using treats you can also make good use of toys – especially if your dog has a favourite one – to do exactly the same thing: walk around the house with the lead on and lure him with the toy. That way your puppy will build a positive connection with wearing the collar and lead without making any fuss whatsoever.
The most important thing is to never pull on the lead. If it is ever tight just lure him beside you with a treat or a toy while walking. All you’re doing is getting him to moving around beside you with the lead and collar on. Remember to keep your hand down (the one holding the treat or toy) so your puppy doesn’t get the habit of jumping up at you. That helps your puppy learn that he can move around with a collar and lead on and that the lead is never something that he’s going to pull on.
If you feel that your puppy is getting stressed when walking with a lead outside try putting treats along the route you’ll be taking to turn this into a rewarding game: good times are ahead. That way he learns to focus on what’s ahead of him with curiosity and not fear.