How to Train a Puppy to Walk on a Lead


This article is written by our veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever, BVSc (Hons)

Teaching your puppy to walk on a lead is essential. Although most dogs come to love going for a walk, they can find being attached to a collar and lead daunting at first. With a lot of patience and the right approach you will have your pup walking on the lead like a pro in no time.

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Step 1 - Pick the Right Gear

From collars to harnesses, there are a lot of products to choose from. While a halti collar or a front-attaching harness can go a long way for strong pullers, for a puppy, it's best to start with the basics.

Begin with a simple flat collar and light lead. It is also beneficial to stock up on training treats because you will be using them a lot throughout the process!

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Rogz Control Harness

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Step 2 - Get Them Used to the Collar and Lead

Get your puppy used to wearing the collar by putting it on for short periods of time to begin with. If you notice them scratching at the collar try and redirect their attention with a game or short training session to take their mind off it.

Once they are used to the collar, you can start to get them accustomed to the feeling of the lead dragging behind. An easy way to do this is to attach the lead and let them run around or play in the backyard under your supervision.

Step 3 - Walk Together

Now you can start to pick up the lead and train your puppy to walk alongside you. Some dogs may just start trotting happily alongside you, but others can be more challenging.

What to do if Your Puppy Sits Down and Won't Move

This is a common response initially, especially if your puppy is in a new and potentially scary place. Overcome it by getting down on your his level and enticing him to move forwards with a treat or favourite toy. As he moves forwards give him lots of praise. Be patient with him and in time you will find that he becomes more confident about walking with you.

What to do if Your Puppy Pulls on Lead

Pulling on the lead means your puppy is excited and can't wait to get out and explore the world! But how can you stop your puppy from pulling on a lead?

1. If your puppy begins to pull, stop and call them back to you and praise them.

2. Start walking again, this time with a handful of treats in the hand closest to the puppy.

3. Lure your puppy along with the treats in the desired direction, giving them plenty of praise and a treat every few moments to reward the behaviour.

4. If your puppy begins to pull again, stop and call them back and repeat the process. Over time you can increase the interval between the treats from a few seconds to a few minutes and then longer as he starts to get the idea.

This method will take time and patience but is an effective and gentle way to train your puppy to walk at your side. If you are still having trouble with a puppy that pulls, you could also try using a front-attaching harness or Halti headcollar. These are designed to distribute pressure across the bridge of the nose to discourage them from pulling.

It is important that you are patient with your puppy while you are training him. Walking on a lead can be a challenge for him at first, but with perseverance, kindness and some tasty treats as motivation, you can train your puppy to walk nicely on the lead beside you.

Further Reading

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