A leash and collar are invaluable training tools that allow you to communicate with your puppy, they keep him safe and under your control, and most states require them when you take him to public places. You can begin leash training puppy within the first few days after he arrives home starting with the gentle introduction of a collar and lead.
Introducing the collar
The first step in leash training is to introduce your puppy to a collar. You should begin with a flat nylon or leather buckle collar. Either one is easy to use and provides a convenient place to keep your puppy’s name tag and license. Make sure the collar fits securely. You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between the collar and your pup’s neck. If it’s any looser, you won’t be able to give effective corrections with a leash; if it’s any tighter, you could choke your puppy. Learn how to choose a dog collar.
Your pup may not be too pleased with his collar when you first put it on. You may catch him scratching at it or shaking his head. This is completely normal as he gets used to the sensation of the collar around his neck. He’ll quickly forget he has it on and, after a day or two, he should be comfortable wearing it. At that point it’s time to move on to the next phase of leash training puppy.
Introducing the leash or lead
Once your puppy has been introduced to a collar successfully, you can add the leash or lead. To start, attach the leash to puppy’s collar and let him drag it around the house. This serves as a gentle introduction to the leash and allows your puppy to get used to the slight pulling pressure on his neck. Leash training should progress as naturally as possible to avoid fear or hostility toward the training equipment.
As your puppy walks around the house, pick up the leash occasionally and walk with him. Talk to your pup in an enthusiastic, encouraging voice as you walk together. Keep the leash held waist high.
A few problems may arise at this point:
Puppy pulls on the leash
If your pup starts to pull on the lead, don’t pull back. He’ll think it’s a game, which will only promote the behavior and add an unneeded complication to leash training in the future. Remember, this is only the introductory phase of training. Let go of the leash and call your puppy to you. After a few minutes, pick the leash up and try again.
Puppy chews on the leash
You can’t properly correct your puppy during leash training if the leash is in his mouth. Spray Bitter Apple or a similar product on the leash to keep him from chewing it.
Puppy wraps the leash around your legs
If you’re constantly being caught up in the leash as you work with your puppy, it’s probably too long. Try holding the leash further toward the collar for more control. If this solves the problem, you may need to buy a shorter leash. Learn how to choose a dog leash.
Again, leash training puppy should only progress as quickly as your pup is willing to go. Don’t expect him to walk on a leash in perfect form the first day out. Once he’s comfortable with the collar and lead, you can begin to ask more of him and start preliminary obedience exercises.