- “Get your puppy used to wearing a simple flat 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. Once they are used to the collar, you can start to get them accustomed to the feeling of the lead dragging behind them. An easy way to do this is to attach the lead and let them run around or play in the backyard under your supervision.
- Now you can start to pick up the lead and train them to walk alongside you. Some puppies may just start trotting happily alongside you, but others can be more challenging.
The two main problems that you are likely to encounter are:
• 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 their level and enticing them to move forwards with a treat or favourite toy. As they move forwards give them lots of praise. Be patient and in time you will find that they become more confident about walking with you.
• Puppy Pulls on Lead
Pulling on the lead means your puppy is excited and can’t wait to get out and explore the world! If your puppy begins to pull, stop and call them back to you and praise them when they come. Start walking again, this time with a handful of treats in the hand closest to the puppy. Lure your pup along with the treats in the desired direction, giving them plenty of praise and a treat every few moments to reward the behaviour. Once again, if your puppy begins to pull, 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 they start 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 who pulls, you could also try using a head collar (Halti or the like). These are designed to distribute pressure from pulling to bring your puppy’s attention back to you.
Walking on a lead can be a challenge for puppies at first, but with perseverance, kindness and some tasty treats as motivation, they will soon be walking nicely on the lead beside you.”
(Content acknowledgement to Pet Circle)