Dog Leash Training
How to Teach your Puppy to Walk on Leash

Among the many skills your dog will ever learn, there is no shadow of doubt that dog leash training is one of the most important.

Whether you are taking your dog for a jog on the boardwalk or a romp on an old country road, most likely your dog will be wearing a collar and leash.

Teaching your puppy to walk on leash is a skill that takes some time to master, but it is a great investment that will remain for the rest of the dog's life.

And while leash training is not complicated, to achieve the results in the shortest time possible, you will need to avoid some common mistakes.

Why is Dog Leash Training so Important?

The main purpose of puppy leash training is to provide safety to your pet. Civilization exposes dogs to many perils on a daily basis. For example, dog leash training can prevent your dog from escaping, chasing wildlife, injuring someone or crossing a road bustling with traffic. Not to mention the fact that in most municipalities it is even unlawful to keep a dog off leash in a public place.

Best of all, a dog trained to walk politely on a leash is a pleasure to take along for delightful strolls in the park or around the neighborhood. Dogs that are leash trained also get to enjoy many more privileges in life compared to dogs that were never trained to walk on leash or that have a tendency to pull on the leash.

Dog Leash Training

The Importance of Starting Good Leash Manners in Puppies

Learning to walk politely on the leash is one of the earliest skills your puppy will learn. It is never too early to start the process of dog leash training your canine companion. Indeed, you can start introducing your puppy to a collar and leash right after he adjusts to your new home and family.


At first, forget about the fancy heeling seen in show rings where dogs carry their heads high and keep their shoulders perfectly aligned with the handler's knee; right now we are not looking for perfection.

It is completely normal for your puppy to resist the collar and lead the very first time they are introduced. Don't give up. The rolling, pawing and scratching behaviors are only temporary and will subside once the puppy habituates to the new feeling. The secret for a fast adjustment is to not make a big deal about it while distracting the puppy with play and treats; indeed, sooner rather than later, wearing the collar and leash will become second nature.

When to Introduce a Puppy to Basic Leash Manners?

You may need to have your puppy leashed when taking him outdoors to eliminate. This is another good reason why the earlier you start leash training your puppy, the better. The main advantage of training puppies good leash manners from the onset is that puppies are quick learners, especially when provided with gentle guidance and loads of praise.

Puppies learn at different rates, but generally, most puppies will learn the dog leash training basics fairly quickly within a week or two of walking several times every day on the leash.

Make your dog leash training sessions brief and rewarding; remember that puppies have short attention spans, so keep it short and sweet!

To start leash training your puppy, visit your local pet store and look at the aisle selling dog training leashes and collars. Invest in a buckle collar, a 4 or 6 foot leash and some small, bite-sized treats that your puppy loves.

Guide to Leash Training Your Dog or Puppy

The first step in leash training a puppy or dog is getting him used to a collar.

Start a play session or feed your puppy every time the collar is on. Once he gets used to wearing a collar, you can work on attaching the leash and allowing him to get used to the feel. It may help to use a drag leash for the very first days so the leash does not get caught on furniture and the puppy does not repeatedly trip on the leash. And make it clear from the beginning that the leash is not another chew toy!

Once your puppy gets used to the drag leash, you can then attach a regular leash to the collar and practice walking your puppy indoors.

Make sure you reward your puppy every time the leash is slack and he is walking right next to you. If your puppy pulls ahead, stop in your tracks and call him back to your side and reward him for being next to you and then resume walking. Alternatively, the moment your puppy pulls, you can head in the opposite direction and reward when he catches up and the leash is loose again. Make it clear that a tight leash makes you stop, while a loose leash makes you walk. Turn dog leash training into a fun game!

Important Leash Safety Considerations

A collar and leash are mainly meant to promote safety, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind in order to use these items safely. Following are some considerations to keep in mind when leash training a puppy:

  1. Never keep your puppy on a leash unsupervised; dog training leashes are safe only under close supervision.
  2. If you own a small breed predisposed to tracheal collapse, consider investing in a dog walking harness rather than a collar.
  3. When working on dog leash training, try to avoid using retractable leashes if possible; many have caused injuries to dogs and owners and they ultimately train a dog to pull.
  4. If your puppy has not yet completed his vaccinations, avoid walking in areas where many dogs aggregate.
  5. Once your dog leash training session is over, remember to remove your puppy's collar and leash upon being crated.
  6. Check you puppy's collar every now and then as puppies outgrow them quite quickly.
  7. Once your puppy is used to wearing a collar and leash, make sure to attach your puppy's ID tags.
  8. Skip any dog training collars such as choke collars or prong collars; your puppy at this stage should just wear a plain buckle collar.

Here is a brief video that talks about some of the things we just covered...

Final Thoughts...

It is a fact that dogs trained to walk politely on the leash face fewer dangers and get to have more fun. It is much easier to train a puppy to walk politely on a leash from scratch than teaching an older dog that has a history of having established certain behaviors. The time invested in dog leash training a puppy is well worth all the time and effort.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

If you are a new dog owner and want to learn more about dog behavior and obedience training, including how to walk your dog on leash, I highly recommend you read and follow this Secrets to Dog Training guide. It's written by a professional dog trainer and is full of techniques you can use to modify your dog's behavior.


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