Follow the tips below to help your puppy have better leash manners. Need more help? Stop by one of our free seminars or talk with one of our dog trainers. Train your puppy to walk on a leash by using the right tools, treats and timing. Practice a little every day so your puppy can learn.
- Start with the right equipment. For puppies, we recommend:
- A flat buckle collar or body harness
- A six-foot leash made of cotton or nylon
- A variety of treats that your puppy loves, plus plenty of pea-sized treats
- A pouch to hold the treats
- Introduce him to the idea of a leash.
- Start by letting your puppy drag the leash around the house for a few minutes. This will get him used to the weight of the clip and leash. Supervise your puppy so he doesn't get tangled in furniture.
- Pick up the end of the leash and follow your puppy around. Give him treats to make it a fun game. A five-minute session is just the right length of training time per day for your puppy.
- Start with the basics.
- Once your puppy is comfortable with this game, grab your treats.
- Take a few steps backward.
- Encourage your puppy, crouching down as necessary, to follow you. Stop and reward your puppy when he is by your side on a loose leash.
- If your puppy starts to pull out in front, stop until he turns to see why you aren’t following.
- Call your puppy to you in a happy voice and then praise him for coming.
- Start walking a few steps again.
- Pretty soon your puppy will figure out that a lot of treats and praise come when he’s at your side.
- Move into loose leash training.
- To encourage your puppy to walk with you, start by standing still.
- Take a deep breath and just stand with your puppy by your side.
- Place one of his favorite treats in your left hand and reward him when he’s close to you with the leash loose.
- He will start to associate a loose leash with getting his favorite snack and will quickly learn that keeping the leash loose pays.
- When in doubt, stand still until your dog loosens the leash by coming back to you.
Practice these tips for about two to three minutes a day. Need more tips? Visit your local Petco and talk with one of our dog trainers!
Looking for tips from the pros? Attend one of our FREE dog training workshops or schedule one of our dog training classes. Find a dog training class near you >