How to Walk a Puppy on a Leash
Whether you've recently brought home a fluffy bundle of puppy joy or recently found your perfect canine partner at the local shelter, every dog-owner relationship requires a significant amount of time and work to teach crucial life lessons and skills. Our dogs aren't born knowing how to understand human speech, and they indeed aren't born knowing how to walk politely on a leash.
Every dog should be able to walk on a leash at some point. It not only allows them to go with you, their favorite human, but it also protects them and protects other dogs and people, too. Whether you live in the city or prefer the peace of the countryside, your dog should always be walked on a leash.
It takes time to teach them to walk alongside you, but you and your dog will soon be taking daily walks together with patience and sound reinforcement.
How to Walk a Puppy on a Leash
Educate a Marker
A marker (also known as a bridging stimulus) is a sound or a hand signal that indicates when your dog achieved something that earned them a reinforcer (a treat).
An excellent marker example is a clicker and a conditioned reinforcer. A constant phrase like yes or sound or a hand signal such as a thumbs-up can suffice if you don't have a clicker. But make a decision and stick to it. Please make a note of the behavior as soon as you notice it. Your instruction will be more effective if you make precise and speedy marks.
Establish a Positive Relationship
Your dog must be comfortable and like wearing walking equipment before taking an outdoor trip with you. His collar, leash, and maybe a body harness are all included. Make sure you're in a peaceful, distraction-free section of your house, such as the living room. Allow time for your dog to become accustomed to wearing each item.
Put his collar on while playing inside your home and before you take it to go potty, mark and reinforce each time you do so by giving your dog a treat. Attach the leash to the collar for short periods throughout the day, making sure you note and treat him every time he takes a few steps. If you're going to use a body harness, start by placing it over his head and connecting the straps with goodies and praise.
Instruct your dog to pay attention to you.
It may appear that you should start training the puppy to walk on a leash, but you must first ensure that he is paying attention; otherwise, he will pull and dart around. Wait patiently for your dog to make even quick eye contact or gaze at you (this is capturing) before marking and reinforcing.
Repeat this process until your dog realizes that staring at you is getting rewards. You can also provide a "cue" for attention. Just when your dog is going to look at you, say look or eyes, then mark, reinforce, and reward.
Experiment With the command "Here"
Training a puppy to walk on a leash is an excellent approach to avoid future problems with tugging or forging ahead. It's also an ideal approach to educate your dog to come "here" when called without the chance of his bolting.
Toss a treat a few steps away from you while your dog is wearing his collar and leash. Say "here" and rapidly label and reinforce the instant he moves towards you after consuming the food and turning back around to face you. Rep this process until it's a game of tossing a treat and then turning around to come back to you for another.
Begin by taking a step backward.
Although it may appear paradoxical, taking backward steps is an excellent method to get your dog going without encouraging him to pull. Please take a few steps backward with your dog wearing his collar and leash, and when he follows you, mark, reinforce, and praise him. Increase the number of steps you take backward gradually.
Begin by taking two or three steps ahead, then turn and take another two or three steps forward. If he stays by your side, mark him and reinforce him.
Outside, Practice Taking a Few Steps on the Leash
You can start moving outside once your dog has mastered the basics of leash training inside, but make sure to select a location with minimal distractions. Your garage or backyard are also viable possibilities. Practice taking a few steps and then stopping to ask for help.
Every few steps while in motion, mark and reinforce for moments of excellent leash walking, and anytime you pause, wait for their attention and then reinforce. Don't be in a hurry! Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby
Gradually increase the distance between you and the object.
Gradually make your way out of your house and into the neighborhood. Begin by walking a short distance, such as a couple of places, and gradually increase the space as your dog gains confidence. Make careful to mark and reinforce your dog's progress until they have mastered this set of skills.
It takes practice to master the art of coordinating the mark and treating while moving, but with a few days of training, you'll be a pro. Keep going and stay positive!
Despite their seemingly unlimited amounts of energy, puppies have short attention spans. A young dog will not be able to walk great distances with you until they have matured and grown.
Allow your dog to smell, pee on trees and bushes (doggie email), and enjoy being outside with you by being patient. Walkies should always be enjoyable, not a job or an opportunity to practice precise heeling.