Puppy Training 101: Intro to Leash Walking! — The puppy academy (2023)

Good leash manners are an important life skill for puppies! Get them ready for outings in the real world with this simple, motivating exercise!

Nothing is more exciting than harnessing your pup, putting him on a leash and heading out into the neighborhood! Did your first attempt at walking end when your pup tried to walk with you? Or did your pup seem to want to do everything but walk with you? This could be because you missed a first step: introducing your pup to leash walking!

Puppies often do not understand why they are on a leash. All they want is go, go, go! Learning to walk on a leash without pulling is an important milestone for many puppies. For many new puppy owners, teaching your puppy to follow your lead can be a challenge, but there are steps you can take to make the learning process effective, fun and successful! It starts with engaging your pup, working through distractions, communicating using the lead on the leash, and getting him used to following your lead on the leash!


(Video) How to teach your puppy to WALK ON LEASH! 🐕

Introduction to "Let's go!"

Before your pup is ready for "Heel" command training, start by introducing a Go! they transition to learning the "Heel" command even faster. This will further reinforce the leash-leading technique we covered in our previous blog,"Puppy Training 101: How to Get Your Puppy Respond to Come!"and clear the lines of communication between you and your pup.

"Let's Go" is a very uplifting command and a lot more relaxed and fluid compared to "Down" or even "Heel" (which we'll cover in a future blog!) makes it that much more appealing! This is particularly helpful at times when your pup's curious energy leads him to distraction! While it won't stop your pup's desire to pull something new and exciting, it can help refocus your pup so he can move through the distractions more easily. Remember, it's natural for puppies to pull on the leash, that's what puppies do! "Let's go!" you'll start teaching them to follow suit, for a much calmer, more controlled walk that you'll both be able to enjoy!

So what's the difference between "Come on!" and the "Come" command to get your pup's attention? The purpose of "Let's go!" is to help motivate your pup to follow you as you walk with you while there are distractions. Rather than asking your pup to "Come" and then pulling away several times, this is the command you'll use regularly while walking. And another difference is "Let's go!" it is fluid and meant to be used on the go. Emulate a real-life situation and use the leash on the collar to get your pup to move and follow your lead.

How to Teach Your Dog "Come!"

Start inside, and before teaching your pup to walk on a leash, get him moving first with a fun warm-up routine of familiar commands that will motivate him to listen to you and work towards his reward, food! ! You can do this with a simple review of your previously learned commands: Put it down, Put it down and Come! Start by luring or asking your pup to come to your "place". Once there, say "Come" and take a few steps away from your dog. At this point you can reward your pup for coming to you or even incorporate aplace pattern routineto another "Place" dog bed or pet crib. Make it a little more challenging and fun by having your pup "fall" while in place. Repeat this process several times over the course of two to three minutes, at which point your puppy will be ready for the more challenging job of walking on leash.

Once your pup is warmed up and ready to work, you can start teaching him "Let's go!" while walking on a leash! At first, start leash training your puppy indoors, where there are fewer distractions, and walk a few steps with your puppy in harness and on a leash. When your pup starts to pull in the opposite direction, apply light pressure to the leash and change the direction you are walking. remember that youbelt guideIt should be at your pup's side, not behind, which will help guide him easily to change direction. At that point, to establish command and direct them, say "Let's go!" in an optimistic tone. You can even pat the leg or whistle, whichever method you want to convey to your pup that you want his attention!

The moment your pup turns towards you, release the pressure on the collar and immediately let go. Mark correct behavior with the word "Good" and reward them with food! Continue this process by walking a few steps in the other direction and repeat. Throughout the training routine, if there are times when your pup makes eye contact, mark this behavior as "Good" and occasionally give him a treat. Why? Making eye contact shows your pup is engaged and looking out for your lead. This will be important when you move on to training your puppy later on!

All of this may seem like you're going around in circles, and that's because you're just starting out! Start this introduction to leash walking at home, then move out into the backyard, onto the sidewalk, and eventually take short walks around the block as you practice this routine. Practice with your pup often, ten to fifteen minutes each day, until he begins to respond and learns to focus on you for instructions.


(Video) Dog Training 101: How to Train ANY DOG the Basics | best dog trainer

Important tips to remember

(Video) How to Leash Train your Puppy!

The whole point of teaching your pup "Let's go!" is to get your pup to move away from a distraction and learn to focus on following you while walking on leash. Once outside, you'll be competing for their attention against the neighbor outside, gardening, other dogs walking their owners, leaves blowing in the wind, squirrels... there are so many distractions for the puppies! A "Let's go!" Highly motivating, plus proper application of light pressure on the leash and change of direction will encourage your pup to start following your cue.

To help you narrow down the key elements for introducing your pup to leash walking, we've put together these top tips:

  1. When your pup starts pulling, don't let him get where "they" want to go. Change direction immediately!

    (Video) How to Train Your Puppy Leash Walking & Stay!

  2. Use a highly motivating and engaging tone when you say "Let's go!" your pup to get your attention.

  3. Some puppies need extra encouragement. Pat him on the leg lightly or even whistle to make him want to go your way.

  4. Use the lead on the leash with light pressure on the pup's side, rather than his back, to get him to turn in the right direction. Once they do, remember to release the pressure immediately to give them some slack. This will help them start to associate that no leash tension = good!

  5. Start slow! Work with your pup indoors until he starts to follow your cue, then move into the garden.

  6. Practice practice practice! Repetition is vital to learning good leash walking manners, and for the first few weeks you should practice every day for at least ten to fifteen minutes with your pup.

Soon, you and your pup will be able to hit town! We encourage you to keep practicing this routine in new places to reinforce lasting good manners with your pup wherever you go. And be sure to follow our Puppy Training 101 blog series! We'll cover more leash training, including advanced training your pup to walk on a leash using the "Peel" command, plus more puppy obedience skills!

(Video) puppy training basics | best canine training

Check out these puppy training related blogs and more!

Puppy Training 101: Teaching Your Puppy Place Command Routines!

Dog Training 101: How to Get Your Dog to Respond to Come!

Puppy Training 101: Teach Your Puppy to Stay Still!


What age should you start leash training a puppy? ›

When to start leash training your puppy. You can start teaching leash lessons as soon as you bring your puppy home. Ideally puppies will remain with their mothers for the first eight to 12 weeks, so you'd likely be starting around this time, but you can introduce basic principles earlier.

What is the first step in training your dog to walk with a leash? ›

7 Steps to Teaching Your Dog to Enjoy Walking on Leash
  1. Teach a Marker. ...
  2. Teach Your Dog to Give Attention. ...
  3. Start Moving by Backing Up. ...
  4. Practice With "Come" ...
  5. Practice Taking a Few Steps on Leash Outside. ...
  6. Gradually Increase Distance.
Feb 12, 2021

What are the first 5 commands to teach a puppy? ›

Basic Puppy Commands
  • Teach your dog to Sit. This is a basic, and easy to teach, command. ...
  • Teach your dog to Come. This command could literally be a life-saver. ...
  • Teach your dog to Give It or Drop It. ...
  • Teach your dog to Heel or With Me. ...
  • Teach your dog to Lie Down or Down. ...
  • Teach your dog to Stay.
Nov 20, 2017

Is it better to train a puppy with a collar or harness? ›

Which is Safest: Harness or Collar? While a flat collar is best for everyday wear and for displaying ID tags, our experts agree that a harness is the safest option for going on walks and other outdoor activities or situations that might cause your puppy to pull on the leash.

What is best for a puppy collar or harness? ›

Collars are also better for dogs that don't pull and can calmly walk by your side. Harnesses are better for overly excited dogs as you have more control over them. Smaller dogs and brachycephalic breeds should avoid wearing a collar. It is absolutely advisable to get your puppy used to both, collar and harness.

What are the 7 basic commands for dog training? ›

More specifically, a well-behaved pup should respond to seven directions in order to become a good canine citizen: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No.

How do you train a puppy to walk on a leash and not bite it? ›

So, when you're walking and your dog starts to chew its leash, do the following:
  1. Stop walking.
  2. Use a treat to divert her attention away from the leash.
  3. Don't give her a treat right away.
  4. Make her do a trick, such as sit, stay, or look.
  5. Give her the treat to reward that behaviour instead.

Is it OK to drag puppy on leash? ›

Pulling and dragging a pup can not only injure their necks and dislocate knees and elbows that are still rubbery (and with growth plates still not closed), but also give them a highly negative, unhappy association with you, the leash, and going on walks. Dragging and using force can only make matters worse!

How do I get my dog to stop pulling on walks? ›

How To Stop A Dog From Pulling On The Leash
  1. Invest in Power Steering. Changing the equipment you use to walk your dog can make a huge difference in your experience right away. ...
  2. Use Your Movement to Your Advantage. ...
  3. Exercise Your Dog Before You Walk. ...
  4. Train Your Dog To Have Good Leash Manners. ...
  5. Set Your Dog Up For Success.

How do I train my dog not to pull? ›

If your dog begins to pull on the leash, stop immediately and get your dog's attention. Ask her to sit, then put your treat hand back in front of her nose and start walking again. Practice daily for at least a week, then stop luring your dog with treats in your hand.

What are the three D's of dog training? ›

The three Ds are duration, distance, and distraction, and they affect almost any behavior. Dogs don't generalize well, meaning if they learn to sit in front of you, they don't automatically know that “sit” means the same thing when you're on the other side of the room.

What should I teach my puppy in order? ›

According to Ray, the basic commands that every dog should learn (in this order) are: heel, sit, stay, and come. Heel – With the dog at knee level on your left side and the leash in your hand, start walking with your left foot first as you give the "Heel" command, using the dog's name.

Should I keep a collar on my puppy at all times? ›

All veterinarians and dog trainers would agree that the collar is not designed to be a 24/7 accessory. Another good reason to remove it at night is nonstop wear could cause fur to break off leading to irritation or infection. The risk jumps if the collar frequently gets wet or if it's a bit too tight.

Should you keep a collar on a puppy all the time? ›

If your dog is still a small puppy and hasn't received all of their shots yet, they should be indoors at all times because they're still vulnerable to exposure. Therefore, a collar is not necessary.

How do you toilet train a puppy? ›

Give your dog plenty of opportunities to go to the toilet in an appropriate place. Take them out when they wake up, after every meal, after playtime, before bed, before you leave them and when you come back, and then every 45 minutes.
These include:
  1. Fidgeting,
  2. Sniffing around,
  3. Beginning to circle before squatting.

Do vets recommend collars or harnesses? ›

Harnesses are usually the best choice for walking dogs because they don't put pressure on the neck. But collars are generally more comfortable and have a place to hold an ID tag. You should use a harness and not a collar if you have a dog prone to breathing issues (like a pug).

How do you tell a puppy apart? ›

If all the puppies appear similar, you can identify the puppies using non-toxic, permanent marker pens to mark each one on the abdomen (you can use various colors of permanent markers). You could also tie different colors of ribbon or rick-rack loosely around each puppy's neck to identify them.

Is it easier to leash train a puppy with a harness on? ›

Putting your puppy on a harness will train him not to pull on the leash while on walks together. A harness could also keep your little guy safe on a leash. Strong pups could pull so hard their necks could be injured or they could pull their owners down.

What are the 4 D's of dog training? ›

The four D's are Duration, Distance, Distraction and Diversity. Below is a brief description of each and why they are so important.

What is the no command for dogs? ›

Essentially, your dog wants your approval. So, rather than yelling or constantly saying “No”, quicker progress can be made by teaching your dog a 'no' signal – one that tells him to stop whatever he is doing whenever he hears it. A suitable command can be “Leave”.

How long does it take to train a dog to walk on a leash without pulling? ›

5-10 minute training sessions are all it takes to have a dog that walks beautifully on leash and will work for you happily.

What to do when dog plays tug of war with leash? ›

The Two-Leash Solution.

If your dog finds leash-tug more reinforcing than high-value treats, or happily swaps back and forth between leash and tug toy, the incompatible-behavior approach doesn't work. Try attaching two leashes to his collar. When he grabs one, hold the other and drop the one he's got.

What should I not let my puppy do? ›

No Yelling, Threatening, Or Physical Punishment.

Punishment teaches a dog nothing, except how to avoid the punishment. It is far better, and far more humane, to teach the pup what to do rather than punish it for something it is doing. Also note, that punishment after the fact is not only inappropriate; it is pointless.

What puppies should not do? ›

DON'T allow your puppy to chew on your hands or other parts of your body. This can become a serious problem that is difficult to break and may cause injury when the dog is older. Also, don't let him or her chew on shoes, socks, or other clothes.

Should you shout no at your puppy? ›

Yelling also can make your dog less likely to respond to your commands, which makes you more frustrated and likely to yell. New research and most dog-training experts recommend you stop yelling at your dog and instead use a soft, quiet voice when you talk to your dog.

How do you walk a dog that pulls and barks? ›

When you see your dog about to start barking, capture his attention and stop him by calling his name and drawing him towards you, you can also use the command such as 'look', then give him a click and treat when he does this. It should take his attention off whatever was making him bark.

What does it mean when a dog pulls you when walking? ›

Contrary to popular belief, your dog pulling when walking is not a way of exhibiting dominance. Rather, the reason they do this is quite simple. They are excited, so excited in fact that they don't want their walk to end and so they keep moving forward.

How do you stop a dog from pulling and lunging on a leash? ›

A buckle collar can put a lot of pressure on your dog's throat when they lunge. A front-clip harness is a better choice. It will put the pressure on your dog's chest and help turn them back toward you when they spring forward. A head halter (also called a head harness) is another option for a leash-reactive dog.

What is the dog calming code? ›

Instead of your dog doing his own thing, he will be watching you and focused on you and what you want him to do. With The Dog Calming Code in place and a solid relationship set up, you'll find your dog is LISTENING to you, wanting to FOLLOW your lead and TAKE DIRECTION.

How do you teach a puppy no? ›

Call your dog over and let him see the treat in your hand. As you close your hand, say "No!". Let him lick and sniff, but do not give him the treat. When he finally gives up and backs away, praise him and give him the treat.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

What is the 5 second rule for dogs? ›

The centre instructs: "Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog." A dog's paws are just as sensitive as human feet and are therefore susceptible getting painfully burned and can suffer these burns even on days you wouldn't consider overly hot.

What the first thing I should teach my puppy? ›

The first things a puppy needs to learn are basic manners, his name, potty training, and not to bite your hands with those sharp teeth. A puppy needs to learn socialization skills, including people, places, and things.

What are release words for dogs? ›

Commonly used release words are “okay,” “break,” and “free.” Often a release word is followed by another command such as “come.”

What is bonking in dog training? ›

Known as “bonking,” the measure involves a towel furled into a roll and bound with rubber bands. Jeff Gellman, of Solid K9 Training, throws the roll at the dog's head from a close distance. The force of the impact, which is akin to hitting a dog, deeply concerns many critics.

What is the hardest dog stage? ›

The most challenging time of raising a puppy is the adolescent period. Dogs become “teenagers” and seem to forget everything they have ever been taught. This period is individual to each dog, but it may begin when he's about eight months old and continue until he's two years old.

What is the hardest thing to train a dog to do? ›

The “Winner” is

The hardest part of dog training is doing nothing. It's standing like a statue, not saying anything, not doing anything, while your dog acts a fool. She's barking, jumping, biting at the leash. If you're in public, it's embarrassing and you want to make her stop.

Can I leave my 10 week old puppy home alone? ›

But dogs and puppies need a lot of love and attention, especially when they're young.
How long can I leave my puppy alone for?
Your puppy's ageMaximum time they can be left alone
8 – 10 weeks1 hour
10 – 12 weeks2 hours
3 – 6 months3 hours
1 more row

What is the best time of day to train a puppy? ›

A great time to do this is at your puppy's mealtime, as you can have them work to earn their breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Keep these training sessions short, fun, and motivating for your pup so they can't wait to do them again and again!

Can I leash my 2 month old puppy? ›

As early as a few weeks old, you can introduce your pup to her collar and leash. Wait until she's doing something positive such as feeding, playing, or getting affection from you and slip on the collar and leash. The idea is both to get her used to wearing them and to have her associate them with positive feelings.

Can you walk an 8 week old puppy on a leash? ›

You can start walking your puppy after 1-2 weeks of them being fully vaccinated. This is usually around the 8 week mark. However, make sure you keep a strict eye on them and ask your vet to confirm when they are allowed out on a walk.

How do you leash train a 3 month old puppy? ›

Start out by letting him get used to wearing a collar or harness and a leash. Let him wear them for short periods of time in the house while you are playing with him and giving him treats. The puppy should love collar-and-leash time because it represents food and fun. Teach a cue.

When can I let puppy roam house? ›

My preference is to allow your dog to sleep out of a crate around 4-5 months and to be free completely before a year. Your dog should be housetrained; which means you know how long your dog can hold his bladder and he knows how to ask to go outside to go.

Can I leave my 2 month old puppy alone at night? ›

Short answer: it depends on their age, breed, health, temperament, and other factors. To keep your puppy healthy and happy while you're away, follow this general rule: Puppies younger than 6 months: Leave them alone for 2 hours max at a time. Puppies older than 6 months: Leave them alone for 4 hours max at a time.

Can I leave my 2 month old puppy home alone? ›

According to the American Kennel Club, puppies younger than 10 weeks cannot be left alone for more than an hour. From 3-6 months, they should not be left longer than their age in months (for example, 3-month-old puppies cannot be alone for longer than 3 hours).

How do I stop my puppy from pulling on the leash? ›

Stop immediately and don't move until your pup lets up and there is slack in the leash. You may have to stop again three seconds later and do the same thing and that's okay. Just be consistent about refusing to let them pull. When they pull, turn and head in the other direction.

How to discipline a puppy? ›

5 Steps to Discipline a Puppy without Punishment
  1. Be consistent. ...
  2. Be prompt. ...
  3. Be firm. ...
  4. Use positive reinforcement. ...
  5. Give timeouts. ...
  6. Don't use physical punishment. ...
  7. Don't stare down, drag, or hold down your puppy. ...
  8. Don't shout or scream.
Nov 7, 2021

How many miles should a 3 month old puppy walk? ›

Your puppy's age

A rule of thumb is a puppy can walk five minutes for every month of age starting at eight weeks. So a two-month-old puppy can walk about 10 minutes. What is this? And a three-month-old can walk for 15 minutes; and a four-month-old for 20 minutes.

How do I train my dog to walk on a leash without tugging? ›

A simple method to leash training a puppy without pulling on the leash is to stop moving forward when he pulls, and to reward him with treats when he walks by your side. A treat bag for your waist can be very helpful in the training process.


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