It can be scary to a puppy or a dog who has never been leashed. 1, because the leash can seem like something chasing the dog if it’s dragging behind the dog. 2, it’s restrictive and dogs tend to panic when they are suddenly restricted.
Most puppies are uncomfortable with a leash on their first day of school. We can prevent this stress, by teaching them to be ok with a leash before school starts.
Help your puppy become comfortable with being attached to a leash with the following exercises.
Lure your puppy towards you, attach the leash to the puppy’s collar, and reward the puppy as soon as the leash ‘clicks on. Do not chase after your puppy to clip the leash on, if your pup tends to run away you might have to sit with your pup and reward him for looking at it or sniffing it first so that you can bring it closer to him without him running away.
Do not let the leash drag behind the puppy, hold on to it. If the puppy moves, move with the puppy without applying pressure or pulling the puppy somewhere specific.
If your puppy is not moving, take a treat and toss it forward. Your puppy will run after the treatment so make sure you are ready to move with him and that the leash does not bring him to a sudden halt. A sudden jolting stop might cause your pup to panic so do not toss the treat far away.
You can start to move around like this with your puppy on the leash around the house and the yard to help him get used to it. Eventually, these movements with become smoother. Just make very sure that you do not use the leash to move your pup in a specific direction. While we are training the puppy, we are using food to guide the puppy around.
When puppies feel restricted, they will bite or chew their leash. Take a treat and hold it out to the puppy at his nose’s height. The puppy will let go of the leash to take the treat. As soon as he drops the leash, say the cue OUT or DROP and give the puppy the treat. (Always give the treat, do not tease your puppy)
Once you have spent about ten minutes (you might have to gauge this, some pups might only be able to do these exercises for about five minutes.) Lure the puppy towards you and clip the leash off. Reward your puppy for letting you remove the leash.
One leash does not fit all. If you have a small breed dog, you should get a longer leash so that you can walk comfortably and so that the dog has enough space away from your feet. If you have a large breed, you can invest in a standard leash or get a shorter leash to help keep your dog close.
Avoid using Flexi leads, these leads usually only lead to injury. Either yourself, your pup or other people. It’s quite a hassle to try and train your pup while you are holding the Flexi lead as well. Be careful with Bungee leashes. They might take some strain off your shoulders, but your dog can get closer, quicker to other dogs or people than you think.
Avoid wrapping the leash around your hand, wrist or arm. When you are walking a puppy, this is not necessary and adds tension. If you are doing this because you are walking a strong, pully dog, you are going to be minus a shoulder soon. Use a shorter leash instead and do some loose leash training with your dog.