Let's Go for a Walk: Teaching Puppy to Wear a LeashGoing for daily walks with your puppy will not only satisfy his need for regular exercise, but also provide the mental stimulation and opportunities for socialization so important during a young dog’s development.
 
Puppies aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash so a little coaching is helpful. You will need the right tools -- including a six-foot leash and a properly fitted flat buckle collar (also referred to as a street collar). The collar should be loose enough to spin around your puppy’s neck, but snug enough that it won’t slip over his head if either of you pulls on the leash. 

Introduce your puppy to her leash and collar in a safe and fun environment. Soft, moist training treats can be helpful in creating positive associations with her walking gear. Our Canine Manners dog obedience trainers use Train-Me! Liver and Bacon Treats. Give small bits of treat while fitting her collar and attaching her leash. Encourage her to move around on leash using a treat as a lure. Enthusiastically praise her efforts!

Remaining in one spot, allow your puppy a bit of freedom to explore within the radius of the leash. If he tugs on the leash, don’t give him more slack. Don’t yank or drag your puppy (and don’t let him drag you either!). Maintain a firm hold on the leash and crouch down, offering a treat and praise when he moves toward you. As he gets more comfortable, his little protests about who is in charge of the leash will subside. Reward cooperation!

A dangling leash can be too much temptation for a puppy to ignore. The best way to avoid having your puppy chew or tug on his leash is to not allow it to dangle near his face. Hold his leash up above him, as if it’s coming right out of the back of his head. There should be just enough slack in the leash that the buckle sags when it touches him; you aren’t holding him in place with any upwards pressure. 

Have an upbeat, happy attitude while walking and talk to your puppy encouragingly as you go. Be realistic about how far your puppy can go before she is just too tired: remember, she has to make it home too!