Feel like you're being dragged along on your walks with the new pup? Train your dog to walk like a well-mannered pooch with our tips on introducing your pup to walk on a leash.
Use a Harness
As soon as you introduce a leash, your puppy will get the instinct to pull because of the constriction. It's a good idea to start her off walking in a harness as it will be more ergonomic for your pup until she learns to walk without tugging. Have your puppy wear the harness around the house as often as possible so she can get used to the feel of it—she'll try to shake and scratch it off at first, but the quicker she can get comfortable in the harness, the faster she'll feel natural walking in it.
Begin your leash walking training in your house by leading her on mini walks indoors. Use a smaller leash and make sure that the leash is loose at all times. As soon as she starts to tug, stop walking immediately and call your pup back by your side, then continue walking after she's come back to you. By guiding her through these mini walks and correcting her along the way, she'll learn that she's expected to walk by your side the entire time.
Stick with One Side
To minimize confusion, train your dog to walk on one side of you. As a personal preference, I prefer walking my dog on the right hand side (I'm right-handed and the right side is further away from street traffic). If your pup tries to circle around to the other side, stop walking, call her to you, and then gently guide her back to the correct side.
Be a Leader
When you start taking your dog on outdoor walks, keep in mind that you are the leader of the walk. Definitely allow your dog to go to the bathroom, but be mindful of her spending too much time sniffing around when she's first learning how to go on walks. This kind of exploration should be a reward, and after she's exhibited good walking behavior for a period of time, you can reward her by letting her sniff and explore. Be sure to be firm when you call her back to continue the walk—after all, the purpose of the walk is exercise, not to claim the streets as your puppy's personal territory.
Most of all, have patience and be diligent in training your puppy. This hard work will pay off when your dog becomes a marvelous, happy and obedient dog in years to come!