Many people think that dogs naturally know how to walk properly on a leash. But these skills are not innate at all. Fortunately, it is not very difficult to teach a puppy to walk on a leash. We give you some tips:
Simply start by getting used to a collar or harness and leash . Let him wear it indoors for short periods of time, such as when you are playing together and you are giving him treats . In this way, your dog will associate the collar and leash with pleasure and food.
Practice within some commands to get your pup to come to you. For example, offer a snack and let the puppy come to you, using a command as desired. For example “come here”. When your puppy is almost there, take a step back and the puppy should come a little closer. Puppies have a short attention span, so keep sessions short.
When you’re ready to get out there, new challenges await. Sounds, smells, movements, everything is equally interesting for your puppy. Be patient and keep the first walks short. If you see your pup getting distracted, use your practiced command. Step back and reward your pup when he comes to you.
But what if dog gets distracted?
If your dog wants to chase after something during a walk – another dog, a cat or the mailman, for example – try to get his attention back to you with a snack before he has a chance to run away and create enough space between your puppy and his target. Take charge. Be prepared when the target approaches. This behavior is known, for example, in sheepdogs.
And what if the puppy barks?
Some dogs have a habit of barking at other dogs. Usually this is due to lack of exercise. Make sure your dog is getting adequate mental and physical stimulation for his breed. If the problem still persists then use the same method as above. Step back and tempt him with candies .
But what if the puppy pulls?
If your dog starts to pull, stand still. Do not move again until the dog comes back to you. Do not pull on the leash to get your dog to come to you. There are also special harnesses and collars designed for dogs that pull a lot.
Teaching puppy to run free
If you plan to let your dog run free to let him play freely and explore the environment, it is good to practice this while it is still a puppy.
It often works to make it fun for the puppy to come back to its owner. This can be done by rewarding him. There are several training snacks that you can use to reward a dog the moment it comes back.
The golden rule for teaching your puppy to walk free is: practice, practice and practice some more. Call your dog back to you regularly, without necessarily having to. Don’t forget to reward him or her for his good behavior! If the dog is at a longer distance, you could also use a dog whistle to signal that the dog has to come back.
It is also good for a dog to follow certain rules. Running loose in the woods is very different from running around cars or cyclists. To avoid confusion with the dog, it is good to have rules for this. For example, give the dog a command when he is allowed to walk completely free, and another command to keep walking next to you.
Please note, a dog is not allowed to run loose everywhere. So pay close attention to whether this is allowed or not. Of course, no one is waiting for an unexpected fine.