Leash Training Puppies

Many new puppy owners look forward to taking their dogs on walks right away. But before they can safely and calmly take these adventures together, they need to introduce their puppy to the skills they’ll need on lead. In this video, Mike Stewart teaches how to introduce puppies to the lead, as well as waiting, heel, and other commands essential for leash training puppies.

Introduction To Puppy Lead Work : Video Transcript

Mike Stewart: Everybody wants an obedient, controllable puppy when they go out on town, walked through the fields, one that doesn't pull on the lead. We'd like to have a dog that we could take anywhere, that would it be enjoyable, and it's not going to be dragging us about. But we're not going to start with the lead to teach this skill. The puppy obviously is going to pull. He's going to jump. He's going to chew the lead. So how can we avoid training in a behavior we really don't want? What we are going to start with instead is a 10 foot metal cable, and he's going to learn that pulling on this cable, does him no good at all. And in a few weeks, he's going to be nice and patient, quiet, not marking, not making noise for attention. Then we will be able to take the dog out and start teaching lead work.

Start with a flat collar, never a slip collar. That's too dangerous and teach him to tie out with the cable. We anchor the cable with a stake. I recommend staking the puppy out in the area where you gone want him to relieve himself in the future. And so when he does his business about in this area, this becomes familiar place to him. The duration of time that we would keep a puppy on tie varies by age and weather conditions. On a pretty warm day you could keep a puppy out here for oh half hour to an hour and then start lengthening that time. We would not leave free choice food or water on the ground about because they would learn to play in that, turn it over and you're creating a behavior that's really going to be unpopular later on. So he's already settling down really nicely.

And when he stops pulling on this cable, it's time to get our lead and take him to the street. We're ready to make a transition now from the tie out to actually teach the puppy to lead. You notice the puppy's on one side. This is the three month old pup. He's learning to lead. We're not going to try to teach heel. He can't comprehend really heel work, but you can teach the pup to be calm and quiet on lead. So we're going to go forwards, backwards and reverse heel, we call it. We back away from the puppy rather than calling him to us offset. Just do reverse heel, back away from him. You notice the puppy stays on the left side of Danielle. Through repetition and consistency, we want the puppy to begin heeling and learning to heel on one specific side and be comfortable either on the left side or the right side. The most powerful communicator to a pup is body language, not what you say, just your posture, it's your demeanor, and of course, it's your tone.

So the cueing the pup is much better than trying to steer the pup. As we move forward and stop, Danielle's going to attempt to take one step and the puppy, stay still. Back up, reward, and one more step. What she's attempting to do now is teach in small pieces. Do not move when I move. Only move on command. And it begins in such a small piece as a baby step instead of trying to a sweeping concept of leaving the puppy at sit and walking away and coming back. You won't get that on a little pup. The only you going to get is a small piece of it. This transfers to your dog bed in the home as well.

You can teach the puppy to stay on that bed and take one small step and back away. And they're learning what stay means and not moving without a command. The pup is learning well and we want to keep our sessions short to keep the puppy's focus, maybe two to three minutes. Do it on a hard surface where you don't have any smells or distractions. We'll add distractions later. No kids running about or other dogs. We want to hold that puppy's attention. Moreover, keep it fun, keep it short and keep it interesting.