How To Train Your Puppy To Walk On A Leash?

Taking your new puppy out into the world is one of the delights of being a puppy parent. However, it might be easy or difficult depending on where you live. If you’re in the suburbs or even further out in a rural area, a big backyard might make walking your puppy almost unnecessary. They’ll get plenty of exercises if you play with them, teach them to fetch sticks, and so forth, all from the comfort of your ample yard space.

However, if you’re in a busy suburb of a city, bringing your puppy out into the world is a little more tricky. There are more dangers to deal with, including cars, buses, and even bicycles. Even in a peaceful and quiet suburb, you can’t take your puppy out and simply walk around with them due to the danger of, for example, other dogs, other animals, running off, etc., etc. 

In those situations, or when you want to accomplish specific tasks like visiting the veterinarian, you’ll need to put your puppy on a leash. It’s the best way to control them, protect them, and ensure they can’t run off and get hurt. A question I regularly see from readers related directly to this subject is “How to train your puppy to walk on a leash?”

The answer to this vital question is that there are several methods that you can successfully use to leash train a puppy. Most of them require the same patience, persistence, and effort on the part of both you and your new pup. The time and effort it takes to leash train a puppy also depends on their breed, age, sex, and several other factors. 

Now that you know the basics of how to train your puppy to walk on a leash, I’m sure you’d like to know the specifics of how it’s done. If so, please continue reading. I’ve got step-by-step instructions, tips, and advice for you below that will make leash-training your puppy less stressful and more successful.

How Long Does it Take to Leash Train, a Puppy?

The amount of time it takes to train a puppy, as I mentioned earlier, depends on its age, breed, and several other factors. Most dog experts agree that it should take between 4 to 6 weeks. If you train them earlier, it could take less time, but it also depends on how often you train, your dedication to the training process, and so forth.

It’s also thought that the earlier you start training a puppy, the faster they will learn to walk on a leash. The thing to remember is that, even while still very young, puppies are always learning (even if you aren’t actively teaching them anything). If you add leash training to the mix early, they will learn it along with everything else and thus be trained to walk on a leash earlier.

Keep in mind that walking your puppy is essential for raising them, so leash training is critical. Even if your puppy isn’t an “outside dog,” they need to be trained to behave on a leash for those times that you need to leave the house with them. So, again, starting early makes sense and will allow you to go places with your pup with less stress or risk.

Why Does My Puppy Pull on their Leash?

Understanding why your puppy does things is critical if you want to train them with a new skill, which is the same for leash training. Knowing why they pull on their leash is thus crucial to stop or reduce this annoying habit. Below are a few reasons why your puppy pulls on its leash, including:

They’re Excited!

Going outside the home is a thrill for a puppy, no matter the reason. Whether to the park, a friend’s house, or even the vet, that excitement they feel when they exit the front door often leads to excitedly pulling on their leash.

It’s Natural Behavior

Once outside, you can bet your puppy wants to get wherever you’re going, whether the park, dog park, or just down the street. Since they want to get there fast, the best option is to pull you on their leash so you walk more quickly.

They’re Scared or Anxious

Some puppies have anxiety problems that make it difficult to go outside, making leash training more difficult. Whatever their fear is, they will pull on their leash until they feel it’s safe not to do so.

They are Overreacting

Puppies typically react to things around them, which is natural and nothing to be worried about in most cases. On the other hand, some pups react to everything around them and freak out accordingly no matter what that happens to be.

How Do I Train my Puppy to Walk Nicely?

Training your puppy to “walk nicely” without pulling, barking, jumping, etc., takes time and effort, as you might imagine. One of the best ways is to use treats to reward them when they do it right. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you along.

  1. Use a long leash (non-retractable) and a standard harness.
  2. Cut up or grab a bag of tiny, pea-sized treats made from meat or cheese.
  3. Go to an area familiar to your puppy to reduce distractions from new things.
  4. Choose your left or right side to train your pup to stick close. (Left is traditionally the side most puppy parents use.)
  5. When you give your pup a treat, use the same side, always.
  6. Give the treat next to your thigh so that your pup has to stay close to get it.
  7. Walk around your yard or block briskly, rewarding your pup every time they walk at your side.
  8. If they lose interest, stop the training and go back home.
  9. Practice nice walking again later the same day or the next. The more you practice (with an interested puppy), the better.
  10. Practice, practice, practice.

Stopping Puppies from Biting the Leash

If given a chance, most puppies will bite on their leash and, in some cases, chew right through it. To prevent that from happening, I’ve got some great tips below:

  • Purchase a high-quality leash that’s stronger and more bite-proof than normal.
  • Don’t tug on the leash if they bite. You want your puppy to know their leash isn’t like the toys they bite and chew all day.
  • Reward them when they don’t bite the leash, or listen to you when you tell them to stop.
  • Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to bite, tug and pull on toys so they won’t want to do the same with their leash.
  • Keep your dog calm before a walk. If they’re ridiculously excited, getting them to stop biting/chewing their leash will be much more difficult.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Preventing Barking on a Walk

Like biting or pulling, barking while on a walk is a puppy habit that you want to keep to a minimum. Below are a few things you can do to keep them from barking while you walk around town, including:

  • Know their “trigger,” wherever it might be. (More on this in my other blog on the subject.)
  • Treat your dog when they don’t bark at other dogs, neighbors, etc.
  • Practice no barking with a dog you know is friendly in your neighborhood. As you get closer, reward your pup every time they don’t bark.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a much better idea of how to train your puppy to walk on a leash. As we’ve seen, there are several ways to train a puppy to walk on a leash correctly without pulling. They take time, patience, and diligence on the part of every puppy parent, but the parameters change from puppy to puppy as they’re all different. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and that it answered all of your most essential questions about leash training your precious puppy. If you have more or would like to learn more about how to raise a healthy, happy puppy, please see my other blogs on the subject. They’re packed with helpful info that can help you be the best puppy parent you can be!