Leash training a puppy teaches her that pulling on the lead will get her nowhere rather than moving forward. Puppies that learn to walk on a loose leash grow into dogs that are easy to exercise and a joy to take outdoors.
First thing first, a leash is a tool of safety precaution/measure. Use it as such. Never use it as a way to restraint or a tool of punishment.
The collar first...
Leash training a puppy starts with introducing and getting her to get use to the collar and leash. Flat buckle collars are recommended. A suitably sized collar must have room for you to insert two fingers between the collar and your puppy's neck when put on. Also remember that puppies grow at a tremendous rate so check at least twice a week to make sure the collar still fits comfortably.
Begin with just the collar. Place the collar on your puppy just before something pleasant is about to happen to her - for example playing with her, taking her to the garden or simply giving her a treat.
It's perfectly normal that she would feel strange or uncomfortable with this new object (collar) around her neck. Resist petting, soothing or worst, take off the collar when she attempts to scratch or show signs of upset. Doing so will be rewarding that particular unwanted behavior or even confusing her. Simply ignore her for now.
Praise and give her a treat as soon as she stops. Playing with her now is a good distraction. After a few days, your puppy will get used to the collar and ignore it. At this point, the collar can be left on at all time.
Than the leash...
It's time for her to get accustom to the leash. Attach the leash and quickly give her a treat. Let her drag the leash around for a few minutes each session so that she gets a feel of it. Supervise closely, make sure she doesn't get tangle up! If your puppy tends to chew, playing a game with her is good distraction.
Pick up the leash and keep still when you do so. Never let your puppy drag you along! As soon as she stops pulling, quickly reward her with a treat and praise her warmly. Release and let her resume with dragging her leash about. Wait for about 5 minutes before you pick up the leash again and repeat this step.
Walking on a loose leash...
Step 1 : Leash training a puppy to walk nicely besides you will be easier when her excess energy is spend. Playing an energetic game with her should do the trick! (With a bonus of extra bonding time!)
Hold the leash with your right hand. With a treat with your left hand, lure your puppy in a circle behind you till she is standing close beside your left leg. Quickly feed her the treat and praise her warmly. Repeat until she stand still by your left leg.
It's very tempting but never attempt pulling her towards or besides you using the leash.The objective here is to make her WANT to be next to you and not because she has no choice.
Step 2 : Show your puppy another treat while standing straight. The treat must be up and out of her way. Call out her name to get her attention then give your voice cue ( let's go! or let's walk! will do fine )for walking on a loose leash. Take a single step forward.
Feed her the treat immediately when she walks with you and repeat Step 1 to Step 2 until both steps can be done with ease.
Step 3 : Gradually increase the number of steps before rewarding your puppy. Start each training session with ' take one step and reward ' system to help her warm up. Then increase the number of steps once she'gets it'.
Key points on leash training a puppy...
Leash training is recommended as soon as possible.Right after your new puppy has a few days to adjust to her new home.
Begin training in a place with the least distractions ( example: your garden ). Once your puppy could walk nicely besides you, expose her to increasingly busy environments (example : park).
The training described here use the right hand to hold the leash while walking your puppy on your left. Feel free to train her with the alternate hand and walk her to your right.Just stick to one side first and make sure your family members do the same.
Avoid turning or moving yourself if puppy tries to cut in front or goes behind you. Stop and lure her into your desire position( besides you ).
Holding the treat too low and close will encourage your puppy to develop the jumping habit. Hold the treat up and out of the way, rewarding her only when she do her training right with all four on the ground!
As with all training, combining patience with consistency is the key to success in leash training a puppy. Improvement comes quickly but perfection takes time!