3 Common Leash Training Problems & Their Solutions
A walk with your puppy can either be an enjoyable time or it can be a bit of a battle gaining back control. The responsibility for nurturing a more relaxed, controlled walk rests solely on the human. Once you understand why your puppy is showing signs of undesirable behaviour you can redirect them to a more constructive behaviour that allows you to walk more freely.
We’ve listed 3 common leash problems and solutions for how to overcome them below:
Puppy Pulling On The Leash
Pulling is a natural response for a puppy, it allows them to get to where they want to go at their pace. They’re not doing this behaviour to show dominance over you but simply because it works.
When out walking with your puppy it’s important to be aware of your body position. If you’re idling a few steps behind your puppy, allowing them to take the lead then this will make them feel as though they’re in charge and will start to tug at the lead to pull you along during the walk.
There are various methods for training a puppy to stop pulling on the leash, we’ve listed a few for you to reference.
Play the reward game
One of the easiest and most effective ways to teach a puppy to walk on a leash beside you is to reward them each time they pay attention to you and perform your desired action i.e walk on a leash by your side, at your pace.
Encourage your puppy to follow you
This process is simple, hold onto the leash and take several steps backward away from your puppy - this action encourages your puppy to follow you. As soon as your puppy approaches, reward them with a treat and plenty of encouragement.
Create a short routine in your neighbourhood
If you spend too long training your puppy it’s a good idea to create a short route in your neighbourhood that you stick to and walk repeatedly. A familiar walk helps your puppy be less distracted, it becomes considerably less stimulating for your puppy to walk the same route multiple times than to be introduced to a new route each time.
Burn off extra energy in advance
Puppies have a lot of excess energy to burn and they need to expend it somehow. If you take them for a walk without burning off this extra energy beforehand then it may cause your puppy to pull extra hard on their leash. Including an extra exercise session into their day before a walk helps to combat this problem.
Leash pulling often refers to older dogs, however is still common amongst puppies, be sure to provide solutions for both puppies and adult dogs.
Puppy Biting On The Leash
The easiest and most effective way to stop your puppy from biting on their leash is to redirect their behaviour to something else. Puppy teething may occur more frequently during leash training as they get used to the unnatural sensation of having their body restricted by a leash/harness. A puppy’s natural behaviour is to run around and often wreak havoc until they’ve burnt off their excess energy and decide to have a nap. As soon as you put a leash on your puppy it restricts them from their natural behaviour, which is why your puppy may seem more stubborn to learn in the beginning.
Redirection is one of the most important aspects of raising a puppy. It’s a technique that can be used across various training sessions, most of all leash training.
See more methods for leash training a puppy below:
Don’t pull on the leash
As we mentioned earlier, tugging on your puppy’s leash reinforces their desire to bite the leash more and pull harder as it seems fun and rewarding for them.
Provide your puppy with a toy
Remember how we mentioned redirection as a key training method? This is where your puppy’s favourite toy comes into play. Once you’ve successfully stopped your puppy from biting on the leash, replace it with their favourite toy to teach them to shift their focus here instead.
Use food to reward and redirect your puppy
Once your puppy has let go of the leash, re-focus their attention on you by enticing them with their favourite food - their focus will be predominantly on you once they know you’re carrying some tasty treats with you!