Walking Your Puppy
Updated: Mar 24, 2018
Teaching a dog to walk on a leash is not always an easy task. It is in the dog’s nature to want to wander off and sniff everything that comes in his path. However, this behavior is not conducive to a pleasant and athletic walk. You, his master, have to strike the balance between allowing him to explore his world and walking in a controlled way.
Walking Your Puppy
The first thing you will need to do is purchase an appropriate leash for your dog. Make sure that it is the right weight according to what your dog weighs right now. Even if he will eventually be 75 pounds, he will not be able to handle a heavy leash while he is still small. The next thing to choose is a collar for walking. Some people also use a harness and leader (that attach around the dog's head and snout, and unlike a muzzle doesn't restrict its mouth). Both of these products can help you better control your dog in a humane and safe way. Choker collars are not recommended for any breed of dog, as there is significant danger of hurting the animal. If your dog is small a simple collar and your leash might be plenty. However you will want to use a harness or leader when he is bigger.
One of the important steps to ensuring that your walk is pleasant is to try to get your dog to do his ‘number two’ business before you leave your home. If he learns that the walk is the time to go to the potty then you will almost always be stuck carrying around a bag of his waste on your walks. He should learn to potty in a specified spot in your yard. Of course, to be on the safe side you should always carry a bag with you for picking up any potential dog droppings.
The part of the training process is time consuming and requires a great deal of patience. Do not expect your first walk to be a long one, distance wise at least. Think of it as a training session that requires lots of stopping and starting to get it right.
Training Your Dog to Walk On a Leash
Choose a side that you want your dog to walk on. He should always walk on the side that you choose, either right or left. Keep in mind that this behavior will stay with him so make sure that you are comfortable with the position of the leash and your arms.
Take a few steps with your dog, when he begins to pull stop and make him sit. Reward him with praise for sitting and then start again.
Each time he begins to pull on the leash, repeat the stop and sit pattern. This might mean you only manage to take a few steps before you have to stop and begin again.
Allow your dog to veer off the path, as long as he does not pull and smell things. He or she will also occasionally mark with their urine, this is normal behavior, allow them to do it as long as it does not become constant.
When your dog stays with you, at your side and keeping pace reward him with praise and a treat. Remember he wants to please you; he just has to be taught how to do that.
When you come upon other people or dogs your puppy may experience anxiety, which will cause him to pull or bark. Reassure him with affection that he is okay and that you are there with him. If he gets too excited have him sit and wait for people to pass.
Children are always especially interested in puppies and it is in your best interest to teach your dog how to interact with them. But, you have to be in control of the situation. If you are comfortable with it you may allow others to pet your dog, but make him sit and behave while they do it.
You should walk your dog at least twice a day, if not more while he is young. This will help him get used to walking and allow him to burn energy.
As your dog gets older you may consider allowing him to walk off leash. Do this with great care, especially when cars are around. Even the most well trained dog is still an animal and as such, is unpredictable. You would not want anything bad to happen to your dog because he was off leash in an unsafe area.