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Taking the lead: Tips for leash-training your puppy
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Taking the lead: Tips for leash-training your puppy

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Many people have welcomed new puppies into their homes during this unprecedented time and are ready to get outside with them. Going for walks is a great way to provide exercise not only for your dog but for yourself as well.

Your new pup probably won’t know how to walk nicely on a leash when you first bring him home. All it takes is some time and training, and you two will be going for daily strolls in no time. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips for teaching your puppy to walk on a leash:

Be consistent

Determine what side you want your puppy to walk on and stick with that side to avoid confusion. Find a toy or treat that your puppy really likes and use either of them to gain your pup’s attention and to motivate him before you start walking.

Focus

After putting the leash on your puppy, start with him at your preferred side. Hold the toy or treat at the center of your waist to keep his attention on you. It’s extremely important to maintain your puppy’s focus when there are so many distractions around.

Speak up

Give a verbal command like “let’s walk” or “heel” to begin walking with your puppy. As you walk forward and your pup successfully walks along with you, praise him by saying, “Good boy, walk!”

Reward

For every few feet your puppy walks beside you appropriately, stop and give him a little piece of the treat or let him play with the toy you brought. Start with five steps, then build up to 10, then 15. Eventually you’ll be able to reduce or eliminate the use of a treat or toy altogether.

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