How to Leash Train a Stubborn Puppy

Posted by Jason Goldstein on December 20th, 2018

While it may seem natural for a dog to want to walk in a leash, you’ll be surprised to find out that not all puppies take this with ease. Because they never experienced such a sensation, instead of walking, a puppy may try to resist going on a leash.

What does this mean? It means that your puppy will put its bottom on the ground and refuse to go any further, as soon as it feels the tension of the leash. In the worst case scenario, it may even whine and cry, which can be very embarrassing for you. Still, even if your puppy displays such a behavior when it comes to walking in a leash, there are ways to train it.

Take in a good dose of patience

No matter what dog breed you decide to get, you should always be prepared to meet resistance from your puppy when it comes to using a leash on it. So, be ready to have patience with this part. Ideally, you should not traumatize your puppy with the leash, as this will prolong the period in which it will get used to it.

If you are lucky enough to have a puppy that walks well in a leash right from the start, it’s great, but if you don’t, there’s no need to panic. Just like humans, they have different characters and may take in things easier or harder. So, begin to leash train your puppy as soon as possible, but always in a gentle manner. You don’t want to transform the leash into your puppy’s enemy.

The leash and collar you choose matter

If you didn’t think that this aspect is important, it is time to know that it is. Choosing adequate accessories for your dog is an essential step in dog training, so don’t rush into making a decision without proper research.

Bear in mind that you will have to eventually change the collar and leash you will currently choose, as your puppy will grow. So, for now, it would be best to use a flat collar, which is more comfortable for your dog, in the appropriate size for its neck. When choosing the leash, make sure it is a light one, so the pup won’t feel its weight. This will make things much easier.

Go one step at a time

Don’t go straight to putting the collar and leash on your puppy and taking it for a walk as soon as you purchased these accessories. This is a wrong approach that will do more harm than good.

Instead, give your puppy the chance to get used to them. Begin by not hiding these items. Simply place them where there are other items of the puppy, so it can notice them and think about them. The first step would be to put the collar on your puppy when you’re playing with it inside the house or when you’re taking it in the backyard for a game of fetch.

Give it the possibility to get used to the sensation of wearing a collar, by helping the puppy associate it with something pleasant and fun. If you notice that the dog focuses too much on the collar around its neck, do your best to make it forget about it, by distracting its attention. Playing with it will make that happen so that the collar will stop being a concern.

You can also put the collar on your puppy before serving it its food. This way, it will automatically connect the collar with mealtime, which is always a good thing. Soon, the puppy will stop seeing the collar as something bothering.

Still, if you see your puppy scratching around the collar, you should distract it with something immediately. You need to get its attention from the collar onto something else until the collar will become like something natural.

Attaching the leash

Once the puppy got used to the collar, it’s time to attach the leash. After you do this, allow the puppy to drag it around, without you trying to pull on it. Still, keep an eye on the puppy as it plays this way, so it won’t get the leash tangled anywhere.

The whole idea is to make the puppy associate the leash with something fun. So, make sure to play with it while it has the leash attached. If you have another dog around, it can also be allowed to play with your puppy. Having a great time with the leash on will make the puppy accept it faster.

When the puppy becomes comfortable enough, you can pick up the leash and call your dog to you. The idea is to make the puppy come to you on its own, rather than pulling onto the leash. This will make the movement more natural and it will be impossible for the puppy to put any resistance into it.

Use positive reinforcements at all times

Avoid being harsh with your puppy and force things to happen before it is ready. Some pups simply need a bit more time before accepting the leash, but it will eventually happen. The Poodle, for example, is highly intelligent but also stubborn. There’s no other way to convince it to do what you want but by using positive reinforcements.

Treats are also a good option, but they should not become a constant habit. Showing it love and appreciated is a much better way. Let’s say the puppy came to you and you were able to grab the leash. Don’t force it to walk if it doesn’t do it naturally, by itself.

Give your puppy the time for it to figure things out on your own. So, if necessary, just stand or kneel next to your dog. It will need to trust you that nothing bad will happen, but that may need a few moments to happen. When it will eventually decide to walk, make sure to praise it. You can also motivate it to walk by holding a treat in your hand, at its level.

The Takeaway

Again, be gentle and take one step at a time. Rushing things and forcing your dog to walk on a leash will not do any good. A puppy that is afraid of the leash will require much more time to get used to it. So, begin in a gentle and patient manner right from the start, as presented in the previous guidelines.

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Jason Goldstein

About the Author

Jason Goldstein
Joined: December 20th, 2018
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