You can start getting your puppy used to wearing a leash at a surprisingly young age, as little as four to six weeks old, but they shouldn’t be taken outside until two weeks after their second vaccination. Your puppy may be 14-16 weeks old before they are actually out for a walk, but leash training can start weeks earlier.
How well your dog takes to the leash, and what the training experience will be like for you, depends a lot on the breed and temperament of your puppy, but the best techniques are pretty universal. Most importantly, you want to take your training one step at a time so that your dog is confident and calm when they’re out and about.
This article will go into detail about the training process for getting your dog comfortable on their leash, the time frame that you can expect for taking them on their early walks and other things that you should know when it comes to those crucial early months.
Table of Contents
- When Can You First Start Getting Your Puppy Used to a Leash?
- How Do You Introduce a Puppy to a Leash?
- When Should I Start Leash-Training with My Puppy?
- How Do I Start Leash-Training My Puppy?
- When Should I Be Walking my Puppy with a Leash?
- What Do I Do If My Dog Starts Pulling?
- How Soon Can My Puppy Go Out After Their 2nd Vaccination?
- What Should I Do on My First Walk with My Puppy?
- What Do I Do if My Puppy Yanks at Their Leash?
- How Far Can My Puppy Walk?
- How Do I Know When to Finish a Walk with My Puppy?
- Do Puppies Calm Down When You Can Walk Them?
- What Leash is Best for a Puppy?
When Can You First Start Getting Your Puppy Used to a Leash?
Though it may surprise you, puppies can begin the journey of becoming comfortable with their leash at a very young age, and in some ways the earlier you start, the better. They can start wearing a lightweight collar and a light leash when they are around four to six weeks old if you introduce them to it gradually.
How Do You Introduce a Puppy to a Leash?
First, you want to let your puppy get used to the sensation of wearing a leash and a collar, so let them wear it around the house and give them lots of praise and affection. If they show signs of discomfort or distress you can take it off and start again the next day, but keep up the praise.
When Should I Start Leash-Training with My Puppy?
10 weeks old is the ideal time to start training your puppy in the art of walking on a leash, though they shouldn’t be outside until it is safe for them. You should begin the process of leash training indoors, but don’t start taking these next steps until your puppy is already comfortable with wearing their leash and collar.
How Do I Start Leash-Training My Puppy?
The first steps should be small ones: in a safe space that is free of distractions, play a following game that rewards your puppy for being close to you. Once they are looking at you, take a few steps away and if they follow give them praise and a treat, then choose a new direction and repeat the process.
When Should I Be Walking my Puppy with a Leash?
Once your puppy is comfortable wearing their leash and collar, and they are consistently following you and enjoying their rewards, you can put the two things together. With their leash and collar on, practice walking around the house and consistently rewarding your puppy for staying close to you with treats and praise.
What Do I Do If My Dog Starts Pulling?
From the very beginning of the leash-training process, it is important that you don’t teach your dog that tugging on their leash will make you move faster. If they pull, you stand still and wait until they have stopped and the leash is slack, before calmly starting up again – this takes patience but stick with it!
How Soon Can My Puppy Go Out After Their 2nd Vaccination?
You need to wait two weeks after the second vaccination before you can take your puppy outside for their first proper walk, to make sure that they are safe. While the temptation to get them out of the house earlier can be strong, it will potentially expose them to risk when the vaccination has not fully taken effect.
What Should I Do on My First Walk with My Puppy?
The first few walks will be an exercise in patience and commitment from you, because your puppy is likely to be very excited. Make sure that you are not moving unless the leash is slack and your dog is calm, and that you are giving out as much praise as possible when they are doing the right thing.
What Do I Do if My Puppy Yanks at Their Leash?
Besides trying to pull you along, dogs will often lunge towards anything they find particularly exciting when they are getting used to a leash. Make sure to stop still when this happens and return their attention to you – don’t let them carry you off or they will learn that this is a way to get what they want.
How Far Can My Puppy Walk?
A general rule to follow is that a puppy can walk for around 5 minutes for every month old they are, starting at eight weeks. This means that a two-month-old puppy can walk for around 10 minutes, at ten months then can walk for 15 minutes and at three months they can walk for about 20 minutes.
How Do I Know When to Finish a Walk with My Puppy?
Often, your puppy will let you know when their walk has been long enough because they will start to get tired and run out of energy. This is not always the case, however, so stick to short, sensible walks when they are little so that they are learning the right behaviour and are not getting too worn out.
Do Puppies Calm Down When You Can Walk Them?
Often the first few walks will be very tiring and satisfying for your puppy, and you may notice a significant difference in their behaviour indoors. While this can really help with chaotic, energetic puppies that are hard to handle, don’t be tempted to put your dog in danger by taking them out before their vaccinations have fully taken effect.
What Leash is Best for a Puppy?
Lightweight leashes are best for puppies, so avoid chains at all costs, and starting with something simple and durable without too much length is a good way to go. Don’t use a retractable or extra long leash for your puppy as they can harm your dog through pulling and they are not good for teaching positive leash behaviour.