I have a neighbor who lets his little Maltese and his Collie run free. It bugs me to no end, considering the city does have a leash law. The Collie I don’t mind so much, he keeps his distance, but that Maltese is a mean little bugger. What if the kids are playing outside when he decides to come by? I don’t want one of them getting bit! He has tried to bite my fiancee more than once!
When a dog is on a leash, you are in control. It shows the dog that you are the leader because you decide where you’re going and what is allowed on a walk. Not only that, but it keeps your dog safe by not allowing him to chase squirrels, etc. on a doggie whim. What if he ran off after a squirrel into the street and oncoming traffic? More likely than not he would ignore your commands and keep chasing the squirrel, right?
Teaching your dog to walk properly on a leash is not a hard task. It can be done with a few basic dog obedience classes and a little patience. The first commands to teach your puppy are sit and stay. The most important thing is to never reward your puppy for pulling on the leash.
Things you will need to train your puppy include: Lots of yummy treats, a 4-6 foot leash, a regular buckle collar or a puppy harness, and lots of patience.
To begin leash training you want to do it either in the house or in the yard, and be sure to have lots of yummy treats on hand! Once these first commands are learned, you can give your puppy the command and then put on his leash. If your puppy bolts as soon as the leash is clasp on, stand still and allow the puppy to calm down and stop pulling, jumping, etc. This could take a few minutes, so be patient. Once the puppy calms down, call him to you and when he comes, have him sit, then praise him for being good and give him a treat.
Take your first step, but don’t go toward the door. If your puppy stays calm and doesn’t pull, praise him and take another step. If he doesn’t , stand still until he calms down, call him to you, and have him sit. Once he sits, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat the process until you are able to walk with a calm, non-pulling puppy. When you feel you and the puppy are ready for an actual walk, try the great outdoors and remember if puppy starts pulling, stop and wait for him to calm down, call him to you have have him sit before proceeding on your walk.
If you do this consistently, the dog learns two things: (1) if he stays near you or looks at you, he gets treats and he gets to keep moving, and (2) if he pulls on the leash, it’s a pain in the butt because he doesn’t get to keep moving AND he has to come back to you and sit.
** If your dog is RUNNING at full speed toward the end of the leash, you could inflict physical damage to his neck if you allow him to check himself against the leash without giving him any slack. Allow your arm to absorb most of the force so the dog is surprised but not harmed.